The true meaning of Google Analytics “Not provided”
Consumed => “Will [Not Provided] Ever Reach 100% In Web Analytics?” by Vanessa Fox on Search Engine Land.
=> My value add (i.e., left a comment)…
Re: “The searches people do that lead them to a site is valuable data to an organization. What other data source do we have that gives us direct access to our customers’ wants and needs? Sure, we can ask them, but customers can lie. Or choose not to answer. By looking at exactly what visitors have searched for, we can learn a lot about who our customers are, what they really want, and if we’re providing it to them.”
Yup. It certainly helps.
That being said, the number of reliable conclusions you can glean from a couple of keywords – typically coming off an auto-complete / suggestions list – is probably too often over-valued. Yes, it gives you a clue but not really the type of evidence you can use in court (so to speak), eh?
For example, I enter a product model number. Am I looking to buy? For the manual? For tips & tricks? The possibilities are endless, yes? But I’d bet most e-comm sites are going to assume “buy” and a site that does repairs will think “spare parts”.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a shame to lose these. Just the same, it might just be a blessing in disguise for those willing to optimize their “machine” to bypass would could be deception. Aside from webmaster tools, now might be the time to add site search and/or specialty landing pages to back fill some of the holes the unstoppable force called Google is now creating.