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Google Analytics, as we all know is one of the most powerful tools which empowers your website and helps you with analysis of the website, marketing strategies and under use experience on the website.
Experience with working on numerous SEO, SEM and SMO campaigns, it has always been fascinating to analyze how Google understands the website and how it answers all the questions to webmasters and the website owners. However, there are few parameters which have always been ignored or rather not understood by many of the website owners and webmaster.
It has been one of the most asked questions when customers see their traffic report mapped with keywords and ask us what is it on your traffic report that says Not Provided (“In other words they mean to ask why have you not provided us the source?”) or Not Set (“In other words they mean to ask why haven’t you set our website properly and why are our traffic sources being ignored?”).
Well, thats not really a correct analogy and thats not about how SEO experts or firms have interpreted the data, but how Google has interpreted the data, based on the definitions that they have released mentioned as under:
Google encrypts the keywords which drove traffic to the website if the user who searched for that keyword is logged in to Google. This is what the marker represents. Google announced in October 2011 that they have taken this step in order to protect personalized search results by using this encryption technique. This means that this traffic that is generated by this search queries by the users, is legitimate organic traffic being driven to the website however, the moment the user is logged in, they can search with SSL protected search.
Hence the traffic will be reported to analytics console but the identity of the user and keywords searched will not be revealed in anyway. However, if you are running a PPC(Pay Per Click) campaign, you have the luxury to see those keywords unaffected even though the users are logged in.
Not set is the parameter set by Google for the traffic being driven to the website from adwords campaigns which is not yet linked to the Google Analytics Account. Moreover this parameter could also mean that the visits that are not directly related to the keyword searches will also show Not Set as the parameter. This can potentially include Direct Traffic, Referrals Traffic and adwords traffic(which is not linked to the GA) coming to your website.
Good news is we can certainly fix Not Set Parameter to a certain extent by linking the Google Adwords account to Google Analytics and make it visible, however there is no way to workout on Not Provided Parameter from GA. Hope this will help understand why are these parameters in GA and what do they exactly mean.
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