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

It 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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Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz 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 can be followed on social media at @rustybrick, +BarrySchwartz and Facebook. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio and disclosures, click over here.