Google's Big Lie About the Impact of "Not Provided" Keyword Data

I'm angry at Google and I'm not alone as the SEO community has started to realize the full impact of Google's decision to block keyword referral data for searches done when people are signed into their Google account. What started as a minor inconvenience has turned into a nightmare for SEO companies that are now faced with the reality of inaccurate reporting and guessing games when it comes to analyzing their organic traffic.

Let me start with some statistics from to give you a better idea of the problem:

not provided keyword data

Oct. 28th - 7.1% of clicks from Google show up as not provided
Nov. 2nd - 37.2% of clicks from Google show up as not provided

When this was first announced, Matt Cutts stated on the record that the impact would be in the single digit percentages. While some of our clients are only seeing a single digit impact, other clients are seeing 20 percent or more and I'd love for Google to give me an idea of what to tell clients when they ask what organic keywords are generating traffic. Google's decision undermines the credibility of online agencies because it takes away our ability to act and report on keyword data.

I would support Google's decision if this was applied to their Adwords platform but Adwords users still have access to all keyword data essentially putting a price on privacy. Essentially this move is saying that if you want access to keyword data you have to pay for it by proxy through Adwords and this maneuvering is exactly what we've seen since Larry Page took on the role of CEO and the company shifted to a shareholders first policy.

Their behavior is the very definition of hypocrisy and I respectfully ask Google to reconsider their decision.

Fahrenheit Marketing is an Austin web design firm.

3 Responses to “Google's Big Lie About the Impact of "Not Provided" Keyword Data”

  1. A Maryland SEO

    Since the missing data is assumed to be logged in users, as long as there is a large enough sample, the missing keywords can be inferred to be of about the same distribution as what you have access to, right? It isn't perfect, but it is the best we can do. Clients shouldn't care as long as they are seeing results.

    Search engines have trended towards opacity in recent years. Given the closure of important tools and apis around the web, I'm not at all surprised this route has been taken.


Leave a Reply