Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Message Too Old, No Replies

Drop in keyword "Not Provided"



9:51 am on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi guys,

I have a website that's about 8 weeks old and has been doing ok.

I noticed that yesterday, our traffic really dropped off. We only got about 1/3 of normal traffic.

I investigated and it looks like the one difference is that the number of searches performed for keyword "Not Provided" is the culprit.
We usually get between 250-350 searches per day under that "keyword" but yesterday was just 102.

Has anyone else noticed this?

I find it strange as if it were a general decrease in search because of the grace given to new sites, I would expect the decrease to be across the board.

Does anyone have any ideas?



1:58 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Hi themistral,

I hope this is relevant: I find it is more likely that people in North America to be logged into Google while searching, resulting in a larger number of North Americans arriving with "Not Provided" than visitors from other parts of the world.

Perhaps your ranking has dropped for US-based searches but not for overseas versions?


2:35 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi Andem,

It also seems that our long tail keywords have bombed as well.
It would make sense that long tail would provide a significant portion of the "not provided" keyword.

We have a .co.uk domain and the site is hosted in the UK so I don't think your suggestion would really hit us. 82% of our traffic is from the UK.

I think this is all about the long tail and we have been hit for some reason...


2:39 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Perhaps Google now (after 8 weeks) has enough data to profile you. You could now be subject to personal search and query-intent matching.

If you're really lucky, you've only lost non-converting traffic. More likely, Google have been trading traffic for data, they have enough and now you are ranking on your on merits.


2:52 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Looking into this further, it seems like a load of US sites are showing up that weren't there before, and at least one of our competitors also seems to have disappeared for the same long tail searches.

Shaddows, I agree that maybe we are out of our grace period, but I would expect the loss to be the other way round. Lose our short tail rankings and keep the longtail...our short tail is fine - in fact, seems to have got better!


3:23 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Don't forget the other half of what I said. Google needed time to profile your site, and to confirm what query intent your site best served.

Another possible explanation along the same lines it that you have "graduated" from Long Tail obscurity to Fat Middle yuppiness.

In any case, your site is too young and its profile too immature to read very much into vagaries of referral shifts. Google is likely to profile and reprofile you as your place on the link graph becomes more defined, and semantic signals ramp up over time.

If you seek opinions on how long it takes before a site behaves "normally" in SERPs, you will get a variety of answers, but I've never seen anyone suggesting its less then 3 months. My impression was that 1 year seems to be a consensus opinion, but
a) that impression may be wrong (its not something I've been actively monitoring)


3:49 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi Shaddows,

Yes I have always believed it will take at least a year for Google to essentially take you seriously.
I've experienced the honeymoon period before but long tail has always survived and short tail bombed - so it's a bit weird to see this!

Thanks for your input - much appreciated!

Robert Charlton

6:59 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Google have been trading traffic for data

Shaddows - One of the more intriguing of your many helpful observations.

I find it is more likely that people in North America to be logged into Google while searching

Mobile is another group that would not return referrers. Might mobile searchers be a piece of the puzzle here, either as a subset of the North America searchers, or as a separate group in the UK?

Assuming that mobile might be implicitly geo-skewed, I'm grasping also at geo factors being a strong element in traffic shaping and trying to connect the dots. How might geo relate to other aspects of what's happening in this case, including the drop-off of long tail?


8:12 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks Robert,

I don't think mobile will be be a big factor here.

It's an ecom site and our users have the ability to list their own products.
This means that we of course get duplicate meta titles etc...maybe that's having an effect.

How do you get around duplicate meta titles that are created dynamically?


8:32 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I'm not sure I would want UGC Title elements on an ecom site, without a strong differentiation between sellers.

So a URL might look like

The Title element is one of the most important parts of a page- you should issue naming conventions and police them heavily.

There's the option of grouping several sellers on one page, under one product title (like Google Products), or you may be forced to go nuclear:
Seller| Convention-Compliant Product Title

Anyway, I'm heading way off topic here. Specifically focussed on the original question, your site is too young to worry about keyword distribution or trends. Luckily, it's youth also gives you an opportunity to quickly resolve issues WILL become a factor as your size increases.

I would strongly recommend starting a new thread for that if you need advice, as many potential contributors to that topic will no longer be viewing this thread.

Mod's note...
UGC discussion continues here... [webmasterworld.com...]

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:05 am (utc) on Sep 1, 2012]


Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month