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Keyword ‘not provided’: How to Analyze Website Traffic?

keyword “not provided”

From small to big online businesses, Google Analytics (GA) is a goldmine of information. However, the keyword not provided category we often see on GA is quite frustrating. A large chunk of organic search traffic search result details is hidden from us. As such, our business traffic analysis remains incomplete.

Of course, one can understand Google’s perception – they want to stop people from gaming the search rankings and using the keyword “not provided” strategy has helped over the last four years but what about honest marketers and webmasters.

Blog Traffic Analysis – Keyword “not provided” Alternatives
Since the keyword “not provided” covers a chunk of organic data, you cannot ignore it. Instead, it is necessary to find a way around it. The article presents you with some alternatives.

keyword "not provided"

1) Google Webmaster Tools (GWT):

The GWT still displays a higher number of organic search keywords than GA. Login to GWT, select the site and check the search queries. The results show search numbers, page impressions and the keyword’s ranking on Google.

If you are not using any third-party keyword research, ranking and monitoring software like the LongTailPro keyword tool, the GWT is the best option for you.

2) Google Analytics (GA):

Do not give up on GA yet.

GA still displays a lot of relevant data which is useful to understand how your site is performing. For instance, while checking for traffic, see the most visited landing pages. Next, see how people landed on those pages. It could be a social media link or organic search engine visit.

Analyze what all keywords those landing pages could be ranking for; this surely helps to analyze the site SEO.

Secondly, if you understand what is making the prominent landing pages rank, you can use the same or similarly varied keywords to create more content and hope that they will rank better as well.

3) Get into PPC Advertising:

While Google said the purpose behind displaying “not provided” was to protect privacy, some marketers and webmasters think that it is simply a strategy to make people spend on Google AdWords. The reason being that if you are using Google AdWords PPC advertising, you are given access to all data; nothing is hidden anymore.

Whatever the reason behind Google’s action might be, PPC advertising is not a bad option for getting more visitors to your website products and services. With proper AdWords quality score and optimization, it is simple to get heavy ROI from AdWords. If you are new to paid advertising, spend considerable time studying AdWords before plunging forth.

Lastly, Google is working hard to make PPC better for advertisers. The amount of SERP coverage is reducing while paid advertising is reaching higher grounds – another reason why you should get into PPC advertising.

4) Social Media Analysis:

There is a host of social media analysis tools available these days. While they are worth investing in, you can simply begin by observing social media shares all around. The observation will show how your social media marketing is performing and what kind of content gets higher visibility from your audience.

Do a small experiment. Round up three articles and share them on multiple social media channels few days apart but at the same time ( the time when your audiences are most active). Do this for a week and observe the social media traffic.

This experiment will tell you a lot about how your site SEO is performing. It will also show what kind of content your audience expects you to deliver and therefore, you can improvise content development and marketing strategy.

5) Use Google Trends:

The Google Trends is a must-use tool for blog traffic monitoring and tracking keywords. Go to the tool and search for your blog name and keywords. The graphics show how your blog and its keywords were searched within a certain space of time.

Do note that sometimes the Trends will not display anything as the results depend on search volume. If your website search does not yield any results, it does not mean that the blog does not have any visibility, it means that it is not yet captured by Google Trends.

6) Bing Keyword Data

Google is not the only search engine. Yes, it is where people are searching, but other search engines work equally well in giving you another method to analyse blog traffic. Use Bing search engine to track keyword data. To begin with, list your business website with Bing Webmaster Tools and wait for 24-48 hours for data to be visible.

The only downside is that people don’t use Bing much so the data won’t be complete but at least, nothing will be hidden from you.

7) Track Site Search

Every blog has a site search option. Setting up the site search with GA will help you to track what keywords visitors are using to search content on the site. How do you enable and track site search?

Go to GA, select the account and go to Admin. In Admin, select Account and View Settings.

google analytics

In the View Settings page, you will see the Site Search Settings as disabled. Turn it on.

google analytics

In the Query Parameter option, you need to insert the word/s which designates the internal query parameter. To find out what it is, visit your blog and search something using the site search functionality. The resultant URL will be something like this:

In the Query Parameter box, you have to place whatever comes after “?” and before “=”.

google analytics

Next, tick-mark the “Strip Query Parameters out of URL”. This will prevent site search results from showing up on Content reports. There is also an option to add categories. It’s your choice whether to enable it or not. Save the changes.

To find out the search query parameters, head over to Behavior > Site Search > Site Terms for a full report and it will give you a much better idea of how people are using the blog and therefore, the keyword “not provided” parameter won’t matter much.

Do not be disheartened on seeing the keyword “not provided” section in the GA account. There are a lot of other ways to measure keyword rankings and understand your site SEO, visibility and blog traffic.

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