(Not set) and (Not provided) search words in Google Analytics
Our customers often ask us about (Not set) and (Not provided) search words in their Google Analytics statistics. It is important not to think they are exactly the same, there is a very big difference between them. Here you can read how the most common causes can be solved.
(Not set) search words
You can find (Not set) search words in your Analytics account at the tab page "Traffic sources" -> "Search" -> "Overview". Next, select as a primary dimension: "Search word".
Google Analytics shares all visits who do not have information about search words in "Not set". This can mean the traffic did not came from a search engine, but from a referral, directly or for example from an email-campaign. However, it can also mean your traffic did come from a search engine, but the information about the search word got lost on the go. You can solve this! In the roadmap on the next page you can read how.
1) Linking Analytics and Adwords together
To make Analytics show search words who came from Adwords traffic, you have to link Analytics and Adwords together. If this does not happen, or if it happens wrong, Analytics will mark the traffic from Adwords as (not set). The information about the search word is lost. It is smart to check if this traffic really came from Adwords, or if there is another problem. For this, select another Primary dimension namely: "medium".
You immediately notice the "not set" traffic came from Google cpc.
Before this problem can be solved, it is smart to check if your Analytics administrator is set as Adwords administrator. For this, go to your Google Analytics account and open the administrator tab on top right.
Click on the profile of your website and then open the tab page “Users”.
Check if your Adwords login name (this is an email address) is in this list and has the role "Administrator".
If this is not the case, first add your Adwords email address with the button "+ new user".
Now let's continue with the real link process. Actually, it is a shame that Google has not made this process easier yet. Without a clear instruction a newcomer can simply never know how to do this. It's by far the easiest to explain this with a little video. Go for linking to your Adwords account and follow the steps from the following video:
2) Apply cost sources
After linking your Adwords and Analytics accounts a new option inside your Analytics account appeared. Again, go to the tab page "Administrator".
Click on the profile of your website and go to the tab page "Profile settings".
Next, go to the tab page "Profile settings".
If your accounts are successfully linked, the option "Apply cost sources" must be available. If this option is not there, the linking went wrong. This option must me turned on. This is important, because this way you can see within Analytics what an Adwords click has cost. Checkmark this box, if it is not there already.
It will take some time for your new data to show up in Analytics. Linking your accounts does not give direct results in Analytics. The traffic search words from before can not be overtaken anymore. Only when new visitors enter your website, the new data will be visible. This can take about 24 hours.
It still doesn’t work? Continue with the next steps.
3) Activate auto-tagging
The Adwords function "Auto-tagging" makes sure information like the used search word, the campaign, adgroup, etc. is passed to Analytics. To check if the function is turned on, you can go to your Adwords account. Open the tab page "My Account" and go to "Preferences". If necessary, check mark "Autotagging".
You can read more about auto-tagging here.
4) Use the asynchronous Google Analytics tracking code
If you still use the traditional tracking code, this can be the cause for (not set) search words. The new asynchronous tracking code provides more accurate statistics and less data loss. The code is loaded faster and when loading, the rest of your page is loaded as well which makes your site faster. Updating to your new asynchronous tracking code is easy: Go to your Analytics account and click on the “Administrator” tab page. Next, go to the “Tracking info” tab page. Here you will find your personal tracking code, this will approximately look like this:
Put this code on every page of your site directly before the closing tag. Do not forget to remove the old code!
It still does not work?
If you still see a big amount of (not set) search words in your statistics, there is a bigger problem going on. After going through the previous steps, all obvious problems are checked. The consequence of your problem might be: - Pages who refer by means of 301 or 302 codes and thereby delete the Adwords “glid” information. This information comes from Adwords auto-tagging and without this tag the traffic will be placed under (not set). - Your server does not allow random URL-tags. This actually makes up the same problem as the 301/302 referrals. The glcid-parameter is not passed correctly to Analytics.
Read here what Google says about (not set) search words.
(Not provided) search words
Searchers on Google can choose for their search words not to be known. With the help of Google Encrypted Search their search tasks can be locked by means of SSL and they can not be tracked by Google Analytics. Analytics moves this traffic to the name “not provided”.
Unfortunately there is nothing to do about this, however this will for most of us be no problem. Unless your website is largely visited by people who are logged into their Google account or make use of the locked version of Google because of other reasons, the (not provided) amount of your website-traffic will probably stay low. Further, search words from Adwords will always be passed on, even when the locked version of Google is used.
As a final life-saving appliance you can see in your Webmaster Tools the top 1000 most used search tasks for your website. The (not provided) search words are in there as well. A cold comfort, but it is at least something.
Here you can read a good blog about how you can get good information from your (not provided) search words.