Google Analytics Not Provided Keywords and how to unlock and analyze them

Index:

>> What exactly is ‘not provided’ keyword?

>> Introduction to Keyword Referral Data

>> Types of Keyword Referral Data

>> Fifteen Methods to uncover new keywords opportunities

#1: Use historical keywords data in your Google Analytics reports
#2: Use competitive analysis tools like ‘SEMRush’ for keywords mining
#3: Run Non-branded Paid search campaigns
#4: Use ‘Search Console Queries’ report in Google Analytics
#5: Use Internal site search

#6: Run page level surveys
#7: Use offline data to do keyword research
#8: Go beyond the traditional Keyword Research Tools
#9: Determine how the products are described on your website
#10: Determine how people describe your products both online and offline

#11: Determine how sales and marketing people describe and sell your products
#12: Determine how people naturally link out to you
#13: Determine how competitors describe their products
#14: Understand Searchers’ Intent & Capture it in the early stage of the buying cycle.
#15: Use the ‘Keyword Hero’ tool

 

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

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

 

>> Google Analytics ‘Not Provided’ Keywords Analysis

>> Some background information about Channel Labels and Channel Grouping

>> Creating Custom Channel Grouping for advanced keywords analysis

 

>> Calculating the Impact of Not Provided keywords on Organic Branded Keywords

>> Calculating the Impact of Not Provided keywords on Organic Non-Branded Keywords

>> Calculating the Impact of Not Provided keywords on Direct Traffic

>> Calculating the total economic value generated by ‘not provided’ keywords

 

>> What the point is of measuring the impact of “not provided” keywords? How would you use this info to optimise your website or gain customer insight?

What people are searching for to find your product?

If you have a solid answer to this question, then you are on your way to get a very high conversion rate (provided you have the right landing page) from your 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?

What exactly is ‘not provided’ keyword?

Not provided keyword is a keyword without ‘keyword referral data’.

not-provided-keywords

Introduction to 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 visit your website by typing ‘web analytics training’ on Google, then the keyword referral data is ‘web analytics training’.

Similarly, if someone visit your website by typing ‘google analytics bounce rate’’ on Google, then the keyword referral data is ‘google analytics bounce rate’.

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Types of Keyword Referral Data

There are two types of keywords referral data: organic keywords referral data and paid keywords referral data:

#1 The organic keywords referral data tells you which search term was used by a person to visit your website after he/she clicked on an organic search engine listing on Google.

#2 The paid keywords referral data tells you which search term was used by a person to visit your website after he/she clicked on a paid search engine listing on Google. These paid search engine listing are the PPC ads you see on Google.

Google has been hiding the ‘organic keyword referral data’ since October 2011 by encrypting its organic search data.

This has been done in the name of protecting user privacy.

But the real agenda of Google is most probably to force more marketers/advertisers to use Google PPC ads, as optimising search campaigns without keyword referral data is not very effective.

Google does not hide the ‘paid keyword referral data’. It hides only the ‘organic keyword referral data’.

All web analytics tools (including Google Analytics) can no longer report the ‘organic keyword referral data’ from Google search engines in their reports.

Google Analytics report ‘not provided’ in place of actual keywords in your organic search traffic reports.

But since Google does not hide the ‘paid keyword referral data’, Google Analytics report the keywords which generated traffic, sales and conversions on your website through Adwords reports.

You need to find alternate ways of uncovering new keyword opportunities.

Fifteen Methods to uncover new keywords opportunities

Following methods can help you in unlocking the keywords which are now hiding behind ‘not provided’:

#1: Use historical keywords data in your Google Analytics reports
#2: Use competitive analysis tools like ‘SEMRush’ for keywords mining
#3: Run Non-branded Paid search campaigns
#4: Use ‘Search Console Queries’ report in Google Analytics
#5: Use Internal site search

#6: Run page level surveys
#7: Use offline data to do keyword research
#8: Go beyond the traditional Keyword Research Tools
#9: Determine how the products are described on your website
#10: Determine how people describe your products both online and offline

#11: Determine how sales and marketing people describe and sell your products
#12: Determine how people naturally link out to you
#13: Determine how competitors describe their products
#14: Understand Searchers’ Intent & Capture it in the early stage of the buying cycle.
#15: Use the ‘Keyword Hero’ tool

Method #1: Use historical keywords data in your Google Analytics reports

historical-data3Many 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 which 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.

Method #2: Use competitive analysis tools like ‘SEMRush’ for keywords mining

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

SEMRush update its database once a month and returns those organic keywords for a web page which 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 even today.

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 which have proved to work.

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

Method #3: 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 > AdWords in your GA account) to determine the keywords which are generating sales and conversions for your website:

search-queries

Then target these keywords through SEO by developing contents 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.

Method #4: Use ‘Search Console Queries’ report in Google Analytics

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

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

Through ‘Queries’ report you can determine the keywords for which your website is getting impressions and clicks.

You can also determine 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 integrated your Google search console account with your Google Analytics account.

You can get more information regarding such integration from this article: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1120006?hl=en

As such, a traditional MMM model is not suitable for carrying out digital marketing mix modelling aka attribution modelling.

Method #5: Use Internal site search

Place a search box at the top of every page on your website and allow users to search contents on your website:

Such type of search is known as the internal site search as this search is taking place on your website.

Now set up and configure site search in your Google Analytics account.

You can get more details regarding this set up from this article: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1012264?hl=en-GB.

Once the site search is setup and configured, and couple of hours/days have elapsed, open the ‘Search Terms’ report (under Behaviour > Site Search in your Google Analytics account):

This report will provide you with lot of valuable keywords data.

You can then target these keywords by developing contents around them.

Method #6: Run page level surveys

Page level survey tools like Qualaroo can provide you with lot of valuable keywords data, provided you use these tools correctly.

For example, do not ask questions like “which keywords you used to visit this landing page?

Not only does this question sounds odd but you won’t get many replies either.

Ask questions like:

  • What is the purpose of your visit to our website today?
  • Were you able to complete your task? If not then why you were not able to complete the task?

These two questions always provide me with lot of keywords ideas every single day.

For example if you get lot of survey responses like “I was looking to get more details about conversion tracking through Google Tag Manager” then you know that you have to write an article which cover this topic in depth.

Satisfy your visitors’ queries and you will get conversions.

Page level surveys will also hep you in understanding searchers’ perception of your contents and brand.

Method #7: Use offline data to do keyword research

Many marketers/analysts overlook the offline data available to them like:

  1. Product Catalogs
  2. Product Brochures
  3. User guides
  4. Marketing Material (flyers, posters, print ads)
  5. Sales pitch used by sales and marketing people
  6. Sales pitch used in Radio ads, TV ads or banner ads
  7. Slides used in sales presentation
  8. Sales pitch used in Company’s newsletter or magazine

All of these data sources can provide tons of valuable keyword ideas.

Sales and marketing people are in constant touch with existing and potential clients and the way they describe and sell their products is probably the way people talk about your products.

You can get this valuable insight only through the offline data sources mentioned above.

Method #8: Go beyond the traditional Keyword Research Tools

Many traditional keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner generally reports traffic only for fat head keywords (i.e. the keywords which seem to be getting high search volume).

On top of that the tools’ search volume data is highly inaccurate.

For example, Google is notorious for showing inflated search volume and this can be due to its vested interest to keep keywords competitive for possible high bidding by Adwords advertisers.

It also fails to report all those keywords which have low or very low search volume.

Every SEO campaign I have worked on gets majority of its organic search traffic through such low volume keywords (also known as the long tail keywords).

Majority of traffic comes from long tail keywords.

Still marketers remain busy targeting fat head keywords (like care insurance, travel London etc) as Google reports high search volume for them.

Hitwise.com conducted a research on ‘long tail of search’ few years ago and came out with this fantastic results:

If you had a monopoly over the top 1,000 search terms across all search engines (which is impossible), you’d still be missing out on 89.4% of all search traffic.

There’s so much traffic in the tail it is hard to even comprehend. To illustrate, if search were represented by a tiny lizard with a one-inch head, the tail of that lizard would stretch for 221 miles.

So if you just rely on keywords tool like Google Keyword planner for your keyword research, you will miss out on a great deal of traffic which comes from targeting long tail keywords.

And above all fat head keywords are extremely competitive and difficult to rank for.

Your website may not rank for them for years.

If you work with the mind set of targeting long tail keywords, you will no longer select keywords just on the basis of their search volume.

You will select keywords which are frequently used by your visitors before they convert on your website.

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Method #9: Determine how the products are described on your website

Just by reading a product description you can determine several relevant keywords for the product.

For example, following is a product description from an ecommerce website which sell shirts:

This shirt will keep your long sleeves and your awesome style in place.
Buttoned stand-up Mandarin collar

FIT: Classic fit
FABRIC: Cotton Blend
COLOR: Black / White

Just by reading this description you can determine keywords like: long sleeve shirts, black shirts, white shirts, mandarian collar shirts etc.

Method #10: Determine how people describe your products both online and offline

Your customers do not always use the search terms you think they use (or as Google Keyword Planner Tool suggest) to find your products.

For e.g. you may be struggling hard to rank for the keyword ‘car insurance Southampton‘ while your client is in fact searching for the keyword ‘car insurance for young drivers Southampton‘.

The former is competitive keyword and may not always produce best results in terms of sales or conversion as it can fail to meet the intent of a searcher who is looking for specific type of car insurance.

Whereas the latter keyword is easier to rank for and can result in higher conversions or sales.

Therefore it is very important that you understand how people describe your products and what they are looking for or are interested in.

You can get this insight by scanning:

  1. Product reviews on industry review sites.
  2. Reviews on product pages of your site.
  3. Comments on: industry news sites, journals and magazines.
  4. Product reviews on popular retail sites like ebay.com, amazon.com etc.
  5. Comments on industry blogs and youtube videos
  6. Customers feedback (you can get it through surveys or through your customer support team)

Method #11: Determine how sales and marketing people describe and sell your products

Sales and marketing people are in constant touch with your existing and potential clients and can provide a great deal of keywords’ insight.

The way they describe and sell their products is probably the way people talk about your products.

You can get this valuable insight by scanning;

  1. Product Catalogs
  2. Product Brochures
  3. User guides
  4. Marketing Material (flyers, posters, print ads)
  5. Sales pitch used by sales and marketing people
  6. Sales pitch used in Radio ads, TV ads or banner ads
  7. Slides used in sales presentation
  8. Sales pitch used in Company’s newsletters or magazine

Method #12: Determine how people naturally link out to you

The way people naturally link out to you, can tell a great deal about what they think of your product/brand.

For e.g. if lot of people link out to your product as ‘cheap interactive whiteboard’ instead of ‘ 78 inch Gin interactive power board’, then you should seriously think of optimizing your product page for that keyword.

You can determine the anchor text of your incoming links through tools like ‘open site explorer‘.

Method #13: Determine how competitors describe their products

Competitive analysis helps in all aspects of internet marketing and keyword research is no exception.

However here by competitors I mean key industry players.

The way they describe their products, choose keywords to target and the way people talk about their products can give you a good insight of ‘what to target’.

You can get this valuable insight by scanning:

  1. Reviews on product pages of your competitors’ site and review sites.
  2. Their product catalogs, brochures and user guides.
  3. Sales pitch used by them in their marketing material and radio/tv/banner ads.
  4. Use SEM Rush tool to quickly determine which organic and paid keywords are actually driving traffic and sales to your competitors’ website.

Method #14: Understand Searchers’ Intent & Capture it in the early stage of the buying cycle.

In keyword research the most important thing to consider is your searchers’ intent.

What is their state of mind while they are performing a search.

Are they searching to buy a product or are they searching to make a purchase decision?

When it comes to determining searchers’ intent, the search data shows highest indicator of intent followed by demographic data and behavioral data.

As a SEO it a wise to capture your prospects in the early stage of the buying cycle when they are making a purchase decision through keywords like ‘which is the best ….‘ or ‘where to buy ……‘.

Such keywords are easier to rank for and you have less competition to face.

But once your prospect is in the full buying mode, he will search for keywords which you may find very difficult to rank for, expensive to bid on and are predominantly captured by big brands like Amazon.

That is why it is wise to capture your prospect early in the buying cycle esp. if you have got low marketing budget/resources.

Method #15: Use the ‘Keyword Hero’ tool

I have been using a new tool called ‘Keyword hero’ with great success and thought you will also benefit from it.

‘Keyword hero’ tool pull the search data from Google Search Console, use several data sources for keywords clustering & classification and then match it with the GA session data using some machine learning algorithm.

To learn more about using this tool, read this article: How to use Keyword Hero to reveal Not Provided keywords in Google Analytics

Google Analytics ‘Not Provided’ Keywords Analysis

‘Not provided’ keywords do not fall into the category of either branded keywords or non-branded keywords.

Therefore they deserve their own separate category and analysis called the ‘not provided’ keywords analysis.

In a world of multi-channel marketing, people are exposed to multiple marketing channels (organic search, paid search, display, social etc) before they make a purchase or complete a conversion.

Therefore it is important that we calculate the impact of ‘not provided’ keywords on all the marketing channels and not just on organic search.

In the next few minutes, i will show you, how to calculate the impact of ‘not provided’ keywords on:

  1. Organic Branded Keywords
  2. Organic Non-Branded Keywords
  3. Paid Branded Keywords
  4. Paid Non-Branded Keywords
  5. Direct Traffic
  6. Social Media Traffic
  7. Email Traffic
  8. Affiliate Traffic
  9. Display Traffic
  10. Assisted Conversions
  11. Last Interaction Conversion
  12. Total economic value

Before we start our calculations, we need to create a new ‘custom channel grouping’ in Multi-Channel funnel reports in Google Analytics.

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Some background information about Channel Labels and Channel Grouping

A channel label is the label applied to a digital marketing channel.

For example ‘paid search’, ‘organic search’, ‘social’, ‘display’ etc are all examples of channel labels.

There are two types of channel labels in Google Analytics: Default Channel Labels and Custom Channel Labels.

The default channel labels are the predefined channel labels.

For example: ‘paid search’, ‘organic search’, ‘referral’, ‘display’, ‘email’, ‘social’, ‘direct’ and ‘other advertising’ are default channel labels.

The custom channel labels are the labels defined by a user.

Branded keywords and non-branded keywords are examples of custom channel labels.

channel-labels

Channel Grouping is a set of channel labels.

There are two types of channel grouping in Google Analytics: Basic Channel Grouping and Custom Channel Grouping.

The ‘Basic Channel grouping’ is the set of predefined channel labels.

The ‘custom channel grouping’ is the channel grouping created by a user.

To learn more about channel grouping in GA, read this article: Channel grouping in Google Analytics

Creating Custom Channel Grouping for advanced keywords analysis

Follow the steps below to create a new custom channel grouping for advanced keywords analysis:

Step-1: Login to your GA account and then navigate to the GA view which contains at least 30 days of historical data. More the better.

Note: If you use the keyword hero tool then use the GA view set up by the tool, as you will see more keyword data there.

Step-2: Navigate to the ‘Top Conversions Paths’ report (under Conversions > Multi Channel Funnels) in Google Analytics:

Step-3: Scroll down the report and then click on the ‘Channel Groupings’ down drop menu:

Step-4: Click on the ‘Create a custom channel grouping…’ link from the drop down menu:

Step-5: In the ‘create or edit channel grouping’ dialog box, enter the name of the channel grouping and then click on the ‘Define a new Channel’ button:

We are going to create 5 new channels in total for this custom channel grouping.

Step-6: Enter ‘Organic B Keywords’ (which stands for organic branded keywords) as the name of the new channel and then set up the rules as shown in the screenshot below:

In the ‘matches regex’ text box, enter the regular expression which matches all of your branded keywords.

Here we are defining all those keywords as branded organic keywords which contain your brand name in the keyword phrase and the medium of the traffic is organic.

To learn more about regular expressions, read this article: Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager Regex (Regular Expressions) Guide

Since organic reminds me of vegetables, I have selected the color ‘dark green’ for this channel label.

Step-7: Once you have set up the conditions for the rule, click on the ‘Done’ button.

Step-8: Again click on the ‘Define a new Channel’ button.

Step-9: Enter ‘Paid B Keywords’ (which stands for Paid Branded Keywords) as the name of the new channel and then set up the rules as shown in the screenshot below:

In the ‘matches regex’ text box, enter the regular expression which matches all of your branded keywords.

Here we are defining all those keywords as branded paid keywords which contain your brand name in the keyword phrase and the medium of the traffic is either cpc or ppc.

Step-10: Once you have set up the conditions for the rule, click on the ‘Done’ button.

Step-11: Again click on the ‘Define a new Channel’ button.

Step-12: Enter ‘Organic NB Keywords’ (which stands for Organic Non Branded Keywords) as the name of the new channel and then set up the rules as shown in the screenshot below:

In the ‘matches regex’ text box, enter the regular expression which matches all of your branded keywords.

Here we are defining all those keywords as organic non-branded keywords which:

  • do not contain your brand name in the keyword phrase
  • do not contain ‘not provided’ keywords and
  • the medium of the traffic is organic.

Step-13: Once you have set up the conditions for the rule, click on the ‘Done’ button.

Step-14: Again click on the ‘Define a new Channel’ button.

Step-15: Enter ‘Paid NB Keywords’ (which stands for Paid Non Branded Keywords) as the name of the new channel and then set up the rules as shown in the screenshot below:

In the ‘matches regex’ text box, enter the regular expression which matches all of your branded keywords.

Here we are defining all those keywords as paid non-branded keywords which:

  • do not contain your brand name in the keyword phrase
  • do not contain ‘not provided’ keywords and
  • the medium of the traffic is either cpc or ppc.

Step-16: Once you have set up the conditions for the rule, click on the ‘Done’ button.

Step-17: Again click on the ‘Define a new Channel’ button.

Step-18: Enter ‘Not Provided Keywords’ as the name of the new channel and then set up the rules as shown in the screenshot below:

Step-19: Once you have set up the conditions for the rule, click on the ‘Done’ button.

Once you have set up the new channels, you will now see a screen similar to the one below:

Step-20: Drag rules to specify the order in which they should apply:

Step-21: Click on the ‘save’ button.

You should now see a screen similar to the one below:

Calculating the Impact of Not Provided keywords on Organic Branded Keywords

Step-1: Make sure that the custom channel grouping ‘Advanced Keywords Analysis’ is selected and you are viewing the ‘Top Conversions Paths’ report (under Conversions > Multi Channel Funnels) in Google Analytics.

Step-2: Select the time period for which you want to do the analysis.

Step-3: Click on the ‘advanced’ filter in the reporting interface:

Step-4: Set the conditions as shown below:

Step-5: Click on the ‘Apply’ button.

You can now see the impact of ‘not provided’ keywords on organic branded keywords:

From the report you can determine all the conversion paths in which ‘not provided’ keywords played an important role along with the ‘organic branded keywords’ in initiating, assisting or completing a conversion.

Without the role of the ‘not provided’ keywords in the conversion process, these conversions would not have occurred in the first place.

Calculating the Impact of Not Provided keywords on Organic Non-Branded Keywords

Step-1: Make sure that the custom channel grouping ‘Advanced Keywords Analysis’ is selected and you are viewing the ‘Top Conversions Paths’ report (under Conversions > Multi Channel Funnels) in Google Analytics.

Step-2: Select the time period for which you want to do the analysis.

Step-3: Click on the ‘advanced’ filter in the reporting interface and then set the conditions as shown below:

Step-4: Click on the ‘Apply’ button.

You can now see the impact of ‘not provided’ keywords on organic non-branded keywords:

From the report you can determine all the conversion paths in which ‘not provided’ keywords played an important role along with the ‘organic non-branded keywords’ in initiating, assisting or completing a conversion.

Without the role of the ‘not provided’ keywords in the conversion process, these conversions would not have occurred in the first place.

The number of such conversions were 1251 and the total value of these conversions was $9,382.58

Calculating the Impact of Not Provided keywords on Direct Traffic

Step-1: Make sure that the custom channel grouping ‘Advanced Keywords Analysis’ is selected and you are viewing the ‘Top Conversions Paths’ report (under Conversions > Multi Channel Funnels) in Google Analytics.

Step-2: Select the time period for which you want to do the analysis.

Step-3: Select ‘Source/Medium Path’ as secondary dimension.

Step-4: Click on the ‘advanced’ filter in the reporting interface and then set the conditions as shown below:

Step-5: Click on the ‘Apply’ button.

You can now see the impact of ‘not provided’ keywords on ‘direct traffic’:

From the report you can determine all the conversion paths in which ‘not provided’ keywords played an important role along with the ‘direct traffic’ in initiating, assisting or completing a conversion.

Without the role of the ‘not provided’ keywords in the conversion process, these conversions would not have occurred in the first place.

The number of such conversions were 84,219 and the total value of these conversions was $814,667.41

Related Article: Complete Guide to Direct Traffic in Google Analytics

Similarly, you can calculate Impact of Not Provided keywords on:

  • Social Media Traffic
  • Email Traffic
  • Affiliate Traffic and
  • Display Traffic.

All you have to do is to make some changes in your advanced filter.

Calculating the total economic value generated by ‘not provided’ keywords

The total economic value generated by ‘not provided’ keywords is calculated as

Assisted Conversion Value generated by ‘not provided’ keywords + Last Interaction Conversion Value generated by ‘not provided’ keywords

We can determine the assisted conversion and last interaction conversion values through ‘Assisted conversions’ report (under Conversions > Multi Channel Funnels) in Google Analytics.

Follow the steps below to calculate the total economic value generated by ‘not provided’ keywords:

Step-1: Navigate to the ‘Assisted conversions’ report in your Google Analytics account.

Step-2: Select the custom channel grouping ‘Advanced Keywords Analysis’.

Step-3: Select the time period for which you want to do the analysis.

Step-4: Apply the on page filter ‘keywords’ so that you can see only the custom channels in your report.

You should now see a screen like the one below:

You can now determine the number of assisted conversions and last interaction conversions generated by ‘not provided’ keywords along with their conversion value.

Just sum up the assisted conversion value and last interaction conversion value generated by ‘not provided’ keywords and you will get the total economic value generated by the ‘not provided’ keywords.

In our case, it is:

$40,420.41 + $21,726.22 = $62,146.63

Who would have imagined that the total economic value of ‘not provided’ keywords could be $62k?

Similarly, can determine the total economic value of:

  • organic branded keywords
  • organic non branded keywords,
  • paid branded keywords and
  • paid non branded keywords.

What the point is of measuring the impact of “not provided” keywords? How would you use this info to optimise your website or gain customer insight?

First of all, the point of any analysis is to gain insight.

Once we get the insight, we then need to determine whether this insight is useful or not.

Insights are generally useful because you get to know your business/campaign better.

But what is even more useful is the ‘actionable insight’.

Can we take any action on the basis of the insight we have gathered?

In our case, the answer is ‘yes’.

It is a common practice that before we fix a problem we assess the size of the problem.

Yes ‘not provided’ is a problem.

It is a big problem for marketers who rely on keywords to optimize their marketing campaigns.

The first step toward assessing the size of the ‘not provided’ problem is to measure the total economic value generated by ‘not provided’ keywords.

If this economic value is small or negligible for your business then you don’t need to worry about ‘not provided’ keywords yet.

However, if the total economic value is large or very large or the performance of your marketing campaigns are deeply affected by ‘not provided’ keywords then you have got a work to do.

For example, if only few organic branded conversions occurred because of the role of ‘not provided’ keywords in the conversion process then we can conclude that the majority of ‘not provided’ keywords are non-branded and our acquisition strategy is weak.

We are targeting keywords which have low conversion potential for our business.

This conclusion is based partially on the observations of customers’ online behavior over the years and partially on the assumption that majority of people eventually convert through branded keywords.

People generally start their conversion journey by searching for non-branded keywords (provided they are not already familiar/loyal to your brand).

But as their understanding of what they are looking for increases they refine their search queries.

Also people rarely buy on their very first visit.

They do comparison shopping, check websites for reviews; look for better deals before they make a purchase decision.

So when they return to your website and convert, the source of traffic is generally either direct or branded keywords (because branded keywords are easy to remember).

Because of this customers’ behavior, majority of conversions are attributed to direct traffic and branded keywords.

So if majority of conversions on your website are occurring as a result of direct traffic and branded keywords then it could be a sign of a maintaining a strong brand image.

Contrary to this if majority of conversions on your website are occurring as a result of non-branded keywords then it means you are either a new business or your brand retention is poor.

These are some of the useful insights you can get from the analysis of ‘not provided’ keywords.

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The Google Analytics usage trend is a new tool which is used to visualise trends in your Google Analytics data and to perform trend analysis.


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  • Learn and Master Web Analytics, Conversion Optimization & Google Analytics from Industry Expert in 8 weeks.
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Take your Analytics knowledge to the next level. Checkout my Best Selling Books on Amazon

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.

Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
  • Bachelors degree in Internet Science
  • Founder of OptimizeSmart.com and EventEducation.com

I am also the author of three books:

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