Google Analytics Keyword Headache

Seems like we online marketing folk are always trying to find ways around Google’s roadblocks, especially when it comes to the whole (not provided) thing – like figuring out how to use Google Webmaster Tools to get keyword data.

But rather than grumbling about what Google doesn’t let you do anymore, it’s time to embrace the things Google does allow – like adding filters in your Analytics account!

Filter Limitations

Before I go on, let’s lay some basics down before you get too excited.

First, this isn’t going to “unlock” (not provided) keywords. In fact, it’s not going to “unlock” any keywords at all. As I said, it’s time to embrace the things Google actually lets you do. So this post is about making the most of the data you can actually get. Work with me, here.

What the Heck Are Filters?

Think of a filter like, well, a filter!

This is basically just a way to make some finer, more specific bit of data out of a broader blob of it in Analytics. You can add filters that do lots of great stuff, but for this post, we’re talking about the (not provided) filter.

How to Set Up the (not provided) Filter

First, you’ll need full Admin access to your Google Analytics account.

So log in, then hit – you guessed it – the Admin tab, which’ll take you here, where you click” Filters”:

Add Keyword Filter on Google Admin Page

Now click to add a new one, hit the Custom Filter bubble, and then just make the rest look like this:

Add 'not provided' Filter in Google Analytics

You’ve basically just told Google that every time a “not provided” keyword happens, they’ll assign the specific landing page to it and throw out the (not provided) report.

What the (not provided) Filter Does

Like I said, don’t expect a magical well of keywords. Instead, you’ll get a report of landing pages that you know for FACT someone reached by organic search. While you won’t know what their search query was for getting there, you do get:

  • an idea of organic traffic behavior (see what organic visitors do on your pages)
  • an idea of search terms (if they got to your “/running-shoes” page, their query likely included “running shoes”)
  • which second-level/non-homepages are getting keyword traffic (gauge these pages for their keyword/SERP success)
  • specific data out of vague data (instead of hundreds or thousands of unprovided keywords, you get all this information about specific pages)

It may not be keywords, per se, but it’s another way to get good keywords without ‘not provided’ Analytics data. And that’s a whole lot better than relying blindly on keywords!

 

Got a good tip for keyword filtering? Let me know in the comments!