As we all know by now, as long as you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few years, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is dramatically different from its predecessor, Universal Analytics (GA3). While it offers many benefits, such as machine learning-powered insights and extensive control over privacy settings, it has left all SEOs scrambling to adapt to a significant change: the lack of organic keyword data. Let’s delve into how we can get that turned around!
Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 does not provide the ‘Organic Keywords’ report and omits the ‘Keyword’ dimension. This is a significant shift for SEOs, as keyword data is pretty much what we live and breathe.
In search marketing, keywords are more than just words; they’re vital data points that provide valuable insights into your audience’s interests and intentions. You want to know which keywords drive the most traffic, are worth targeting and bidding on, and direct the most traffic to a specific landing page. In essence, it’s all about tracking the ranking of your keywords, conducting keyword research, and correlating keyword data with website usage data and conversion data.
Don’t let Google get you down, though! There are still several ways to gather keyword data in Google Analytics 4. Here are some methods that you might like:
Method 1: Utilize a Tool like ‘Keyword Hero’
Keyword Hero is a third-party tool designed to work around the “not provided” issue in Google Analytics. It uses a mix of data sources and machine learning algorithms to match keywords with sessions in GA, thereby providing more in-depth keyword data. By integrating a tool like Keyword Hero, you can collect and analyze more keyword data in your GA4 property.
Method 2: Link Google Search Console to your GA4 property
The first method involves harnessing the power of Google Search Console. By linking your Search Console account to your GA4 property, you can access search console reports directly from GA4. These reports contain essential information about the performance of your website in Google’s organic search results, such as clicks, impressions, and click-through rates (CTR) for various search queries.
Method 3: Use Search Console BigQuery Export
While Google Search Console offers useful data, it has limitations. The organic keywords data provided by its user interface is confined, allowing access to only the top 1,000 queries per site. However, there’s a workaround to unlock millions of new organic search keywords – the Search Console Bulk Data Export feature.
By exporting your Search Console data to Google BigQuery, you can bypass these limitations and access a more extensive set of data. This method enables you to analyze your data at a granular level, providing comprehensive insights into your search performance.
In conclusion, while GA4 may no longer offer the same level of keyword referral data as Universal Analytics, it’s certainly not the end of the road for keyword analysis. By linking your Google Search Console to GA4, utilizing tools like Keyword Hero, and using Search Console BigQuery export, you can still extract vital organic search keyword data to guide your SEO and SEM strategies.
Niels Krikke is the Corporate Marketing Manager for Seeders Group, managing all marketing and communication efforts for all Seeders offices across the globe. Niels’s specializations include branding, copywriting & SEO.