Google Extends “Not Provided” to Paid Search


Google is making a change that will bring paid search in line with organic search when it comes to relaying referrer information. Now when people using secure search click on AdWords ads, they will not have their search query show up in the referrer string, this info will no longer be available in analytics packages and third party providers of related software.

Ginny Marvin wrote on Search Engine Land:

As suspected, Google is moving to secure search for clicks on paid search ads. In an announcement posted by Paul Feng, Product Management Director, AdWords on the Ads Developer Blog, the company states,

“Today, we are extending our efforts to keep search secure by removing the query from the referrer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on

Advertisers will continue to have access to useful data to optimize and improve their campaigns and landing pages.  For example, you can access detailed information in the AdWords search terms report and the Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries report.”

The search term report still “lets you see search queries that generated ad clicks along with key performance data”.  The search queries report in Google Webmaster Tools will continue to show aggregate information about the top 2,000 queries that generated organic clicks.

If you’re using search query strings (the terms users typed in before clicking on an AdWords ad) for reporting, in dynamic landing pages or automated keyword generation and expansion, Google recommends the following:

Read the full article here

George Michie also wrote an article and explained why its not that big of a deal.

This is an annoyance, but in the great scheme of things, it’s not a major problem. I’ll explain more, but first a little background.

At SMX West in March, Google search chief Amit Singhal directly acknowledged the company recognized the contradiction in providing advertisers with data that non-paying SEOs weren’t receiving. He said the lack of parity was a concern that Google understood and would address. That got some marketers and publishers excited that user query data would soon come back to web analytics packages.

Not so. Instead, we now know that Google’s plans for achieving parity involve blinding paid search folks to query data.

Google announced today that, going forward, an increasing amount of secure search would pass referrer strings to advertisers that omit the user’s search query, so this will appear as “(not provided)” in analytics reports. Over the next month, the percentage of search queries omitted for paid search traffic will reach organic levels, representing nearly all user queries.

Google gave us a courtesy heads up that this announcement was coming, which we appreciate. Having had a chance to consider the situation, my thinking now is pretty much the same as it was back when Singal spoke and the speculation began.

Read the full article here

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