How to unlock not provided keywords in Google Analytics?

What are people searching for to find your product?

If you have a solid answer to this question, then you are on your way to getting a very high conversion rate (provided you have the right landing page) from your organic search marketing campaigns. However, the problem is, how do you find the keywords in the world of not provided where Google is deliberating hiding almost all of the keywords data?

Not provided keywords are the keywords without ‘keyword referral data’.

The keyword referral data tells you which search term was used by a person on a search engine (like Google) to visit your website. For example, if someone visits your website by typing ‘web analytics training’ on Google, then the keyword referral data is ‘web analytics training’.

If you look at your Google Analytics report of the last one month, the majority of organic keywords (usually 90%+) are being reported as ‘Not Provided’:

Related article: How to find not provided keywords in Google Analytics?

If you want to get rid of (not provided) keywords in Google Analytics then follow the steps below:

Step-1: Make sure you have got an active Google Search Console account with at least one month of historical data.

Step-2: Add your Google Search Console account to your Google Analytics property.

Step-3: Login to your Google Analytics account.

Step-4: Get ‘edit’ permission at the account level so that you can add a new property to your GA account.

Step-5: Navigate to https://keyword-hero.com/

Step-6: Click on ‘sign in with Google’ button:

Step-7: Choose your Google Account:

Step-8: Grant Keyword Hero the ‘edit’ permission by clicking on the ‘Allow’ button:

Step-9: Grant Keyword Hero the permission to view your Google Analytics data by clicking on the ‘Allow’ button:

Step-10: Grant Keyword Hero the permission to view and manage search console data for your verified websites by clicking on the ‘Allow’ button:

Step-11: Grant Keyword Hero the permission to view search console data for your verified websites by clicking on the ‘Allow’ button:

Step-12: Click on the ‘Allow’ button once again to confirm your choices:

 

Step-13: Select the search console property that belongs to your website by clicking on the ‘Select’ button next to it:

 

Step-14: Click on the ‘NEXT’ button.

Step-15: Select the Google Account for your new Keyword Hero property and then click on the ‘Create’ button:

Note: The new property created by keyword hero tool will be added to the selected GA account.

Step-16: Choose your Google Account:

Step-17: Click on the ‘Allow’ button:

Step-18: Choose your Keyword Hero plan:

Select a Keyword Hero plan based on the organic search traffic your website gets each month or the number of web pages you want keyword hero tool to report on.

If your website gets less than 2000 organic sessions a month then choose the ‘Little Hero’ plan which is free to use. 

If your website gets more than 2000 but less than 10,000 organic sessions a month then choose the ‘Big Hero’ plan which is free to use for the first 2 weeks and then cost $9/month. This plan is good to analyze up to 250 web pages (aka URLs) of your website which get organic search traffic.

If your website gets more than 10,000 but less than 50,000 organic sessions a month then choose the ‘Giant Hero’ plan which is free to use for the first 2 weeks and then cost $49/month. This plan is good to analyze up to 500 web pages of your website which get organic search traffic.

If your website gets more than 50,000 but less than 250,000 organic sessions a month then choose the ‘Ultimate Hero’ plan which is free to use for the first 2 weeks and then cost $149/month. This plan is good to analyze up to 2500 web pages of your website which get organic search traffic.

For the majority of websites, the ‘Giant hero’ plan is good enough as it checks the top 500 most frequently visited web pages from the organic search for the organic keywords referrer data:

However, the plan you choose will eventually depend upon the number of web pages you want ‘keyword hero’ to analyze and/or the volume of keywords data you are after.

Note: The Conversion tracking is only available for paid plans. You can also select ‘Little Hero’ plan which is free to use if you just want to get your feet wet and see whether it really works for you.

Step-19: Click on the ‘GO W/O CREDIT CARD‘ button.

You will now see the message “ You need to wait up to 24 hours before you see your data in your new Keyword Hero property”. Below this message, there is a slide show. Go through all of the slides one by one to understand, what to expect from this tool:

The data in your keyword hero property is going to be three days out of date:

Step-20: Once you have watched the slide show then enter your email address to get weekly email notifications of your website SEO performance and then click on the ‘done’ button:

Step-21: Click on the wheel button next to the ‘View Analytics’ button:

Step-22: Click on ‘Change Settings’ from the drop down menu:

Step-23: Scroll down and then click on the ‘Select Tracking’ drop down menu:

Step-24: From the drop-down menu at the bottom, select the type of conversion you want ‘keyword hero’ to analyze:

Note: You can select only one conversion at a time. I tend to select ‘use ecommerce tracking’.

Step-25: Click on the ‘Save’ button.

Step-26: After 24 hours have elapsed, navigate back to the ‘keyword hero’ tool and then click on the ‘View Analytics’ button next to your website:

You will now be automatically redirected to the ‘Channels’ report of the ‘keyword view’ of the new GA property:

You should now be able to see most or all the keyword referral data which were previously hiding behind the ‘not provided’ keywords.

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How does Keyword Hero work?

What I understand is, they pull the search data from Google Search Console, use several data sources (Google Analytics, rank monitoring tools, bing search API, browser extension data, etc) for keywords clustering and classification and then match it with the GA session data using some machine learning algorithm.

If you want to go in great technical detail regarding its working then here is the 33 pages long description.

Just like you, I was sceptical about this tool. But I gave it a shot. They provide a free 14-day trial, so there is no harm in trying it. And it really does work. I can now see thousands of new organic keywords referral data that were earlier hiding behind the ‘not provided’ keywords.

What about the accuracy of the data from the keyword hero tool?

First, be glad that you are able to see organic keywords referral data once again in GA. Something is better than nothing and right now that nothing is ‘not provided’. As far as I see the keywords reported by this tool in GA are pretty accurate.

I do not trust the search engine ranking positions data and other website usage data provided by this tool. But then I do not trust the search engine ranking positions provided by any rank monitoring tool.

Advantages of using the Keyword Hero tool

Following are the advantages of using this tool:

#1 You can see organic keywords data and correlate this data with sales and other conversions in your Google Analytics reports. This will help you in better understanding the performance of your organic search campaigns.

#2 By using organic keywords data you can optimize your landing pages for the keywords which are most likely to result in traffic, sales, leads or some other conversions.

#3 You can develop more content around the organic keywords that have already proven to generate traffic and conversions for your website.

#4 You can once again understand the performance of your branded organic keywords in terms of generating traffic and conversions.

#5 You can once again compare the performance of branded and non branded keywords with each other.

#6 Once you understand the keywords for which your website is ranking really well on Google, you can stop bidding on them in Google Adwords and can greatly reduce your ad spend.

#7 You can discover new keywords for your paid search campaigns. So if an organic keyword is performing really well for your business but your website is not ranking very high for it, you can target that keyword through your paid search ad campaigns.

#8 You can see the search engine ranking position (SERP) of your website on Google for each keyword. This can help you in improving your SERP for profitable keywords and increase sales through organic search.

#9 By using the ‘keyword hero’ tool, you get a competitive advantage as a marketer/advertiser. I mean how many marketers know that they can get back organic keywords data back in Google Analytics. Only a handful. The majority think that organic keywords referral data is gone for good.

#10 Keyword hero provides some ready to download keywords dashboards:

#11 When you use the ‘keyword hero’ tool for the first time, it creates a new GA property and a new reporting view called the ‘keyword view’. This view comes with ecommerce tracking enabled.

So if you are currently using ecommerce tracking, the ecommerce data will automatically start flowing in the ‘keyword view’. If you are using enhanced ecommerce tracking then you would first need to enable Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting in the ‘keyword view’ before you can see enhanced ecommerce tracking data:

#12 The keyword hero tool is not always able to resolve the ‘not provided’ keywords. When that is the case, it reports ‘not provided’ keywords but still provides more details about the type of ‘not provided’ traffic:

(not provided)_bing is the ‘not provided keywords’ traffic from the Bing search engine.

(not provided)_yahoo is the ‘not provided keywords’ traffic from the Yahoo search engine.

(not provided)_subdomain_add_searchconsole is the ‘not provided keywords’ traffic from the subdomain which is not added to the keywords hero account.

Then there is some other information (not shown in the screenshot above) about ‘not provided’ keywords which are displayed by this tool in GA reports:

‘(not set)’ – tracking error or spam

(automatic matching) – AdWords information

#13 When you use the ‘keyword hero’ tool for the first time, it creates a new GA property and this property comes with following custom dimensions and custom metrics built-in:

You can use these dimensions and metrics straight away once you start seeing data in your ‘keyword view’ reports.

#14 Keyword hero automatically emails weekly SEO performance report for your website which includes:

  • Your daily organic Google Sessions
  • Your Top 10 keywords
  • Your Top 10 mobile keywords
  • Your Top 10 desktop/tablet keywords
  • Your Top 10 organic landing pages
  • Search engine traffic report

Limitations of the Keyword Hero tool

#1 It does not completely fix the problem of ‘not provided’ keywords. You will continue to see some ‘not provided’ keywords in your reports.

#2  In order to use this tool, you would need an active Google search console account with historical data and this account must be linked to your live Google Analytics property.

#3 If you are a low traffic website (less than 100 sessions a day) or you get the majority of your website traffic through paid marketing campaigns then this tool won’t be much beneficial for you.

#4 If you are a high traffic website and you continue to use their free plan or use a plan which is too small for the number of web pages you want ‘keyword hero’ to analyze then it can negatively affect your keywords data quality. You are also more likely, to continue to see, a high percentage of ‘not provided’ keywords in your GA reports. If you want to minimize the percentage of ‘not provided’ keywords in your reports then use the right plan.

#5 This tool creates a new GA property and sends all of the keywords data there. Now there are both advantages and disadvantages to that. The advantage is that the use of this tool does not skew your current analytics data. So if in the future you decide not to use this tool, it won’t affect your current analytics data. 

This disadvantage is that the new GA property does not inherit many configurations settings from your live GA property and views. What that means, if you have set up goals in your current GA view then they do not automatically transfer to the new GA property. So you would have to set up goals once again in the new GA property’s view (the ‘keyword view’).

If you have set up custom dimensions and metrics in your live GA property then those dimensions and metrics will not automatically transfer to the new GA property. So you would have to set up the custom dimensions and metrics once again for the new GA property.

Similarly, view filters, content groups, channel groups, calculated metrics, and many other configuration settings do not automatically transfer to the new GA property created by the ‘keyword hero’ tool.  So you would need to set them all up, all over again.

#6 When you use the ‘keyword hero’ tool it creates a new GA property and a new reporting view called the ‘keyword view’. This new view does not report data in real-time reports:

That is because the data reported by the ‘keyword hero’ tool is 3 days old.

#7 I do not trust the ‘keyword view’ data for anything other than keywords data. There are many data points that are currently not tracked accurately by the Keyword hero tool. For example:

Case Study #1: How to see the average search engine ranking positions in Google Analytics

Though the ‘keyword hero’ tool you can see the average search engine ranking of your website on Google for each keyword.

To do that, follow the steps below:

Step-1: Navigate back to the ‘keyword hero’ tool and then click on the ‘View Analytics’ button next to your website:

You will now be automatically redirected to the ‘Channels’ report of the ‘keyword view’ of the new GA property.

Step-2: Click on the ‘Organic search’ link:

Step-3: Use the custom dimension named ‘Position’ as the secondary dimension:

You can now see the average ranking position for each keyword:

Case Study #2: How to see the list of all the keywords which are sending traffic to a particular landing page

Step-1: Navigate to Behavior > Landing Pages report in the ‘keyword view’ of the new GA property created by ‘keyword hero’.

Step-2: Click on the link of the landing page for which you want to see the keywords data:

Step-3: Select ‘keyword’ as a primary dimension:

You can then see the list of all the keywords which are generating traffic and conversions for the selected landing page.

That’s how you can use the ‘keyword hero’ tool.

Related Articles

Other articles on specialized tracking in Google Analytics

  1. Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  2. Event Tracking via Google Tag Manager – Tutorial
  3. Event Tracking in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  4. Guide to Google Analytics Store Visits Tracking
  5. Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  6. Implementing E-Commerce Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  7. Tracking Virtual Pageviews in Google Tag Manager – Tutorial
  8. YouTube Video tracking via Google Tag Manager
  9. How to Use Keyword Hero to Reveal Not Provided Keywords in Google Analytics
  10. Virtual pageviews in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  11. Google Analytics and YouTube Integration Tutorial
  12. Google Analytics for Facebook Tutorial
  13. Google Analytics Cross Domain Tracking Explained Like Never Before
  14. Using multiple Google Analytics tracking codes on web pages
  15. The one thing that you don’t know about PayPal.com and the referral exclusion list
  16. Calculated Metrics in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  17. Creating your own Google Analytics Tag Auditing System
  18. Tracking Site Search without Query Parameter in Google Tag Manager
  19. Tracking true referrals in Google Analytics when using PayPal and other payment gateways
  20. Phone Call Tracking in Google Analytics and Beyond
  21. Learn to Track Qualified and Won Leads in Google Analytics
  22. Introduction to Postbacks in Google Analytics
  23. Google Analytics Recurring Revenue and Subscriptions Tracking Tutorial
  24. How to track the impact of cookie consent on website traffic in Google Analytics
  25. Tracking Offline Conversions in Google Ads
  26. Implementing Scroll Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  27. Scroll Tracking via Scroll Depth Trigger in Google Tag Manager
  28. Site Search Tracking In Google Analytics Without Query Parameters
  29. Video Tracking via YouTube Video Trigger In Google Tag Manager
  30. How to Correctly Measure Conversion Date & Time in Google Analytics
  31. Google Analytics Social Tracking – Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn
  32. Google Analytics Cross Domain Tracking (ga.js)
  33. Tracking Twitter and Linkedin Social Interactions in Google Analytics
  34. Creating Content Group in Google Analytics via tracking code using gtag.js
  35. Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics with Query Parameters
  36. Understanding site search tracking in Google Analytics
  37. Creating and Using Site Search Funnel in Google Analytics
  38. Learn to Setup Facebook Pixel Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  39. Setting up & Tracking AMP Pages in Google Analytics
  40. Setting up Sales Funnel across websites in Google Analytics
  41. Regular Expressions (Regex) for Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager – Tutorial

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Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers' purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years of experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence. The Digital Analytics Association is a world-renowned not-for-profit association that helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

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