The Google ‘Not Provided’ Problem Isn’t Getting Any Better
About two years ago, Google launched SSL Search on Google.com as the default for signed in users, as a measure to protect user privacy. This encrypted search meant not providing keyword search data through analytics to websites that these users visited. As a webmaster, you would see that you were getting this traffic from Google, but the keywords would be unknown, as Google would label this traffic “Not Provided”.
Yes, the dreaded “not provided” continues to this day to be a hot button issue in the SEO and online marketing community. It’s complicated by the fact that you can still see such data in AdWords. People have been accusing Google of doing this to increase its own revenue since the move was made that October of 2011.
Do you think Google is doing this to increase its own revenue or is it really about privacy? Share your thoughts.
Search industry vet Danny Sullivan has brought the discussion back to the forefront with an article about what he believes Google’s intentions to be, but what it looks like to everyone else.
It seems to pretty much an industry consensus that the “not provided” percentages are increasing. They had already increased significantly a month after Google made the changes. Initially, the percentage was supposedly around less than 1%, before jumping to something like 8% the following month. More recently, it’s looking like above 40% for some industries and over 50% for tech sites.
As I write this, about 80% of our own real-time Google traffic is coming from keywords that are “not provided”.
Sullivan reminds us that Google provides search terms to publishers through Webmaster Central, and of course to advertisers, and that Google recently announced the Paid & Organic report for AdWords.
We talked about this here. This was aimed at helping businesses get more out of their paid and organic search campaigns by offering new comparison options.