Google says “Not Provided”

That is the new term in Google Analytics for logged-in Google user’s search results. If you have implemented an internet marketing strategy, using Google Analytics, to track your keyword activity then you’re going to want to know about this.

Last week Google released yet another algorithm update that changes how search activity is recorded. If you are logged into your Google account you will be forced in to SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) mode and  Google analytics will show your visits from Google, but it will not show what keyword was used to initiate the search. Instead it will say “not provided”. This only applies to logged in Google users. When you are searching, but you are not logged in, or, if you have an AdWords account and paid ads are clicked, your results WILL show up in Google analytics. This is important when you are trying to determine keyword veracity. Remember, keywords are to internet marketing what lists are to more traditional methods of marketing.

Self-serving or Altruistic

Google claims the purpose for this change is user privacy, but wait, Google already provides an HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol with SSL) as an option for users. We always try to give Google the benefit of shareholders, er I mean doubt. The other reason, could be, that ad networks use search referral data and leverage it across multiple websites. Google wants to be the ONLY network with access to the data which will give them a distinct advantage from a competitive standpoint. You decide.

What’s the Solution

The short answer is knowing what percentage of your traffic is affected by this change. To do that you look at the number of “not provided” and divide that by your total visits from Google organic in order to determine what percentage of your total traffic is affected. So, What is the impact on insurance agencies’ SEO efforts? Right now the estimated impact on search traffic is around 2%, and that number is not expected to go above 10%. This does demonstrate; however, the power of 70% market share.

I know this isn’t exactly exciting insurance information, but it is important. SEO, when done right, is a significant investment. It’s important to try and understand how to measure results. As always, comments welcomed.