Google Analytics: How To Unlock “Keyword Not Provided” Keywords

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Google Analytics console showing a list of keywords with "not provided" ones at the top

Google Analytics used to show all the keywords searchers were typing in to find your site. But this changed many years ago when privacy concerns started to impact how much tracking of user searching was allowed. Today it’s gotten to the point where Analytics is primarily used for publishers to determine traffic, vs the keywords being used to locate your product or service. Don’t worry, our experts will show you a way around this limitation.

Article Overview

Is There A Way To Find “Not Provided” Keywords In Google Analytics?

There are several ways to get around the “not provided” limitation in Google Analytics. We’ll show you the easy way first, and then the method that we use and recommend.

The “Do Not Track” Protocol

More technically speaking, once web browsers implemented the “Do Not Track” protocol, users were given the option to have their web activity, including keyword searches, hidden from services such as Google Analytics. This became the default setting in some browsers, at which point the majority of keyword data in Google (up to 90% or more) became “not provided,” thereby severely limiting the data sample accessible to webmasters.

Connect Analytics To Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC), on the other hand, does capture these keywords, but without vital information such as referral sources and conversion tracking that Google Analytics (GA) provides. So the easiest way to “unlock” these missing keywords is to sign up for GSC, if you haven’t already. Then you’ll want to connect the two, and configure GSC data in GA.

But there’s a better way to see not only the keywords that are applicable to your site, but to your competitors’ as well. Introducing keyword tracking software.

Keyword Rank Trackers

Keyword trackers not only provide a whole host of tools to analyze and interpret keyword data, they also store data beyond the 90 day keyword storage limitation and the 48 hour reporting delay in GSC.

What can a keyword tracker do? At a minimum, you can view charts and see ranking positions for the top providers, for yourself and any other website you choose to analyze. You can track keyword changes over time, be alerted of position changes, find low-competition keywords that might be easier to rank for, and more. Reporting times range from delayed to real-time, so you can spot hits to your top ranking positions almost immediately.

Google Keyword Planner

If you’re simply looking to see how many times a particular term is searched, you don’t need to shell out a lot of money. Google’s own Google Keyword Planner provides free estimates of the number of times a particular keyword phrase is searched (and if you sign up for a paid ad campaign you’ll get exact numbers).

Finding Long-Tail Keywords

We recommend searching for lower impression, highly specific keywords (these are called long tail keywords) because it will be easier to rank for these.

How Useful Is “Long Tail” Keyword Data?

Long Tail keywords are more specific and therefore generally have less competition. While these keywords individually have less searches, in aggregate they can add up to as many or more searches as a more general keyword phrase with more competition. For example, with this article we are targeting the keywords “how to unlock keyword not provided.” An example of a more-specific, long-tail version of this keyword phrase might be “how to unlock keyword not provided data in google analytics 2022.”

While it might be easiest to rank for the the more specific term, that term is so specific and niche that it’s not searched for enough times to warrant an article (and there’s the fact that that particular example uses a time sensitive keyword (2022), and traffic may drop significantly after that year). Further, a collection of long tail keywords can actually help your tougher to rank for keywords rank better (because the search engines see you as being an authority on the topic, since you’ve written so much about it).

Now that you’ve seen how powerful keyword data can be, it’s time to go and use it to your advantage.

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