Site icon Bill Hartzer

Google Not Provided Keeps Going Up

The data that Google is not providing, as in they are not providing which keyword brought visitors to your site, keeps going up. And it’s getting bad. Really bad if your site caters to the tech crowd. For example, for my blog on, the posts and articles on the site cater mostly to other webmasters and perhaps business owners. The more tech-savvy ones. And for my blog, the latest number of not provided users to hit the blog from Google organic search is now 71.80 percent (the past 20,000 visitors to the site via Google organic search).

That is way up over the average for this year is up nearly 20 percent! And to be honest with you, the general keywords that I’m ranking for as well as the overall topic of the blog has not changed.

Take a look at a comparison between January 1, 2013 and August 26, 2013 versus the previous period:

There are a few things going on here. I believe that people are logging into Google and thus performing https secure searches more often. Especially with more people using Android-powered phones and tablet. And to be honest with you, whenever I use my iPad and use a Google service, I’m logged in, as well. So my searches are secure: secure searches result in “not provided” being passed in the referrer.

But the other issue here is that Google is doing this, as well. Sure, more people are using a secure Google search. But is it really 20 percent more over the past year? Really?!?

Let’s take a look at a recent report released by BrightEdge:

BrightEdge has released a report showing that for the 8,400 brands they tracked over the last quarter, 49% of the queries collected did not provide (i.e. not provided) search query data due to Google’s secure search.

49% was the average, in fact, it is higher for the technology industry.

Barry Schwartz even noticed that his average was over 70 percent. Which, in this case, is right in line with what mine is right now. I’m seeing 71.80 percent as being “not provided”.

So, what can you do if your “not provided” keeps going up? You’re supposed to get that data from Google Webmaster Tools. If you’ve verified your site with Google Webmaster Tools, log in and then click on the Search Queries link on the the left side. It will give you the data that is missing, or “not provided”. See below:

I can honestly tell you that it appears that the “not provided” data is really being reported in Google Webmaster Tools. For example, for one particular keywords, I’ll call it “red widgets”:

Visits (clicks) reported in Webmaster Tools: 60
Visits reported in Google Analytics: 16

So, it does look like the data is in Google Webmaster Tools. This is just one sample keyword, but looking at other keywords it’s reasonable to say that you do get the data in Webmaster Tools if you verify your site.

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