How to unlock not provided keywords in Google Analytics

Not provided is a keyword without ‘keyword referral data’. Google Analytics report (not provided) in place of organic keywords in its reports:

The following five methods can help you in unlocking the not provided keywords in Google Analytics

  1. Use the ‘Keyword Hero’ tool
  2. Use ‘Search Console Queries’ report in Google Analytics
  3. Use competitive analysis tools like ‘SEMRush’ for keywords mining
  4. Run Non-branded Paid search campaigns
  5. Use historical keywords data in your Google Analytics reports

#1 Use the ‘Keyword Hero’ tool

I have been using a new tool called ‘Keyword hero‘ with great success.

This tool pulls 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 & classification and then match it with the GA session data using some machine learning algorithm. 

Just like you, I was skeptical about this tool. But I give it a shot. They provide a free 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.

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.

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#6 Once you understand the keywords for which your website is ranking 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 use 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 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.

#13 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

In order to use the keyword hero tool follow the steps below:

Step-1: Navigate to https://keyword-hero.com/ and then click on the ‘Sign in with Google’ button on the top right-hand side:

Step-2: Give keyword hero the access to your Google Account by clicking on the ‘Allow’ button:

Step-3: Choose your GA account & property and then select the view you want the ‘keyword hero’ tool to analyze.

Step-4: From the drop-down menu at the bottom, select the type of conversion you want ‘keyword hero’ to analyze:

If your website is ecommerce then select ‘Use ecommerce tracking’:

Step-5: Select the two checkboxes and then click on the ‘Next’ button:

Step-6: Select the search console property that belongs to your website by clicking in the ‘Select’ button and then click on the ‘next’ button:

Step-7: Select the Google Analytics Account for your new Keyword Hero property (under the ‘ACCOUNTS’ column). The new property created by keyword hero tool will add to the selected GA account:

Step-8: Click on the ‘create’ button.

Step-9: Choose your Keyword Hero plan:

Select a plan depending upon the number of web pages you want ‘keyword hero’ to analyze.

You would need to wait up to 24 hours before you can see your data in your new Keyword Hero property in Google Analytics.

Step-10: 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’ 

You can now see the list of organic keywords which were previously hiding behind the ‘not provided’ keywords:

Note: 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) – Google AdWords information

#2 Use ‘Search Console Queries’ report in Google Analytics

The ‘Search Console queries’ report provides a lot of valuable keyword data.

You can access this report by navigating to Acquisition > Search Console > Queries in your Google Analytics view:

Through the ‘Queries’ report, you can determine the keywords for which your website is getting impressions and clicks. You can also determine the average position and CTR for these keywords.

Note: If you can’t see any data in your ‘search console queries’ reports then it is because you have not linked your Google search console account with your Google Analytics account. You can get more information regarding such integration from this help article: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1120006?hl=en

#3 Use competitive analysis tools like ‘SEMRush’ for keywords mining

You may not know but SEMRush also provides keyword referral data.

SEMRush updates its database once a month and returns those organic keywords for a web page that are in its database and for which a webpage ranks in Google top 20.

According to SEMRush, they analyze the rankings of 95+ million most profitable and popular keywords. SEMRush can be used to determine (not provided) data. 

Through tools like SEMRush, you can determine the keywords (both paid and organic) which are generating traffic and revenue for your website or your competitors’ websites. If certain keywords have proved to be profitable for your competitors then they should be profitable for you too. Focus on keywords that have proved to work.

Note: You won’t get all of (not provided) data through this tool. SEMRush analyses the rankings of only those keywords which are in its database.

#4 Run Non-branded Paid search campaigns

It is highly unlikely that Google or any search engine will ever hide the paid keyword referral data from advertisers.

So run paid search campaigns on Google and Bing.

Once you have got the PPC data in your Google Analytics reports then open the ‘Search Queries’ report (under Acquisition > Google Ads in your GA account) to determine the keywords which are generating sales and conversions for your website:

Then target these keywords through SEO by developing content around them.

Note: There is no guarantee that what works for PPC, may work equally well for SEO. But by and large, this strategy works and it works really well.

#5 Use historical keywords data in your Google Analytics reports

Many of you have been using Google Analytics for years. And in all of these years, your GA account has acquired tons of keywords data. Use this historical keywords data to determine keywords that have proved to generate traffic, conversions, and sales for your website.

Export this data and save it on your hard disk/cloud for future use. Google is not going to archive your historical data forever. So do it today.

Related Article:  What is not provided in Google Analytics

 

Do you know the difference between Web Analytics and Google Analytics?


99.99% of course creators themselves don’t know the difference between Web analytics, Google Analytics (GA) and Google Tag Manager (GTM).

So they are teaching GA and GTM in the name of teaching Web analytics.

They just copy each other. Monkey see, monkey do.

But Web analytics is not about GA, GTM.

It is about analyzing and interpreting data, setting up goals, strategies and KPIs.

It’s about creating strategic roadmap for your business.


Web Analytics is the core skill. Google Analytics is just a tool used to implement ‘Web Analytics’.

You can also implement ‘Web analytics’ via other tools like ‘adobe analytics’, ‘kissmetrics’ etc.

Using Google Analytics without the good understanding of ‘Web analytics’ is like driving around in a car, in a big city without understanding the traffic rules and road signs.

You are either likely to end up somewhere other than your destination or you get involved in an accident.


You learn data analysis and interpretation from Web analytics and not from Google Analytics.

The direction in which your analysis will move, will determine the direction in which your marketing campaigns and eventually your company will move to get the highest possible return on investment.

You get that direction from ‘Web analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.


You learn to set up KPIs, strategies and measurement framework for your business from ‘Web analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.

So if you are taking a course only on 'Google Analytics’, you are learning to use one of the tools of ‘Web analytics’. You are not learning the ‘Web analytics’ itself.

Since any person can learn to use Google Analytics in couple of weeks, you do no get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing GA.

You need to know lot more than GA in order to work in Web analytics and marketing field.


So what I have done, if you are interested, is I have put together a completely free training that will teach you exactly how I have been able to leverage web/digital analytics to generate floods of news sales and customers and how you can literally copy what I have done to get similar results.

Here what You'll Learn On This FREE Web Class!


1) Why digital analytics is the key to online business success

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My best selling books on Digital Analytics and Conversion Optimization

Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
This expert guide will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of maths and statistics in order to accurately interpret data and take actions, which can quickly improve the bottom-line of your online business.

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.

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This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling in Google Ads (Google AdWords) and Facebook. It will teach you, how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to understand the customer purchasing journey and determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

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.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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