A trip down the memory lane of “Not Provided” keyword


“Ignorance is a sin” and it will not be a hyperbole when it comes to the “not provided” keywords while analyzing the data of Google Analytics tool. This is a matter of serious concern for all the Web marketers and analysts as without a clear insight about your online traffic particularly about “not provided” keywords, you can’t expect to improve your conversion rates and product sales.

“Not provided” keywords are those organic keywords that are used by an online user on a search engine to arrive at your website. These keywords that drive customers towards your website are collectively grouped under the “not provided” keywords and are not passed onto your targeted website. This was done by the Google on the pretext of protecting the user privacy but in reality it was a smart strategy to push more people towards paid keyword targeting, PPC ads and other such paid advertising mediums. Around 85% of the keywords used on Google for accessing a particular website comes into the category of “not provided” keywords when seen through the report of Google Analytics tool.

Classification of the online traffic 

To drive traffic towards your site, two types of keyword referral campaigns are utilized by online businesses. They can be classified as organic keywords and paid keywords. Let us brief you about the two.

Organic keywords- These are the keywords that are used by your targeted customers to land at your particular website by clicking on one of the organic search results of various search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and others.

Paid keywords- These consists of various PPC ads, social media ads and other such paid mediums that has brought customers on your particular website. Although, businesses have to pay a particular fixed amount for this type of customer acquisition strategy but this is a very reliable method in terms of getting high traffic for your site.

Representation of organic keywords on google analytics tools

Representation Of Organic Keywords On Google Analytics Tools | Knowband

Google Analytics is a smarter way to get valuable insight about incoming traffic on your site. It provides complete detailed information about the nature of the incoming traffic, source of the incoming traffic whether organic or paid, device used by customers while surfing and other such crucial data. As per a recent change by Google on 8th January, 2015, there have been a slight change in the representation of the “organic keywords” on Google Analytics tool. For getting access to the organic keywords option in your Google Analytics tool, perform the following steps.

– Click on the ‘Acquisitions’ tab on the screen of your Google Analytics tool.

– Now, click on the ‘Campaigns’ tab located at the bottom of ‘Acquisitions’ tab.

– Under the ‘Campaigns’ tab, you will find the option ‘Organic Keywords’ there.

Hiding of “not provided” keywords by Google  

On 18th October, 2011, a major announcement was made by the Google that from onwards, the search terms used for landing at a particular site would not be passed on to that destination website. Instead, all these visits would now be clubbed together in the form of “not provided” keywords which is represented as “np”. All this was done to protect the privacy of the online searcher as they would not like their search terms to be passed onto the destination site. Due to this change, all the “keywords” used by the online customers to land  at a particular website is now grouped together under the “not provided” category. This change  has caused much ambiguity among numerous SEO professionals as they are not getting any clear idea about the keywords that are being increasingly used by their targeted customers to arrive at their particular website. Further, it has made the task of content marketing a little harder and has affected the website rankings and online popularity of a business.

Effect of the hummingbird update on SEO

Effect Of The Hummingbird Update On Seo | Knowband

Hummingbird algorithm of Google was launched in August, 2013 and it changed the entire face of the SEO industry. It is a complete new algorithm that consists of more than 200 factors that can make a tremendous impact on the website rankings and search engine results. This algorithm was created with a focus towards the mobile devices and for making the SEO results more mobile friendly. Due to the addition of “conversational search”, the focus of SEO has changed from the use of individual keywords to more towards the  meaning or semantic context of a particular search phrase. The algorithm works on the principle of “understanding meaning behind the search phrases rather than just the words in the phrases”. Hummingbird is a blessing for the SEO professionals who use the white hat SEO approaches by following all the Google guidelines and regulations and can invite severe penalties for the black hat SEO that use illegitimate stuffing of the keywords to cheat search engine crawlers.

As long as you are blessed with the services of good content publishers and writers, you don’t need a reason to panic as the SEO focus has changed from the keyword stuffing to semantic meaning of your written content. Moreover, it is working towards making the search results more effective for voice based searching. Some of the various features introduced by this Hummingbird algorithm are:

  • Use of the long tailed keywords for the search results.
  • Focus towards the semantic based content instead of plain keyword stuffed content.
  • Introduction of the knowledge graph feature for providing brief information about a topic without even clicking the search results.
  • Giving more emphasis on the attractive images, videos and visual elements in your content for increasing its semantic appeal.
  • Making use of natural language processing and artificial intelligence feature.

Changes occurred in the Google Analytics tool 

Absence Of Not Provided Keywords On Earlier Google Analytics Tool | Knowand

In order to get the effective insight about the arriving site traffic on your website, you need to keep track on the analytical activity of your website by clicking on the landing page option of your Google Analytics tool. Let us understand this with the image given below.

According to the above image, SEO professionals were earlier clueless about the impact of “not provided” keywords on the different landing pages of their website. There was no mention of “not provided” keywords anywhere on the different pages of the website. The SEO team was earlier unable to decipher the complete analytical data regarding the incoming site traffic on their website. Due to this, it was difficult for them to target particular high ranking Google keywords as there was no information about “not provided” keywords on the landing page tab of the Google Analytics tool.

Changed Google Analytics Dashboard Has Given Attention To Not Provided Keywords | Knowband

In the image shown above, it has been observed that since 20th November, 2015, Google has started providing information about “not provided” keywords in the form of “np”. Due to this relaxation, it is now easier for the content marketing and SEO team to target high converting keywords for their website in order to generate more traffic and conversion rates.  One can easily see the traffic statistics that has generated out of the “not provided” keywords (np) on various pages of their website and it has opened new doors of keyword targeting and content marketing.

So, stay tuned with us and get constant updates regarding “not provided” keywords for improving the performance and website rankings of your online business.

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Joe Parker

We boast of the best in the industry plugins for eCommerce systems and has years of experience working with eCommerce websites. We provide best plugins for platforms like - Magento, Prestashop, OpenCart and Shopify. We also provide custom module development and customization services for the website and modules.

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