Google 'Not Provided' Referring Keywords Rise

One of every 2.5 visits from organic search queries to B2B sites does not provide a referring keyword, according to a study released Wednesday. About 41% of the keywords previously tracked are no longer available through analytics systems due to SSL search. Google identifies those as "not provided" values assigned to referring keywords.

The annual B2B Optify study, a benchmark report and analysis of Google search market share, suggests that only 35% of organic search visits from Google provide keyword data that correlates to search engine optimization (SEO) strategies designed to improve campaigns.

Google owns 90% of the referring search market for B2B companies. Doug Wheeler, Optify CMO, said marketers need to recognize that the dominant search engine will continue to take away the ability to identify referring keywords for free. They will need to learn different tactics to drive clients to Web sites.

For starters, the diminishing data on referring traffic will spur an increase in content marketing and paid media, Wheeler said.

Organic search accounts for 41% of visits to B2B Web sites. Branded searches that include the name of the company show the highest engagement at 3.71 page views per visit, accounting for 31% of all visits from organic search queries.

Google sends more than 36% of all online traffic from organic searches to B2B sites, but blocked data in the form of "not provided" keywords in Google Analytics continues to become an issue for some marketers, according to a study. Blocked referring keyword data rose to nearly 41% on average, in 2012, which creates a problem for some --  considering that Google's share of organic traffic to B2B Web sites topped 90% in November 2012, with an average of 88.21% share for the year.

The study also identifies top-ranked B2B conversion tactics. Converting traffic to leads averages 1.6% monthly. About 2.89% converts through email; 1.04%, referral, 1.96% paid search; 1.8% branded search; 1.65%, direct; 1.45% organic search; and 1.22% social media.

The data came from analyzing more than 62 million visits, 215 million page views and 350,000 leads from more than 600 small- and medium-sized B2B Web sites.

Some marketers have told me they have found ways to increase performance without identifying referring keywords. What is your strategy?

2 comments about "Google 'Not Provided' Referring Keywords Rise".
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  1. Andre Szykier from maps capital management, January 23, 2013 at 4:47 p.m.

    This is more about Google's strategy of every website using Google Analytics with a lot of data will probably now move from freemium to premium pricing.

  2. Chris Vinson from Vinson Advertising, January 23, 2013 at 6:42 p.m.

    I'm surprised Google is doing business in this manner which will help their competition grow tremendously at some point.

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