In the past month or so, you must have noticed something strange about your keywords search analytics data under your Google Analytics account! There is now a (not provided) keyword sitting right on top of your keywords data and probably, by now, it’s your top searched keyword.
The number against ‘not provided’ basically tells you that Google is not sharing the actual search phrases in those many number of searches done by your visitors. Well, the volume of these searches were hardly two or three per day when it started (around October 18th or 19th for most of us) but now it is already 10% to 20% of your total searches.
The mystery behind (not provided) keyword
Basically the ‘not provided’ keyword represent the key phrases that your visitors searched for while they are using the secured search (https://www.google.com). Well, this may sound reasonable if a particular search user is too paranoid about the security, though not all search engines support secure search.
However, the worst thing is that Google has now started encrypting (hence hiding keywords) the SERP click through when a particular user is logged on to his Google account as well. i.e. From within the session of using Google+, Gmail or similar tools. Now, that is not good because the users are not explicitly opting for a secured search in such cases.
A lot of people believe that by doing so Google is trying to make money out of their search analytics data. I am not sure how true it is, but this trend isn’t good for webmasters. But if you think from Google’s point of view, they are providing a lot of free tools for your consumption and that means they can set the rules.
Can I decrypt the ‘not provided’ data?
It doesn’t look possible at the moment. A lot of people suggest to use some other tracking script but that may not be effective either. Because, by these tracking scripts cannot really decrypt the click through URL as Google has to provide that information in the referrer parameters. I tried to get these via my referrer scripts, but wasn’t successful.
So the way ahead is to live with what Google provides and be happy that you are getting most of the search data anyhow. The only other option seems to be clicking the ‘not provided’ link and getting the landing pages information which gives you some idea on what could be these searches are about.
Over to you…
What has been your experience with the not provided data? Is the number still going up or tapering down?