On 18th October 2011, Google Search team announced that Secure Search would become the default experience for signed-in users on Google.com. According to a blog post by Google, this change was brought about to address privacy concerns: As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users.”

Not Provided Keyword

This was followed by Mozilla, who announced that they would be using secure search in version 14 of Mozilla/Firefox. In addition, growing popularity of Google+ has ensured that significant numbers of users are logged in while doing search. As a result, within one year a there has been a loss of average 20-30% search queries to webmasters, termed as ‘not provided’ by Google.

Let me walk you through what ‘not provided’ in your website Google Analytics or Secure Search really mean. Whenever a user does a search in Google, while he is logged in to any of the Google accounts like Google+, YouTube, … the user’s search term will show as ‘not provided’ in Google analytics review.

‘Not provided’ impacting overall site keywords:

Above screenshot shows significant traffic coming from (not provided) leaving Webmaster perplexed about keyword optimization

‘Not provided’ impacting landing page keywords:

Not Provided imapcting LP

‘Not provided’ is also affecting the search keywords of your main landing pages. The keywords which you have been using to target your Landing pages are no longer appearing in the search reports.

Challenge for SEOs

  • Loss of visibility into keyword search dynamics
  • Inability to figure out keywords of their best performing landing pages

In a scenario where the top traffic driving keywords are hidden, below are some solutions, which can help in targeting keywords for your SEO campaign:

1. Run PPC campaigns along with the On-Page SEO:

Perform Ad tests on long tailed keywords to filter out the top performing keywords for your organic search data.

The data below shows the variants for ‘search engine optimization’ out of which the top 3 keywords can be considered:

2. Monitor Webmaster Tools:

Google Webmaster Search Queries data can help as the entire data comes directly from the server logs. Look into the top 1000 results for the non-branding keywords driving more CTR and shortlist your target keywords.

3. Google Analytics Landing Pages:

Top landing pages in Google Analytics can help in fetching keywords for targeting. Filter out the top landing pages and create a list of keywords available with them. Analyze these keywords for ranking of the website and shortlist them for targeting purpose.

Not Provided Google Analytics LP

4. Leverage Other Online Tools:

Tools like SEMRUSH, WOORANK, etc. can help in getting top query results for your website.

Google’s Secure Search is just the tip of the iceberg. With more and more internet users worried about online security, similar steps from other browsers and engines are imminent. What’s important is to move with the change and find ways around each challenge.

This post was originally posted in blog.grazitti.com