“not provided” : the new organic keyword in Google Analytics
Google have just announced what I would view to be a game changer for all SEOs out there. From now on (and this has been started on Google.com but is likely to be rolled out worldwide soon enough) for anyone who is signed into Google (such as through GMail or Google+) that the search queries used will NOT SHOW in Google Analytics anymore. In fact they will be reported with the aggregator “not provided”.
Google have made this change to ‘protect privacy of the personalized search results’. While this may seem a good thing to users in my opinion it is another double standard from Google as they will still be reporiting search queries for people using the paid search results!
What shall I do?
There’s not much we can do, again at the hands of Google we just have to accept this and move on – try and find alternaitve solutions that may solve the issue. At this stage it is probably too early to say if other analytical tools will actually allow us to veiw these terms – I’m suspecting that Google is stripping the search term out entriely so it will not matter which platform you are using – you just can’t get the data anymore.
We do now have Google Webmaster Tool data in Google Analytics that should show us some more of the detail but anyone in the world of online marketing knows that this data isn’t really worth the pixels it’s projected with.
Matt Cutts says that this is only going to effect a single digit percentage of UK search traffic. Perhaps now, but surely when this is rolled out we’re going to be losing large amounts of vital data. Are the days of accurate, traceable online marketing now behind us thanks to Google? Is this just another way to push people into using Google AdWords – perhaps it will become an even bigger research tool for marketeers than it is already, should every SEO campaign have a PPC ‘test’ budget put alongside to gain true keyword data?
I’m sure we’ll find out over time – I’d be interested to hear your thoughts…