Meaning of "Keyword Unavailable" in Traffic Sources reports

In Traffic Sources reports, "Keyword Unavailable" indicates that the search provider did not include search keywords in the referrer information sent to your site. This line item preserves natural search engine data, even though the keyword cannot be obtained.

Google: In October 2011, Google made an update to remove search keywords for all users who are logged in to their Google account. In September 2013, this update expanded to all natural search queries.

Yahoo: In March 2014, Yahoo made an update to remove search keywords from all natural search queries. Additionally, Yahoo also removed market and locale information from the referrer, so entries such as "Yahoo! - Japan", "Yahoo! - Brazil", and so on no longer appear and traffic to these locales is aggregated with the "Yahoo!" item in reports.

Adobe continues to provide accurate insights for the paid and natural search channels by analyzing the data sent to your site by the search provider. Adobe makes every effort to work with Google, Yahoo, and other search providers in understanding and communicating changes to referrer data availability.

Keyword Unavailable in paid search

These policy changes to remove keywords from natural searches are not intended to impact paid search. However, Adobe has observed a small subset of instances where Google paid search click-throughs have stopped reporting keywords. Because the keyword query string does not contain a value, it displays as "Keyword Unavailable" in paid search keyword reports.

Properties of Keyword Unavailable

  • Several capabilities (such as report builder) use the value empty for Keyword Unavailable. Use empty for data filters and segmentation to include or exclude this data.
  • Because all of natural searches across these search engines are affected, percentage trends between keywords are affected minimally (though traffic for each keyword is decreased).
  • When Google made this update in October 2011, the empty keyword query string caused these searches to appear as referrals from instead of Natural Search. This impacted reports for approximately three weeks while an update was developed and implemented.
  • When Yahoo made this update in March 2014, searches from Yahoo were not correctly identified. It resulted in a drop in the number of Yahoo searches reported. This impacted reports for approximately three weeks while an update was developed and implemented.

Additional resources

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