Having recently migrated to the Universal Analytics version of Google Analytics I now am able to use the Search Term Exclusions feature to divert organic branded search to the 'direct' channel instead of organic search.

Their documentation is ambiguous about whether this includes the portion of branded search that is in the (not provided) category. Given that both Google Search and Google Analytics potentially can access each other's data, it's plausible that they can divert all the branded search coming from Google properties into Direct.

Q: Does anybody know either way if the branded search traffic that is in the (not provided) pot is diverted to Direct using the Search Term Exclusion feature?

I know why these terms are (not provided), and I also know that Google Search knows what the keyword data is, so it is technically entirely possible for them to do this. I just don't know if they do. Anyone done it and seen a chunk of their (not provided) search go down and their Direct go up? Thanks.

1 Answer 1


"(not provided)" prevents Google Analytics search term exclusion from working properly. When the keyword is "(not provided)", Google Analytics has no idea whether it should be excluded or not.

All that Google Webmaster Tools data provides is the impression and click history for a search term in aggregate. It doesn't provide information to Google Analytics in any way that Google Analytics can attribute search terms to sessions in real time. Without real time information, Google Analytics would not be able to exclude the search terms.

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