Google Analytics: Which keywords are bringing business?

By the Editor In SEO 6 Comments

Continuing with the series of SEO blog posts by our Director, Christopher Mills, today we’re looking at something that will teach you more about your customers.


One of the most valuable uses for Google Analytics is being able to see which keywords people searched for in Google that went on to be a conversion. Today I’m going to run you through how you can go about this and on top of that I’m going to show you a trick on how to move past the (not provided) that you will probably run into. I’m going to assume that you have goals set up in Google Analytics, if not, then you should take a read of this article.

Please note that when I refer to a conversion, it’s the same thing as a goal.

Converting Keywords

The first thing we need to do is set up a custom report that allows you to drill down and extract the keywords that are leading to conversions. The process of doing this is as follows:

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account and navigate to your profile of choice.
  2. Select “Customization” in the orange bar, click on it and then select “+ New Custom Report”.
  3. Configure your custom report as per the example below and click the save button.

Google Custom Report

Time Saver: If you’re lazy, you’re welcome to click this link and it’ll automatically add the custom report above to your website profile on Google Analytics.

The screen that loads after you’ve saved the custom report shows you the sources of visitors who were converted on your website. You now want to click on the source of choice, “google” if it appears. Follow this by clicking on “organic” if it appears. (If neither “google” nor “organic” appear in the process, this means you haven’t had any conversions from people performing Google searches).

Now you’re left with a list of keywords that your converting customers searched for in Google. That’s incredibly useful information!

Getting Past the “(not provided)”

(not provided) appears instead of the keywords when a person that is logged into a Google service performs a search and arrives at your website. Google changed its privacy policy and decided that people logged into Google, their searches should remain private. But now what? We’ve created this custom report, but we can’t see what keywords people are looking for! No problem, here’s what you want to do:

  1. Look for “Secondary dimension” and click on it.
  2. Choose “Landing Page” from the list.
  3. Now, on the right of (not provided), you will see which pages your converting visitors arrived on.

From the landing page you might not be able to determine exactly which keyword a person searched for, but you could get an idea at least. For example, on our website there are a large number of (not provided)’s in our list, but when we add Landing Page as a secondary dimension, we can see that a large number of people landing on our SEO Services Page and we can therefore deduce that the keywords leading to a conversion revolve around topics such as “seo” or “seo cape town” or “cape town seo” and so forth, because those are the words we’re targeting on those pages.


This approach certainly doesn’t give you exactly which keywords are leading to conversions on your website, but it brings you as close as possible and assists you in understanding the nature of the keywords that are converting and through which areas of your website these conversions are taking place.

Invaluable information like this can be used to further your reach. For example, if we were getting conversions from people searching for “seo cape town”, for example, and when we Googled, “seo cape town” we saw that we were ranked in position 8, imagine how many conversions we’d get if we moved up to position 1, 2 or 3!  The beauty of this approach is that we know that these keywords are converting, so we’re not guessing – the rule of more traffic will lead to more conversions is more than likely going to fit.

Related: Keyword insights through landing page analysis.