How to Deal with (not provided) data in Google Analytics

Anyone who examines their organic traffic in Google Analytics has surely noticed the growth of keyword “(not provided)” over the past couple of years.  This is caused by users logged into Google performing searches with their privacy settings turned on, and the numbers have been climbing steadily.

Recently, Google has made the switch to secure searches being the default.  From here out, Google Analytics users will no longer be able to see the specific organic keywords used to find their site.  It’s easy to understand why this might cause a panic… after all, many companies live and die based on their web presence.  Keyword data is crucial to managing and optimizing their business.  Luckily, all may not be lost.  While specific keyword data is gone for the time being, there are a few workarounds businesses can employ to still get a general idea of how people are finding them.  Here are a couple (not provided) workarounds that COCG’s SEO staff recommends:

Landing Page Examination

If your website is professionally built and all the SEO puzzle pieces are in place, odds are each landing page has a distinct keyword it is built around. By examining your site’s landing pages and applying the correct filters, you are able to see landing pages sorted by organic visits.

Now, this still doesn’t give you a perfect picture of what keywords were used, but again, if your on-page SEO is solid, you can extrapolate keyword data based on how you’ve optimized the page.  So, take our “SEO” page.  Lets say it had 50 organic visits.  It is very likely then, that people found that page with searches like “raleigh seo company” or “seo raleigh.”  Again, these are educated guesses, but by combining this approach with the next one, we can begin to paint ourselves a better picture…

Diligent Rank Tracking

Tracking your search engine ranks for vital keywords will further help you analyze where your organic traffic is coming from.  If you rank first for “raleigh seo” and 50th for “web design,” you can pretty confidently say that you’re going to be getting more traffic from the former.  This also has the benefit of showing you what pages are performing well, and which could use some work.

Putting it all Together

(not provided) is annoying.  But it’s not the end of the world.  Google analytics is still a valuable source of data, it just requires a bit more digging and analysis than before.  We’ve outlined a couple strategies for figuring out your traffic, but there are many more.  Need help figuring your traffic out?  Give us a call!  Have a hot tip for figuring out your keywords?  Tell us about it in the comments!