50 questions about keywords in Google Analytics


    If you have been in SEO for a while, you will know all about the introduction of Secure Search in 2011 and the gradual reduction of keyword visibility in Google Analytics,

    Many questions need to be answered, whether you are an advanced SEO looking for the best solution to this old problem, or a new SEO wondering why this happened and what the impact is on the industry.

    I built a business around getting SEOs their keywords back, and over the years got asked many questions, which lay around in notes and different gdocs, so I finally got a chance to put these all together.

    What does ‘not provided’ mean?

    Since Google introduced Secure Search in 2011, web analytics tools like Google Analytics, no longer display the keywords a person googled to land on a website, and instead these organic keywords are clustered together in a new category, called (not provided.) In brief, a ‘not provided’ keyword is a keyword without keyword referral data.

    Why was ‘not provided’ introduced?

    As Google disclosed in 2011, keyword referral data was removed to protect the privacy of users’ personalized search results. As Google started incorporating personal information into search results, they had to protect users’ private information.

    Is Google Analytics keyword search encrypted?

    They achieved this by encrypting searches from logged-in Google users.

    Before the change, a normal Google search would redirect users to an HTTP version of the domain they clicked on. Redirecting users to a secure version of their desired domain encrypts their search queries.

    What was Google Analytics like before Secure Search?

    Before 2011, Google Analytics users could see 100% of all organic keywords. Presently, webmasters can see less than 1%.

    Is SEO still important?

    This didn’t change the importance of SEO, but it made it much harder to see what keywords brought traffic to different web pages, and importantly, it meant not having visibility into the keywords with the best conversion metrics.

    How do I find not provided keywords in Google Analytics?

    On Google Analytics, navigate to Acquisition | Channels | Organic Search. You will see (not provided) and (not set) make up 99% of all keywords.

    What is NP Google Analytics?

    On the organic search terms report. Keywords are listed as ‘not provided’ because the domain encrypts their search queries to protect users’ private information.

    What is not set in analytics?

    (Not set) is a placeholder name that Google Analytics uses when it hasn’t received any information for the dimension you have selected. The reasons for (not set) vary depending on the report in question.  

    Why Google Analytics is not showing visits?

    Incorrect filter setup can prevent Analytics from displaying your traffic. Make sure you have not configured two “Include” filters. Failing that, review the order of your filters for any mistakes that might be filtering your data.

    What can be tracked with Google Analytics?

    You can use Google Analytics to track website activity such as session duration, pages per session, bounce rate, etc. of individuals using the site, along with the information on the source of the traffic. However, organic keywords are now locked as ‘not provided’.

    Where do I find keywords?

    To find ranking keywords for your site, follow these steps.

    • Create a free account with Keyword Hero
    • Select the Google Analytics view that contains the domain
    • Select a conversion or goal
    • Connect the right Search Console properties
    • Create an upload account
    • Select the right plan

    How do I find not provided keywords in Google Analytics?

    Once you have created an account with Keyword Hero follow these steps to see your not provided keywords.

    • Select Keyword Hero as property and view
    • Go to Acquisition | Overview | Organic Search
    • Your keywords will reappear on Google Analytics

    How do you check keywords?

    You can check your keywords by taking these steps.

    • Check Google Search Console for keywords volumes
    • Choose a mix of long-tail and short-tail keywords
    • Check the Serps for search intent
    • Create a list of priority keywords
    • Use a mix of paid and free keyword research tools
    • Avoid keywords where Serps have high backlinks count
    • Use Keyword Hero to see organic keywords
    • Focus on keywords with the highest conversion rates

    Read our full guide to keyword research here.

    How long does it take for keywords to work on Google?

    It depends on your Domain Authority (DA) and the competition, but anywhere from one to six months is normal.

    How do I check my keyword ranking?

    You can check the position of keywords as a custom dimension using Keyword Hero. Each keyword will appear alongside a column that displays the Serp ranking.

    What makes a good keyword?

    Your focus keywords need to meet four criteria: acceptable search volume, relevance, conversion value, and low-to-medium competition.

    Read how to optimize keywords here.

    What is a keyword example?

    Keywords are search queries that people type into Google. For example, if you were looking to buy a new car, you might type “best new car to buy”. Even though that phrase consists of more than one word, it’s still a keyword. Long-tail keywords have two words or more, with no upper limit.

    Read more about long-tail keywords here.

    How can I rank up faster on Google?

    • Improve on-site SEO
    • Integrate LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords 
    • Apply technical SEO best practices
    • Match page content to search intent
    • Compare monthly page bounce rates
    • Focus on high conversion keywords
    • Publish daily evergreen content
    • Execute backlink strategy

    Read about the most critical SEO success factors.

    How can I improve my technical SEO?

    • Make your website mobile friendly
    • Create and optimize XML sitemap
    • Improve average page speed 
    • Monitor site errors with weekly technical SEO site audits
    • Optimize internal links
    • Include focus keywords in alt texts
    • Use canonical Urls to avoid duplicate content issues
    • Install an SSL certificate
    • Check and fix crawl errors on Google Search Console
    • Fix broken site links

    What is the fastest way to rank a keyword?

    • Find underperforming keywords
    • Do keyword research
    • Choose a keyword relevant to your business model
    • Study the Serp competition
    • Consider intent
    • Bring something new to the table
    • Optimize for keywords
    • Share with your network
    • Track and monitor, rinse and repeat

    Read more about keyword optimization tools.

    How do I increase my visibility on Google?

    • Choose a focus keyword for each webpage
    • Structure your web pages for Google search
    • Create more pages
    • Get on online directories
    • Get verified by Google
    • Use click-worthy page titles
    • Work with influencers
    • Create fresh and useful content
    • Optimize images with focus keyword alt text
    • Use Google Ads
    • Promote on social channels
    • Leverage small opportunities

    How do I rank multiple keywords?

    Integrate long-tailed keywords. Choose a powerful focus keyword for title and H2 and add to meta description, keyword density is no longer important. Use just one focus keyword for each page and optimize to rank for multiple keywords. 

    How do I improve keyword ranking?

    • Publish fresh, consistent, relevant, and valuable content
    • Update content regularly
    • Include focus keyword in metadata
    • Execute backlink strategy
    • Add alt tags

    How do you unlock not provided keywords in Google Analytics?

    • Create an account with Keyword Hero
    • Wait for 24 days until data populates
    • Typically the percentage of (not provided) keywords in your account will go from >95% to between 15% and 5%.
    • Apart from the keywords, you will see all metrics that you’re used to from Google Analytics, such as BR, time on site, etc. and all transactional data, such as revenue, etc., which you can correlate with the keywords, along with new custom dimensions like position, brand keywords, keyword clusters and topics

    How long does it take SEO to work?

    Many SEO agencies will tell you that it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results. That’s generally accurate, but bear in mind this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow over time. Whatever results you’re getting at 6 months should be considerably less than what you’re getting at 12 months.

    How to check keywords on Google Analytics?

    • Log into your Google Analytics account
    • Go to Acquisition | Overview | Organic Search
    • If keywords are blocked as (not provided), unlock with Keyword hero
    • After Keyword Hero is running you will see all organic keywords

    Why can’t I see keywords in Google Analytics?

    These are blocked due to Secure Search. You can unlock them by using Keyword Hero. Once you do you can view all behavioral metrics by keyword including ecommerce etc.

    Read more about how to track organic keyword conversion in Google Analytics.

    How do I check my keyword performance?

    You can check your keyword performance using goal conversion and behavioral metrics.

    • Get Keyword Hero
    • Set up a conversion goal
    • Check bounce rate, position, and conversion rates per keyword
    • Set month-by-month time period comparison
    • Observe monthly keyword bounce rate increase of 10%+
    • Observe decreases in keyword conversion rates

    How do I search for keywords on Google?

    • Go to the Google Search Console Performance tab
    • Set date and add a new query
    • You will see some of the search queries for your website. Data will include the number of clicks, impressions, click-through-rate, and average position for each of the keywords

    Read about the limitations of Google Search Console.

    How do I choose keywords?

    • Start with keyword research
    • Study search intent for top three Serp results
    • Maps keywords to sales funnel position
    • Analyse Domain Authority and backlinks for top Serp results
    • Think about creating content that will help your target audience
    • Use one focus keyword for each page on your website
    • Optimize keywords based on behavior metrics
    • Get keywords back into Google Analytics

    Learn how to get all of your keywords back into Google Analytics.

    How do I choose the right focus keywords?

    • Your focus keyword should be based on search volume versus competition
    • Go for keywords that align with your business model
    • Avoid trying to compete with SEO giants like Moz, Ahrefs, etc
    • Find a niche, use long-tail keywords, and add value
    • Monitor, track, and compare
    • Analyze month-by-month performance for bounce rates and conversions

    How do I find unique keywords?

    • Check Google Analytics Organic Search report
    • If keywords are blocked as (not provided) use Keyword Hero
    • Study people also ask on Google
    • Play around with Google Keyword Planner
    • Get creative, one out of five search queries has never been searched for before

    Read our beginner’s guide to keyword research.

    How do you use long-tail keywords?

    • Set goal for keyword (traffic versus conversions etc)
    • Match keywords to sales funnel position 
    • Research long-tail keyword
    • Optimize page based on focus long-tail keywords
    • Create anchor text

    How do you use Keyword Hero?

    Keyword Hero pulls together nine different data sources, trains this data with an algorithm then uploads it, daily, back into a new separate view on Google Analytics. You can then track all the same behavioral metrics as before but now with organic keywords unlocked.

    Read our beginner’s guide to ‘not provided’ here.

    What is the best way to use keywords?

    Keyword density is no longer relevant but keyword placement is. 

    • Select a focus keyword for each webpage
    • Include at the start of the page title
    • Include keyword in first paragraph
    • Add to one H2 heading
    • Include in snippet and alt text
    • Use keywords from the organic search report on Google Analytics

    How to track organic keyword conversions?

    • Create a free Keyword Hero account
    • Select the Google Analytics view that contains the domain
    • Select a conversion or goal
    • Connect the right Search Console properties
    • Create an upload account
    • Select the right plan
    • Cancel at any time

    Read more about how to track organic keyword conversions.

    How many times do you use keywords in an article?

    Keyword density is no longer relevant. Include your focus keyword in the title and one H2 heading, in the snippet, and alt text for images, and then just write naturally. Write for people, not search engines.

    How do I find organic keywords?

    The easiest way to check (not provided) keywords is to log into the Google Search Console.

    • Go to Performance
    • Set date (default is last 3 months)
    • Scroll down to Queries to see organic keywords 
    • You can see click and impressions for each keyword

    Read about the limitations of GSC for finding organic keywords.

    What is Keyword Hero?

    Keyword Hero shows you in Google Analytics which keywords people used to land on your web page. No other solution on the market matches users’ search terms and sessions with 83% certainty. 

    How do you cluster keywords?

    • Find every possible keyword (1,000 to 6,000)
    • Use at least 4 different sources (competitors, Keyword Hero, Moz, People Also Ask)
    • Divide keywords in separate parts
    • Group the parts 
    • Choose the highest frequency and most relevant terms
    • Arrange into broad topics
    • If the groups you have are too broad, you can subdivide them even more into narrower keyword subgroups

    What does it mean if the value not provided data appears in keyword reports?

    Upwards of 99% of all organic keywords in Google Analytics are listed as ‘not provided’. This was introduced in 2011 to protect the privacy of user search data. 

    Find out how to unlock these keywords here.

    How do I add keywords to Google Analytics?

    • Go to Admin and navigate to the view in which you want to set up Site Search
    • In the View column, click View Settings
    • Under Site Search Settings, set Site Search Tracking to on
    • In the Query Parameter field, enter the word or words that designate internal query parameters, such as term, search, query, keywords

    Read about how you can add keywords to Google Analytics.

    Is Google Analytics an SEO tool?

    Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool, in use by more than half of all websites on the internet. And for SMBs, it’s the only SEO analytics tool you need to evaluate the value of SEO for your business. That and Keyword Hero to see your organic keywords in Google Analytics.

    How do I optimize Google Analytics?

    • Track bounce rate
    • Spot new customer segments
    • Find high-performance keywords
    • Use the right attribution model
    • Study behavior metrics
    • Analyze trends
    • Discover the best sources of traffic
    • Study users’ flow
    • Improve content efficiency
    • See organic keywords with high conversion rates

    What are organic keywords?

    An organic keyword is a query that a person entered on a search engine to find your website. Organic keywords are different to pay-per-click (PPC) keywords, for these keywords you have to pay for people to view and click and access your website.

    How do keywords increase traffic?

    By using a focus keyword, you make it easier for Google to understand what your page is about. By way of saying thanks, Google will increase the visibility of your page, and as a result, your traffic will increase.

    How do I optimize keywords?

    • Choose a focus keyword
    • Prioritize based on search volume and competition
    • Check that important content is getting indexed
    • Ensure the indexed text is unique
    • Use correct keyword placement 
    • Match user intent on Serps to page content
    • Update regularly

    Read more about keyword optimization here.

    How do I find keywords in Google Analytics?

    • Navigate to Acquisition | Overview | Organic Search
    • Most of the keywords will be (not provided or (not set)
    • To unlock, use Keyword Hero
    • Once installed, repeat the first step
    • All keywords will be visible again in Google Analytics

    How to Track Keywords in Google Analytics (Step by Step)

    • Verify your website in Google Search Console
    • Connect Google Analytics with Search Console
    • Install Keyword Hero
    • See keywords in the Search Console Report
    • View keywords again in Google Analytics | Acquisition | Organic Search

    How do I find my keywords?

    Keywords are no longer available to view on Google Analytics due to new privacy measures introduced by Google under Secure Search. The only way to get your keywords back in Google Analytics is by using Keyword Hero.

    Daniel Schmeh
    For eight years Daniel Schmeh has been involved in online marketing, in the first years mainly with SEO, later more and more with web analytics and marketing automation.

    Recent Articles