3 SEO KPI alternatives in the case of a “not provided” keyword



It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that half of our clients contacted us following the Google’s move to encrypt all searches for everyone, thus reporting only the “(not provided)” keyword. This was a blow for a lot of SEO analysts who were relying on keyword data to develop and hone their strategy.

Ok, so we have to change the way we do SEO reporting. But how? What should we report on? What SEO KPIs should we create to replace the lost keyword data?

As far as we can see, the landing page analysis is the new SEO specialist’s best friend to replace keyword data and to avoid reporting on the “(not provided)” keyword.


So, here are 3 SEO KPI alternatives to use without keyword data:

Organic Traffic Excluding the Home Page

The home page is often the entry for generic / branded keywords, while specialized pages are mostly associated with non-branded, specialized keywords. For us, for example, “How to filter on Youtube Video ID” most likely won’t lead to the home page, but rather to a specialized webpage. On the other hand, the “DashThis” keyword will most likely lead to the home page.

So what filter should you use? Try this one:

ga:medium==organic;ga:landingPagePath!=/, ga:landingPagePath!=/index.html

Top Landing Pages (Excluding Home Page)

Like the one above, we’ll filter out the home page to get only the top landing pages, which will reveal information on what was searched. You could even restrict this SEO KPI to some sections of your site.

Here’s an example of such a filter:


Performance for Targeted SEO Keyword Groups

Why not use specific expressions to check keyword group performance? For example, let’s say we want to track the performance for “custom dashboard development”: we could check all page titles containing “custom development” since we carefully choose our page titles (you too, right?).

The filter would be:

ga:medium==organic;ga:pageTitle!=(not set);ga:pageTitle=~(custom|development)

In short, the “(not provided)” keyword issue for SEO reporting isn’t a dead end. The challenge is more a shift of thinking than a shift in reporting. Moreover, it’s probably a good thing that we stop and take the time to think about how to track SEO performance in a business strategy. The good news is that it’s still possible to get great SEO insights even if we don’t have organic keyword data anymore.



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