Google Keyword Data Goes Missing Again, This Time From Webmaster Tools

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Encrypted search has been hard on SEO professionals and marketers. For two years, we've been hit with keywords "(not provided)" in Google Analytics. While the keyword data was still available in Google Webmaster Tools with impressions and click-throughs, it wasn't able to be tied directly to landing pages.

Now, it appears that Google Webmaster Tools is missing the keywords data, as well. At least, it doesn't appear query data has been recorded since last Monday, September 23.

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The following, while not confirmed to Search Engine Watch by Google, has been confirmed independently by several independent SEO professionals on dozens of sites.

This is the search queries report from Webmaster Tools in the Search Traffic section. The timeframe selected is the past week from September 22 through September 29. As you can see, there are data plots for two days – 22 and 23 – and no more data afterward.

This is further confirmed in Google Analytics:

If you tie your Webmaster Tools and Analytics accounts together, you can also view query data under Traffic Sources > Search Engine Optimization. If you use it, you likely also know Webmaster Tools data takes several days to copy to Analytics, hence the yellow warning. However, this graph clearly shows there has been no data inserted for an entire week.

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Historical query data isn't available in Google Analytics. Additionally, the dates for which query data are available don't line up between the two products. Webmaster Tools has data going back through July 2, 2013. Analytics query data goes back to June 23, 2013. Still, both have no more query data after September 23.

Search Engine Watch reached out to Google earlier today, asking if this was a new policy going forward, or if it is simply a bug. We are still awaiting a reply.

There has been discussion in the Google webmaster help forums on this topic.

"Thanks for posting, everyone!" wrote Google's John Mueller, a member of the Webmaster Tools team in Europe, Google Webmaster Central forum. "The team is aware of the problem and working on speeding that data back up again. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

UPDATE: Google confirmed this was a bug and said it has been fixed. See our followup story, "Google Fixes Webmaster Tools Bug, Missing Search Query Data to Return".

About the author

Thom is a seasoned techincal SEO and digital analytics veteran. His current role as VP of Development and IT at Internet Marketing Ninjas includes the improvement of internal processes, leading the creation and refinement of industry-leading tools across multiple brands.

Previously he was a premier independent consultant, held a a senior search position at nationally renown TopRank Online Marketing and led all digital web-related technology's at Rochester Institute of Technology's Saunders College of Business. He also led analytics strategy efforts for the university's mobile initiative.

Part of the ClickZ Academy faculty, Thom has also taught for several well-respected colleges and universities. He is a regular speaker at ClickZ Live events and is a veteran of TEDx as well.