Why Are My Keywords (Not Provided) in Google Analytics?

Written by: leslieFMC   Austin, Texas

Posted on: December 19, 2011


You may have noticed, looking at your Google Analytics account, that in the past couple of months the term “Not Provided” is showing up in the list of keywords driving search traffic to your website. You are probably wondering what this means for your business. How can a keyword be “Not Provided,” and why does this number seem fairly large in comparison to the other keywords driving traffic to your website?

Google recently began encrypting its searches for anyone signed into Google. In other words, when you log into Google and search for something, you are automatically routed to https://www.google.com, a secure website for search. Part of this security means that, while search traffic to your website is still counted as part of the aggregate Google/organic, the exact query used to reach your website is held private; it is “Not Provided.”

Google SSL Secure Search

Doesn’t this make my keyword data inconclusive?

It is important to remember that specific keyword data is still provided for searchers not signed into Google. Essentially, the keywords in your Analytics traffic sources report still represent the top terms searchers are using to find your website, and should be seen as a proportionally accurate representation of how people are finding your website. Ignoring the data that is encrypted and thus “Not Provided,” you are still left with a statistically valid sampling of keyword data.

Your organic traffic data is still calculated the same way it always was: all data is aggregated, and even Google secure searches are recorded as Google/organic traffic. Overall organic traffic numbers are unaffected, and you will still be able to view conversion rates, bounce rates and segmented data.

Keyword Not Provided

Should I be concerned?

The simple answer is “no.” The greatest benefit of a well-executed SEO campaign is that you get search traffic from thousands of relevant keyword variations. The specific keywords used to find your website are less important than the increase in overall organic traffic. So, if you notice that some of the keywords in your traffic sources report are “Not Provided,” don’t panic. Look at the keywords provided as a proportional sampling of the thousands of keyword variations driving organic traffic to your website, and focus more on increasing organic traffic overall.

Organic Search Traffic

For more information on Google’s SSL secure search feature, check out Google’s own blog post.


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