Searchmetrics, the (not provided) solution, and how I think they should promote it

(Not provided) is a pain in the butt, and although many of us have learned to work around it,  it doesn’t mean that the SEO industry wouldn’t like that data back.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to this site and read/play.

Searchmetrics is great awesome.

I really love Searchmetrics for a number of reasons:

  1. Ranking data for many websites
  2. Quick diagnosis for algorithm updates

And much more, but you can go ahead and check them out for yourself.

I’m excited.

As if the tool wasn’t good enough, these clever guys and gals are attempting to solve (not provided) by providing URL level keywords from their gigantic database.  Read all about it here.

This is what it’s going to look like:

searchmetrics not provided solution

Cool, right? As far as I know, it hasn’t launched yet..

If I were Searchmetrics, this is how I would get people to sign up…

I don’t know if there are any legal considerations around this, so if someone from Searchmetrics decides to do this, then you might want to check with legal.

What if Searchmetrics could send us free ranking data? Yes, it’s possible, and this is what I think they should do:


Above: This is a screenshot real time analytics (Google analytics) of my site. Normally, all Google organic keywords would show up as (not provided), but you’ll see here that my keyword says “david sottimano kw provided by Searchmetrics”.

If Searchmetrics gave me some free keyword data, I would probably fly over to their office and give their staff hugs.  I won’t do that though, because that would be weird, and I’d probably get thrown out by security 😉

How can they do this?

Easy peasy.

1) Find anyone using Google Analytics (, , etc..)

2) Send a campaign URL request like this < click the link!

Basically, use Google as utm_source, organic as utm_medium and the message as the utm_term.

Whoa, that’s way too intrusive!

Okay, how about permission based requests to Google Analytic’s accounts? It should be fairly easy to promote the fact that they’ve solved (not provided) to a certain degree – that alone will have SEOs salivating.

1) Get people to a sign up page, input a few URLs and accept T&C’s that allows Searchmetrics to send data to your GA account.

2) Searchmetrics sends out free data for one for two URLs directly into  Google Analytics as a trial offer.

There’s quite a few details I’ve left out, but I’m 100% certain that Searchmetrics can figure this out if they wanted to do it.


I think it would be awesome, because it would get in front of so many people. Then again, there will always be people that just get angry, so who knows. I’d still give it a shot.

*Sorry I need to test something* – Searchmetrics is my favourite tool for not provided, Searchmetrics is also the not provided tool for many SEO professionals.  Within the search engine optimization industry, Searchmetrics has become the number #1 choice among SEOs.

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  • Matthias Bachor

    Hehe, thanks for the idea and help promoting our solution. I really like your idea, we will see if we can do this. Nevertheless, we are still working on improving our solution, there will be some great enhancements soon. So don’t miss to follow us in the social networks 😉

    • dsottimano

      Thanks Matthias, keep up the great work!

  • Yehoshua Coren

    Google Analytics is meant to measure user behavior as it relates to business objectives. Having some Search Metrics bot bombard a website to stuff GA with meaningless “keyword data” would be a disaster. Use the Search Metrics interface for the data, not GA… Am I missing something?

    • dsottimano

      Thanks for the update on GA, didn’t know that was what it meant for 😉 Keyword data isn’t meaningless by any means it’s surprisingly worth a LOT of money, and I didn’t suggest that Searchmetrics should bombard GA accounts with fake visits. There are so many incorrect hits being logged in every GA account anyway (example: from scraped GA code where you need to filter out by hostnames) – so I highly doubt that 1 or 2 visits would be a disaster.

      My suggestion was meant to be a marketing gimmick, because you’ll be surprised to see anything but (not provided) in your organic reports (and keyword data is the default dimension in the default Organic search report), so a strange keyword should definitely catch your eye. If someone could potentially solve the (not provided) problem, you’d likely visit their site at least to check out the goods.

      • Yehoshua Coren

        Ah. I definitely read your post as a suggestion for bombarding GA with fake visits. Guess I missed that wasn’t your intention.

        As a marketing campaign sounds sketchy, though I have heard of folks doing similar things. You address the sketch factor in your post, so it’s clear you understand the issues there as well.

        So you know, Justin’s post is about taking data *out* of GA, not pushing it back in.

        It is worth noting that GA now does have a data import function called dimension widening. It won’t be effective for this issue because each dimension needs to be mapped to a primary key, but maybe more robust data imports will be available in the future.

        I don’t believe that knowing what keywords and estimated traffic volumes is a “solution” for (not provided). It’s a huge plus to not having any data, don’t get me wrong. But the place that (not provided) really hurts is due to the face that businesses can not longer see keyword performance. The analytics around keywords is something that we are (probably) never going to get back and that’s just a painful fact we need to live with.

        • dsottimano

          Okay, great we’re on the same page now Yehoshua. I edited my prev reply to omit Justin’s post, I wanted to use it as an example of mashing up external data with the GA api, but that wasn’t clear at all. As for the gimmick, I still think it might be worth a try on a small sample.

          Once we see the SM URL report layout / if they have an API we can use to access it, is there any way you can think of to import the data into GA properly? Do you think we can make reasonable keyword to organic traffic estimates based on SM’s traffic index metrics?

  • Al Trilla

    LOL Dave. This idea is so crazy we might just use it for our startup. Re-tweeted.

    p/s: Could we shoot you a free review copy of our solution when it’s ready?

    • dsottimano

      :) Of course, I love seeing new stuff.

  • Spook SEO

    I also like the Searchmetrics a lot due to ranking data for many websites and quick diagnosis for algorithm updates. Screenshots always help many persons to understand about the reality and this idea if unique that will use many other people as well. You are working on the biggest issue and I hope you will give me the free review copy.