GRRRR – is (not provided) doing your head in?

Are you struggling to understand your keywords in Google Analytics? Vote now and help a study to show how many keywords are now (not provided) due to encrypted search.

You are reading: GRRRR – is (not provided) doing your head in?

Grumpy Today! It is Friday, so we should all be happy and looking forward to the weekend.

I am happy, but I feel it is time to have a good old rant about Google’s decision to ‘enhance the user experience for signed-in users.’

This has been brewing for a while but a visit to Google Analytics this morning has pushed me over a tipping point and I would love to find out how much this is affecting other sites.

Matt Cutts originally claimed that it would only affect a “single digit” percentage of searches but we suspect that this number is below the true percentage and, since the global rollout of encrypted search, there is now a mass of search activity that is anonymous.

We actually use Statcounter as well as Google Analytics as it was always better at real time analytics than GA. This has changed somewhat with improvements to GA, but habit has led me to having Statcounter open pretty much full time (I am a geek with 3 screens and analytics occupies one screen pretty much all the time). I have noticed that the number of encrypted search visitors has been soaring, which is frustrating as you can’t tell what people were actually searching for to find you.

This morning, I was looking at our organic search traffic over the past 3 months in Google Analytics and guess which keyword is the greatest driver of traffic? Yup, it is the infamous ‘(not provided)’. Very helpful.

Worse still is the percentage of visitors that this ‘keyword’ accounts for:

keyword (not provided)



42%! Just a little more than the ‘single digit’ percentage that Mr.Cutts suggested… Looking across a range of client analytics accounts, it is clear that it varies from site to site, but it is over 10% in all cases that I have checked this morning.

We would love to find out more and assess how this is affecting you, so please vote below and help us to uncover just how widespread this problem is:


We need your help in spreading the word and getting as many votes as possible, so please feel free to share with anyone who will be able to contribute as it will be fascinating to see just how far reaching this issue is.

Thank you for any help!

Latest from the blog