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Does anyone know how to really use Google Analytics, to find search terms used?


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We have a really weird issue, where even Google cannot give me a straight answer.

We have GA setup on a site, and it's doing well.  But I want to see, of the traffic yesterday, or perhaps this morning, what search terms led someone to us.

So let's say we just had a call from a new client and they found us on Google.  Organically!!  (not Ads).

How do I go into GA and pull up a screen that shows this user used term "xxx xxx" in Google?



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  • 5 months later...

Organic search keywords are not passed to GA, ostensibly for "privacy" reasons.  In summary there is no way to get the keywords, nor the phrases used.  You might have some luck using the google search console, after you register your site with it.

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I could be remembering incorrectly, but I feel like this used to be available before google announced the move to GA4 and away from its Universal Analytics. In my experience, the move to GA4 made everything more complex, time consuming, and difficult. In my last job even extremely experienced data scientists were having trouble figuring out how to map and track user interactions, and this was after extensive meetings with the dev team about implementation.

This is probably a jaded and unfair opinion, but I feel like as long as a company/user has enough money, google will find a away to show them the data they're looking for.

Grumpy rant over...

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It's been an ongoing process by Google to remove search terms from these reports for while now.  They basically started replacing the actual keyword terms with "not provided".

I guess I inadvertently necro'd this old topic, but at least when search engines index this thread, we'll have some discussion of it now.

Google's documentation explicitly states that they stopped providing the keyword information, because it was a privacy issue, at the point that these searches were happening within the confines of SSL connections.  I've also seen SEO people who have opined that this decision also helps Google obfuscate the value of search terms since they make money selling placement, but that's just conjecture.  

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