We use Google Analytics to track the vistors to our websites, were currently putting together a big audit of our SEO and one of the things we want to see is what search terms are working for us.

About 90% of our organic search traffic comes under 'not provided' which as i understand means a user is signed into a Google account when coming to our site, thus Google doesn't track their search terms.

This makes it really hard to conduct a meaningful study, (i suppose we could get the data of the 10% that we do have search terms for and multiply them it but i dont think thats a particularly good or meaningful approach).

Is there a workaround to see behind the 'not provided' data and see the search terms actually used ?


I read this article last night from Hacker news, which states :

[using https will allow you] more complete referrer information in Google Analytics for people visiting from sites already using HTTPS

and contained a link to this SO thread, it seems to say that because Google's users are using https that an https site cannot pass data to an http site, as the http site is not secure, none of the sites i manage have https / sll setup, could some one confirm if Google will pass you more referrer data if your site has https implemented ?

  • 1
    @John Conde - I agree that in the most part these types of questions should be classed as 'off topic', but in this particular instance its not asking for a 'best' or 'recommended' product thus attracting opinionated answers and spam - its asking about an approach to solve a very real world issue that all webmasters / seos run into.
    – sam
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 11:38
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    Regarding your update, as the link in joshuahedlund's answer indicates, Google seems to now be extending its privacy to users that are also not signed in. So it seems unlikely that adding SSL to a site would result in data instead of "not provided". But we'll see what others have found...
    – dan
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 9:58

2 Answers 2


joshuahedlund already pointed out that you can get keyword data from Google Webmaster Tools. It is also possible to access this data from directly within Google Analytics by linking your Google Analytics to your Webmaster Tools

Once you have linked the accounts you can view the webmaster tools data under the "Traffic Sources" -> "Search Engine Optimization" -> "Queries" menu. Data from referrers (that has "not provided") is still available in the "Traffic sources" -> "Sources" -> "Search" -> "Organic" menu.

Google analytics traffic sources menu with organic and SEO queries

The webmaster tools data is rather poor. It will tell you what your top terms are, but it doesn't give you a good sense of what the tail terms are (anything with less than 10 clicks doesn't have a number).

It does provide data about impressions, even if you don't get many clicks. So you can see when you are showing up in the SERPs for queries: data that is not available from referrer logs.


Google has recently expanded the use of "not provided" to essentially all searches. There is no way to match those keywords to specific user behavior in Analytics. However, you can still get relatively accurate aggregated numbers of visitors coming to your site by keyword through Google Webmaster Tools.


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