Keyword not defined

All of a sudden my most common key word is “Keyword not defined”. I read the explanation that some search engines don’t disclose the search term for confidentiality reasons. I really don’t understand what this means. What possible confidentiality issue could be violated by anonimously listing the key word searched on. And, why has this started in the last couple of days…

This all sounds goofey. What is really going on here?

It is no goofey but googley. Google now does NOT pass the keyword for all logged in users, for privacy reasons. more information in Group all Google search SSL unknown keywords under "Keyword not defined" · Issue #2718 · matomo-org/matomo · GitHub

I certainly understand that this is not a Piwik issue. However, I think Google is up to something. As a licensed psychologist, by law, I have to be well versed and dilligent about confidentiality. And, I cannot figure out how “Keyword not defined” can be justified by them as protecting confidentialty.

There is something fishy here that Google does not want to disclose.


There is nothing fishy. Google has a huge monopoly on Search and they do whatever they want.

However, in this case, it is a good thing because respecting user privacy is very important. It does suck for marketers and webmasters, but there are much worse things to come, such as the will from government to control the Free Internet.

As long as the keywords are also not available in google analytics, then it is nothing fishy and in fact I think it’s a good thing, since we really like privacy at Piwik

Obviously, I like privacy too, but please explain to me how this enhances privacy. The data is not attached to any individual. So whose privacy is being protected? Likely, I am just confused and thus I would appreciate a bit of education. I’m not trying to be argumentative. I just don’t get it.

I’m also worried about the threat to the free Internet, as well as a lot of other freedoms that are rapidly being infringed upon. I guess I’m really concerned that under the guise of confidentiality of unknown people, freedom of information is being infringed upon. I would think that more transparency, not less, would be what we should strive for. But then again, I just may not get what’s going on.


Search keywords are tied to the IP address of individuals. With Piwik, you can see the IP and the keyword/referrer used by your visitors. Sometimes, keywords can contain sensitive / private information (since they are like a “brain/mind dump”).

Of course google still knows these keywords and use them to enrich the user profile, but they don’t share it with the world anymore.

Your response is very informative… for a geek-want-to-be.

As true as what you say is, my paranoid self tells me that Google’s real motivation will turn out to be that they have figured out how to sell something that they used to give away.

I really don’t use the keyword information for any Seo or other webmaster purpose. My site does plenty good the way it is. My inquiry was really driven by my paranoid intellectual curiosity rather than an Seo or other profit motive

Thanks Larry

I happen to agree with Dr. Weathers. I think that Google knows it’s in the driver’s seat as far as internet searches goes and is willing to do anything to remain there. It seems like it’s just one more way to cut out the competition in the name of privacy.

Google has the information and will use it in any of their products like Analytics. But when it comes to allowing others to share it they are protecting their position. They want to make it much harder for others like Piwik to get accurate useful information.

As far as the IP address goes, there are several if not hundreds of people all with the same IP address, so the person who typed in the search term really isn’t identified personally. Additionally, Google has captured the information and would reveal it to any governmental agency that says they want it. So it’s really not that private anyway.

I am delighted to hear that the legal side of the house agrees with me. I think Google will end up selling this information back to us in some repackaged, markup form.


Google has the information and will use it in any of their products like Analytics.

GA does not contain the visitors keywords, they are also marked as “not provided” in the keywords report.

Just last week I installed piwik hoping to solve this very issue :S

Matt – I agree we should take internet privacy very seriously, but Google passes me the search term of a logged in google user if they click one of my PPC links. Do you see the irony?

I’m wondering if there is any customization we can make to piwik that could give us this information? Do you guys have any thoughts on this… Is it even worth looking into creating something to pull this data? I work with a SEO and Marketing team and they would find this information very valuable.

  • Kevin

Here’s my take on this.

We as Publishers are supplying Google tons of free information about our visitor, our websites and our businesses via Google Search Engine, Google Analytics and Google AdSense.

Now Google Analytics has decided to cut us the publishers out from seeing vital keyword information that we use to improve our websites for our visitors. BUT Google gets to see and keep all the information for their data mining projects.

My response to Google Analytics was to remove 50+ websites from them and started using PIWIK. Within 2 hours of starting to deleting website out of the Analytics account, Google Adsense made me re-verify my tax information. Coincidence? Maybe. Within 45 day 30 of my websites were hacked. 10 days later 25 were completely deleted from the webservers, maybe another Coincidence.

Google, Twitter and Facebook are doing more spying on internet user than people realize. I recommend removing all Google code, Facebook “Like” and “Follow” Twitter buttons off your websites. Because we as publishers are giving our information but also our visitors information to these big data mining corporations basically for free. They make billions we get some crumbs and now only some keyword crumbs.

Wow WebRanger1 !

Give me a minute to close my blinds, lock the door, and hide my kids hide my wife…

Ok, back. What about if I’ve got my site on tumblr? Or some other hosted solution like Shopify that does not allow me to install things Piwik?

  • Kev

Did a quick check, i believe “Keyword not defined” is sent through if they use

Yep! I also noticed other services get disrupted with SSL. (My chrome extension for boxee fails on sites with https).

With regards to the search terms, does anyone have ideas how to capture this? We get some vague information from web master tools, but other than that I’m at a loss.

I just read, that Google just applyed it, even for non logged in users.
So … webmasters will never see again what people searched for (via https)?

Oh dude, this would be rough… I mean now we gotta get a solution right?

Do we?
I searched for it but couldn’t find any solution on it …

I seem to have read somewhere (but I can’t remember where) that Google does not provide the search keywords IF (and only if) the link is plain HTTP. However, if the link is HTTPS, you would have received the keywords.

To put it more simply:
Google user on HTTPS -> HTTP link => keywords hidden
Google user on HTTPS -> HTTPS link => keywords disclosed.

If that were true, the solution would be to go the SSL way. This needs to be confirmed though.

EDIT I learnt from this page that some ISPs used to sniff the searches performed by users in order to insert their own ads into Google’s search pages… I can only agree with Google even if this were their real motive and they hid it behind privacy concerns./EDIT

Does anyone know if the ‘keyword not defined’ applies to the keywords clicked from google adwords campaigns?