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Even More “Not Provided” Keywords

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Sunday March 25, 2012 )

A couple of weeks ago after Google Analytics started reporting on even fewer keywords, I wrote GA could be a very interesting beastie in the months and years ahead. I didn’t have to wait months. It’s gotten even more “interesting” already.

Starting around March 6/7, you may have noticed a spike of “not provided” keywords. That was when Google began introducing SSL search to all its domains around the world, after having rolled it out for signed in users last year on

Just to recap: when searches are performed via Google’s secure search, the keywords used for clicks from organic listings are not reported in Google Analytics reports, just the aggregated number of visits from them.

Anyhow, that’s now ancient history as a new chapter was written in the last week. It seems that Google’s secure version of search is now default on Firefox if you have set Google as your preferred search engine in the browser.

Here are some historical “not provided” keyword stats from one of my sites:

July 2011 “not provided” = 0%
October 2011 “not provided” = 1.1%
December 2011 “not provided” = 10.88%
March 6 – 21 2012 “not provided” = 20.82%
March 23 – 25 2012 “not provided” = 23%

So much for the few percent this was only going to affect.

Now I have no idea what more than one in five visitors to the site in question who arrived there via a search engine used for keywords in their search query.

I know data can be drawn from Webmaster Tools, but it’s not the same and doesn’t give me the information I need for calculating keyword conversions and such.

Bear in mind to, that “not provided” percentage is all search engines, so the actual figure from Google search alone would be higher.

Perhaps Chrome will be the next browser to adopt secure search as default; after all, it’s Google’s own browser. Then there’s the Google Toolbar for IE.

Actually, I’m not even going to both pondering the question of what Google Analytics, and analytics packages generally, may be like in the future any further as I think I already know the answer.

Still a Google fan, but a little less so now; but eh, it’s their search engine.


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