Study: 39% Of Google Search Referrers Now “Not Provided”

google-not-providedIt is just over a year since Google began encrypting search by default for signed-in users. A new study finds that as a result, 39% search-related traffic from Google to web sites now has search terms withheld.

Optify conducted a study over eleven months with 424 web sites, involving 17,143,603 visits and 7,241,093 referring keywords, to see how serious the “not provided” issue is.

“Not Provided” is what Google Analytics shows in cases where Google no longer reports a search term due to encryption (other analytics programs may use other phrases).

The study found that 39% of terms are withheld:

The study also found that 13% of companies see rates at high at 60% of terms being withheld. Here’s a breakdown, which shows that most are in the 35% range:

The study is available through Optify’s press area.

To understand more about why Google withholds terms and some of the impact this has had on search marketers, see our one-year retrospective story:

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Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Features: Analysis | Google: Analytics | Google: Privacy | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search | Google: Webmaster Central | Legal: Privacy | Top News

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • D T

    Here is post from the analytics POV about this scam – http://goo.gl/pRBOu

  • http://www.couponzguru.com/ Vikash Khetan

    The major reason for this is when users search on google which they are logged into gmail, google+ or any other google products. So basically at that time google encrypts the users action and sends them to the landing page using https instead of http an thus this KW is not tracked by the analytics. Had been trying to get a fool proof way to overcome it, but no success yet. If anyone knows about how to overcome this, then please share.

  • http://twitter.com/WebsiteReviewCo Website Review Co.

    Its not privacy with Google. Google will kill off other analytics suppliers as people won’t keep paying when large portions of their data is unaccounted for. I believe that in 18-24 months time, Google will switch to offer a 2 versions (excluding the current expensive one) a free version with basic stats and a premium version that is paid for, but provides all data.

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