Google Now Hiding UK Search Data

Google Now Hiding UK & Other International Keyword Data

Last year, Google made a change that meant lots of keyword data was suddenly stolen away from website owners. Thankfully for UK & other international sites, they only rolled this out on Google.com.

‘(Not Provided)’ – The International Rollout

The bad news is, they’ve now rolled out this change to several other international Google sites, meaning you will now lose far more search query data.

Whereas in the past you would see all of the actual search terms bringing traffic from Google, now you get a large lump of data categorised under the anonymous phrase ‘(not provided)’.

Here’s a graph from a UK site showing the increase in the amount of data Google have hidden today vs the same period last week.:

How to View This for Your Own Sites

To view the above graph for your own sites, do the following:

  1. Add this ‘advanced segment’ to Google Analytics: http://bit.ly/hiddendata
  2. Go to the ‘audience overview’ report (‘Audience’ in the left-hand navigation, then ‘Overview’).
  3. In the graph, set the time format to ‘hourly’. (above the right-hand side of the graph)
  4. At the top-right of the screen, set the date range to today; then tick ‘compare to past’, and choose the same day last week as your comparison.
  5. Finally, select the Advanced Segment you set up in step 1 by clicking ‘Advanced Segments’ toward the top left of the screen, and choosing ‘Not Provided – Organic Search’ in the right-hand ‘Custom Segments’ box.

 

More Background

Here’s a post from Econsultancy talking about the impact of the original rollout. There is also a blog post over there containing a ‘hack’ to work around this to a very small extent.

If you’ve managed to gather any data on this so far for your site, do leave a note on the comment. And do share this via Twitter if you think it would help others.

15 replies
  1. Tim Leighton-Boyce
    Tim Leighton-Boyce says:

    Hi Dan, I’ve applied the segment to an existing ‘organic search only’ profile, which has the advantage that I can then use the percentage figures in various reports to see the share of organic search which is now ‘not provided’.

    Last week it was 1.5% of organic search and today it’s 6.3% so far.

    Reply
  2. Craig Sullivan
    Craig Sullivan says:

    Looked again at the stats:

    USA this week/last week for comparison (6-7 Mar vs. last week) : 7% vs 6.6%

    UK this week/last week : 1.6% vs 0.4%

    So it has tripled but not reached levels like the US site has.

    Interesting but not the volume I’d expected (it’s lower).

    C.

    Reply
  3. Darren Potter
    Darren Potter says:

    Hey Dan,

    Here are 3 examples showing change in (not provided) as a percentage of all site visits:

    (1) 0.81% to 2.11%
    (2) 0.36% to 1.89%
    (3) 1.38% to 3.66%

    Reply
  4. matt_seo
    matt_seo says:

    Hey Dan,

    We get a lot of traffic from the US but ours still went from 12.51% to 15.13% (people are quite likely to be signed in as well).

    Am i right in thinking Matt Cutts said it was a change that would impact 2% ish (or some other small %) of searches when it was launched?

    Reply
  5. Al Wightman
    Al Wightman says:

    Hi Dan,

    One site example with fairly large volumes of traffic and a very broad demographic:

    0.16% to 0.61% of all traffic

    Cheers,

    Al

    Reply
  6. rob
    rob says:

    Hey Dan

    Yesterday > Not Provided – Organic Search 8.63% of total visits

    Same Day Last week > Not Provided – Organic Search 6.14% of total visits

    Sector – Travel

    Sample average 60k uniques

    Reply
  7. Lee howard
    Lee howard says:

    Comparing a single day week on week we are seeing 1.02% upto 5.22% of organic traffic coming through as not provided.

    Reply
  8. James D
    James D says:

    Update: now 30% of entire visits.

    Background: ecommerce technology company. I’d guess a large proportion of visitors are always logged in for Google Analytics, Gmail, etc.

    Reply

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