For webmasters who deal with SEO, monitoring the fruit of their work through Google Analytics has become a real odyssey (not to say nightmare) for some years now. The dimension of interest is obviously the organic search, easily returned by the analysis of the traffic sources that Analytics provides:
but here is that when you try to analyze which are the terms that led to the most visits to the site, this data (which are the most significant) is now almost entirely hidden by Google under (not provided) :
The percentage of (not provided) keywords in Analytics is really dramatic: just look at the example above, out of 918 visits, 800 terms are hidden.
Notprovidedcount.com gives us a clear picture of the problem: since 2011, this site monitors the Analytics data of 60 sites (English, but the analysis can also be considered indicative on a large scale) and calculates the percentage of “not provided” data with the formula (visits not provided / Google organic visits) * 100 ; the latest calculation is from May 2015: it shows an average increase of 78.24% of hidden keywords in the Analytics data.
But what ends up under this label?
Introduced in October 2011, this change in Google Analytics finds its justification in the privacy of user searches and essentially protects all those searches that are done in a secure mode, that is with the https protocol :
And so are included:
- searches made by logged in with Google account: anything you are looking for while logged in youtube, Adwords, gmail, drive, etc …
- even when you log out, Google leaves you in safe browsing mode (pay attention to it): if you search for something, this data will also end up in not provided
- the searches you do if you are using browsers such as Firefox from version 14 onwards or other browsers which, when you type Google.it, refer you directly
- the searches you do if you have set safe browsing by default
Having said that, one can almost believe the estimates made , or that at this rate in 2018 we will reach 100% of keywords not provided .