A key aspect of tracking and improving your SEO results is knowing which keywords are driving visitors to your site. And that’s exactly why it’s so frustrating when you log into Google Analytics to view your keywords and see that most are listed as “(not provided).”
In this guide, we’re going to walk you through everything you need to know about keywords in Google Analytics: how to find them, why most are listed as “(not provided),” and how to recover those “(not provided)” keywords to see exactly what search terms people are using to find your site and its pages in organic search.
Table of Contents:
- How to Find Keywords in Google Analytics
- Why Are Keywords Not Provided in Google Analytics?
- What Does Not Provided Mean in the Google Analytics Keyword Report?
- How to Recover Google Analytics (Not Provided) Keywords
- How to Set Up Your Now Provided Report in AuthorityLabs
- What You Can Do With the Data in Your Now Provided Report
How to Find Keywords in Google Analytics
You can find the keywords that are driving traffic to your website in Google Analytics by following these steps:
- Expand the “Acquisition” menu.
- Expand the “All Traffic” menu.
- Click “Channels.”
- Click “Organic Search.”
This report shows you the keywords your visitors used to find your site in organic search. And while a number of keywords will display, for most sites, the bulk of your keywords will be listed as “(not provided).”
You can see in the report above that of the 20,686 keywords used to find this site in organic search, 20,043—a whopping 97% of the keywords—are listed as not provided.
Essentially, all of the data you need to see how your SEO efforts are performing and gather insights for how you can improve are, well, not provided.
Why Are Keywords Not Provided in Google Analytics?
Not provided wasn’t always an issue in Google Analytics.
Before 2011, you could see all of the keywords visitors typed into search engines before clicking through to your site. But in 2011, Google announced that it was launching encrypted search for users who searched while logged into their Google accounts. Encrypted search meant that search query data was inaccessible in Google Analytics (i.e. not provided).
After this change, webmasters saw a spike in the number of keywords listed as “(not provided)” in Google Analytics, but for a couple of years, it was a manageable amount. Maybe 10% of your keywords were listed as “(not provided),” but you still had access to the other 90%.
Then, in 2013, Google began encrypting all search activity, a change that applied both to users logged into a Google account and those who weren’t. Naturally, the number of keywords listed as “(not provided)” spiked. Today, the number of Google Analytics keywords listed as “(not provided)” is typically in the high 90% range—if it isn’t 100%.
What Does Not Provided Mean in the Google Analytics Keyword Report?
When you see keywords listed as “(not provided)” in Google Analytics, it means that the search terms used to find your site were encrypted. When data is encrypted, it’s converted into a cipher or code, so Google Analytics is unable to access and provide the keyword data for that search.
Because all Google searches are encrypted, most of the keyword data in Google Analytics displays as “(not provided).”
How to Recover Google Analytics (Not Provided) Keywords
AuthorityLabs’ Now Provided report gives you an easy way to recover your “(not provided)” keywords and see exactly what search terms your visitors are typing into search engines to find your site and its content.
It combines data from AuthorityLabs, Google Analytics, and SEMrush to show you the top-ranking keywords for the 25 pages of your site that drive the most traffic from organic search. Additionally, you can see:
- a graph showing how many pages of your site drive traffic from Google Search
- how many keywords each of your top pages rank for in the top 100 search results
- the number of users and sessions for each of your top pages
- the bounce rate for each of your top pages
Clicking on any of your top 25 pages opens your Now Provided report and shows up to 50 keywords your pages rank for in the top 100 search results. For each keyword, you’ll see the position you rank in for that keyword, the monthly search volume for that keyword, and the percentage of your traffic that entered your site via that keyword.
How to Set Up Your Now Provided Report in AuthorityLabs
To see your “(not provided)” keywords in AuthorityLabs, you can try the tool out by signing up for a 30-day free trial (no credit card required). Once you have an AuthorityLabs account, you can connect it to your Google Analytics account to create your Now Provided report.
First, you need to add your website’s domain to AuthorityLabs. This will let you see your Now Provided report and track the search ranking positions for your most important keywords.
1. Click “Domains” > “Add Domain.”
2. Enter your website’s URL in the “Domain URL” box.
3. Scroll down, then create a new group for your domain by typing in a group name (if you’re not sure what to use, just title it the same as your business) and clicking “New Group.”
4. Click “Track Domain(s).”
5. Now, you’ll need to add one or more keywords that you want to monitor your site’s search rankings for. If you’re not yet sure what keywords you want to track, you can simply enter your brand/website/company name. After you’ve added at least one keyword, click “Add Keywords.”
When you’re finished, you’ll be redirected to a page showing the domain and keyword(s) you just added. Now you’re ready to set up your Now Provided report:
1. Click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
2. Under “Now Provided,” click “Activate.”
3. In the drop-down, select “Add new token.”
4. Select the Google account you use to access Google Analytics.
5. Click “Allow” to give AuthorityLabs access to your Google Analytics data.
6. Now, click “Activate” under “Now Provided” one more time, but this time, select the OAuth token you just created. Next, select the appropriate Google Analytics account, web property, and profile. When you’re finished, click “Save Google Analytics Profile.”
Now you’re all set! It will take a little time for AuthorityLabs to gather your data, but you’ll get an email when your Now Provided report is ready.
Once your report is ready, you can access it by logging into AuthorityLabs and clicking “Now Provided” next to your domain.
Your Now Provided report will list the 25 pages of your website that get the most clicks from the organic search results. Click on the URL of any page to see up to 50 keywords that page ranks for, what percentage of your traffic comes from each keyword listed, and what position your site ranks in for each keyword.
What You Can Do With the Data in Your Now Provided Report
There are a lot of different ways you can use the data in your Now Provided report.
Monitor the Performance of Your SEO Efforts
If you’re constantly adding new content to your site, earning new high-quality backlinks, and optimizing your existing content, you should see growth in the chart showing the number of pages your site ranks for:
Additionally, you can track the ranking positions for specific keywords you’re targeting. If those rankings are increasing over time, you’ll know your efforts are paying off. If they’re decreasing, it’s a sign that the page may need some additional updates or backlinks.
Optimize Existing Content and Get New Content Ideas
Seeing all of the keywords your pages are ranking for provides actionable data you can use to optimize your existing content and even get ideas for new types of content you can create.
For example, you might notice that a blog post you wrote about finding and fixing SEO canonical issues is ranking for the term “should I redirect HTTP to HTTPS,” but you never actually answer that question in your blog post. You might want to add that question and its answer to your blog post to make it more comprehensive and to rank higher for that keyword.
Then, you notice that the same post is ranking for the keyword “how to remove redirect chains,” but you haven’t covered redirect chains at all in your post. That might be a great idea for a new blog post.
See Which Pages Are Keeping Visitors On Your Site
Alongside each of your 25 top pages, you’ll see the bounce rate for those pages. Seeing the bounce rate for each page side-by-side shows you which pages are doing the best—and worst—job of keeping users on your site.
If your bounce rates are very high for any of your top pages, you may need to make sure the keywords you’re ranking for match searcher intent. You may also want to make sure that those pages have CTAs or internal links to other, related pages/blog posts on your site.
If your bounce rate is really high, it means visitors only viewed that one page before leaving your site. And while that’s not always a bad thing—it’s possible that they left because your content fully satisfied their questions—your goal should be to get people to do something after reading your content, such as:
- requesting directions to your store
- signing up for your newsletter
- viewing your pricing page
- signing up for a free trial
See Which Keywords Are Driving the Most Organic Traffic to Your Site
In your Now Provided report, you can see what percentage of your organic search traffic comes from different keywords.
This is helpful if, for example, you run search ads in addition to optimizing your site for organic search. If you’re ranking really high and generating a lot of traffic organically for a specific keyword, you may not need to also run ads for that keyword. Instead, you can focus your PPC ads on the keywords you’re not ranking well for in organic search.
Knowing What Keywords You’re Ranking for Can Drive Big Gains
Focusing your efforts on the pages and keywords that already have some traction in the search engines can lead to quick wins that pay off in a big way. And with our Now Provided report, you can see exactly which pages and keywords are driving the most traffic to your site.
This gives you the data you need to improve those pages even more, increasing your organic search traffic, improving your search rankings, and encouraging people to spend more time on your site—and ideally become leads or customers.