When to Start Crying About (Not Provided)

This baby is so sad to see Not Provided go.
Don’t be a baby; start thinking about solutions to Not Provided now.

The (not provided) Doomsday Clock is inching closer to midnight, and I’m getting pretty sick of talking about it. Not so much because it injects outside-the-box critical thinking into any strategic SEO initiative, but because of its slow march of inevitability.

It’s a matter of when, rather than if, (not provided) fully encompasses the ironically new Organic segment in the Google Analytics Keywords tab, and all we can do is continue weaning ourselves off keyword traffic and onto landing pages, impressions, and the definition of inexact science: keyword rankings.

NotProvidedCount.com has projected the (not provided) plague to finish its spread of cloaked data misery on December 7, 2013 (i.e. SEO coal in your stocking). The site also estimates that currently 79.47% of all organic keyword searches return (not provided) results. Their data is drawn from 60 sites of varying purpose and industry concentration. Both the percentage and official 100% date fluctuate slightly (a la weather reports), but they’re certain it’s coming, and fast.

But is this data accurate enough for us to feel comfortable booking an anti-party on December 7th, with Adele on loop all night?

I took a look at 10 Nina Hale, Inc. clients with sites of varying organic traffic volume, and compared (not provided) traffic volume between the first 23 days in October and September. I chose this time frame in part because September is when the (not provided) graph starts its steep climb up the mountain of privacy.

Of those 10 sites, seven are now over the 70% (not provided) threshold, and organic keywords among the other three are 61%, 67% and 69%. Taking NotProvidedCount.com’s methodology into consideration, which simply involves adding all organic and (not provided) traffic without consideration for volume-per-site, the final (not provided) average comes out to 77%.

Broken down, it’s clear not every site is running this encryption marathon at the same pace, but it’s reasonable to assume NotProvidedCount.com is as close to an industry-wide average as we’re going to get. So keep it bookmarked if you’re interested in comparing data until the worst stocking stuffer in history arrives.




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