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64% of companies see 30%-50% of their traffic from Google as “Not Provided” – Here’s why…

Posted: April 26th 2016

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Google Analytics is a freemium web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports on website traffic by combining cookies with Javascript. In November 2005, Google acquired Urchin and in 2006 they granted access to everyone, whether using their paid marketing services or not. It is now the most widely used web analytics service on the internet. Google analytics is brilliant, but it has issues…

Traffic Sources

Google Analytics’ traffic sources report is supposed to show how visitors arrived to your website and its broken down into three sources…

  • Search Traffic:Visitors who found you through a search engine, either by clicking an organic listing or an ad (PPC / paid search)
  • Referral Traffic:Visitors who arrived at your site by clicking a link on another website
  • Direct Traffic:Visitors who typed your address directly into a browser

There are various reasons why this data is inaccurate; much of the traffic sources report is incomplete, mislabelled or incorrectly categorised.

Keyword Data showing as not provided?

Analytics isn’t lying, it’s more like bending the truth. In 2011, Google stopped displaying a percentage of data in the results, and here’s why!

Hidden Data: If when you search on Google, you see https:// rather than http:// (with no s) in the address bar of the browser, the phrase you searched for will not be tracked if you click on the link on the Google search results. Instead, the key phrase will be displayed as “Not Provided”.

Keyword data is hidden for anyone using the Firefox browser, or the Google “Omnibox” (the combination of the address bar, search field) and anyone logged into any Google product.

This means around 39% of your key phrase data is not tracked!

Branded searching: Search traffic includes “brand keywords” such as your company name. This is technically a search traffic but these visitors knew who you were already. This data should really be categorised under “direct traffic”.

We have inherited accounts where over 70% of the search traffic were searches for brand. Initially this looks like a great result, until you realise that visitors were finding them for their company name – the only terms they actually ranked for. In order to increase traffic to a website for none branded terms, an effective SEO or PPC campaign needs to be implemented.

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