Google’s encrypted search data is increasing in volume every month. Beginning in the US last October and expanding to the UK in March this year, logged in Google users now have their search data encrypted, leaving web analytics software blind to their keyword data. The words “not provided” appear in brackets in keyword reports for these encrypted searches. Then, in July Firefox 14 was released with encrypted search as the default for all its users, further increasing the amount of “not provided” keywords. Firefox has a 22% market share and I would assume a future version of Chrome will do the same, adding their 28% market share to the mix. In short, “not provided” keywords are on the rise and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon. Most SEOs have been aware of this increase throughout 2012, with many (rightly in my opinion) predicting it will rise to 80-90% of all Google search traffic. As such, SEO blogs are full of posts about how to get round the issue, minimise its effects or adapt to the new landscape. What I haven’t seen is a blog about the impact of “not provided” keywords on data analysis and reporting this year. The effect of “not provided” has been to combine many keywords into 1 in analytics and rather than do it suddenly, it’s gradually crept up all year. This means comparing search data to previous years or even within this year has become much harder. There are now a number of hidden pitfalls thanks to “not provided” data and they can all cause misinterpretations of a site’s data. All 3 of the below have fooled me and the self-administered forehead slaps have got louder with each new one. After the 3rd time it happened to me, I realised it was time to get philanthropic and blog about it so you could avoid these perils.
Archive for the ‘ Analytics ’ Category
A topic that had predominately been the focus of many debates last year was click tracking specifically in natural search arena. For those who are not familiar with the jargon I am referring to web analytics tracking. Typically all free or generic tracking tools work on the basis of tracking the last click. The last click is deemed as the last search and click through to your website by a user from a natural search result converting into a sale or lead. Normally everyone would think that it is okay except it is not! Here is why:
- Google analytics only tracks the last click performed by a user as they arrive on a website and not the first (historically original) click. Therefore you can’t tell how a visitor originally found your site, making it difficult to prove conversions of non-brand traffic when users return via a brand keyword to finalise a purchase or make an enquiry.
- There is no history on what the user had previously searched for or seen on the website.
- There is no easy way of integrating a multi click solution
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