Website Analytics

Black Hole (Not Provided) Keyword Detection Method

(not provided) keyword detection - The Black Hole Detection Keyword Detection Method

Although we can’t see black holes, we can detect their presence (or at least make an educated guess) by measuring effects on objects around them. That same principle is the basis for this (not provide) keyword detection method. While it doesn’t technically get your beloved keywords back, it will hopefully help fill in the gaps since Google implemented this (sucky change) in reporting.

The purpose of this post is to help business owners and marketers easily get a snapshot of the *likely* keywords they’re missing. There are other more detailed technical posts for those looking for a deeper dive into the keywords (not provided) pool. These posts from Avinash Kashik and Rachael Gerson are great if you’re looking for a more detailed analysis.

Most of the people I’ve talked with have reported the percentage of (not provided) keywords at between 10%-20%. That’s what I’ve seen for the most part, but it really depends on your visitors. Covario has a great post of how (not provided) impacts different audiences. The growth rate is more concerning to me (especially with Google+ and Android adoption). As more and more people log into Google’s products, the less and less we’ll see.

But not to worry 🙂 Google has made us dance before and they’ll do it again. Yes, we lost some keywords, but we can still see the landing pages these searches are directed to and can *mostly* infer what those lost keywords were. So, if you have a relatively optimized website you can make some pretty reasonable assumptions about what these (not provided) keywords were. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Find Your Keywords in Analytics

Step 2: Isolate (Not Provided) Keywords & Select Landing Pages

In the interest of full disclosure this is not my idea. I just added the Black Hole image 🙂 Rachel Gerson of SEER Interactive first shared it with me at GAUGEcon in San Francisco. Be sure to follow her on Twitter. She is awesome!