Q: In Google Analytics, under keywords, organic, why am I getting so many results which are “not provided”. I really can not see how many clicks I am getting through unpaid keywords.
A: Oh wow — That’s a great question. I could write a book for you, but I’ll try to keep it brief. To answer that specific question, you’ll need to have a little understanding of the larger context.
The Head of Google search is a gentleman who really does not like the SEO industry. Fair enough… Google should make it as difficult as possible for individuals and businesses to influence their organic rankings – we can’t blame them for that. After all, what good would search results be if we could all manipulate them?
So what you are seeing in your Google Analytics (GA) dashboard is a small part of Google’s attempt to crack down on the SEO industry, remove spammy websites from search results and limit black hat SEO methods.
No one has the exact answer why Google removed this info from Google Analytics, but it seems to be part of a much larger effort to make cheap SEO a thing of the past. Without this data, Digital Marketers are forced to look at a website more holistically. So rather than focusing on individual keyword rankings and trying to nickel & dime the rankings, marketers are left metrics more oriented towards engagement and overall website health.
Kudos to Mr. Google. As a digital marketing agency that once focused exclusively on “SEO” and rankings, we now think about “marketing” and how to win customers – rather than the years before 2013 when we focused on rankings.
Something else that Google has done to make it more difficult to influence organic results…
They’ve made it VERY challenging to get accurate organic rankings. You can do this manually, but for big websites or agencies, that would mean reporting several thousand keyword rankings. That is unrealistic and other methods have been blocked. There is software and services that provide ranking information, but it’s either time-consuming, expensive or inaccurate.
The bottom line?
Focus on your content. Don’t worry so much about individual keyword rankings or you will miss the larger picture. Or worse – end up with penalty. Provide something valuable for your users and sooner or later, you’ll be rewarded.