The Death of Keyword Data?Written by Michael Levanduski
September 25, 2013 # 10:55 am # Industry News, Marketing Insights, Specials # 13 Comments
Many marketers who rely on search engines for traffic woke up from pleasant dreams, only to find themselves in the middle of a nightmare. Google has announced that they are expanding the secure search to all users (it was previously only with signed in and certain other searches). Searches which go through an HTTPS connection lose the keyword data associated with the search. This means when people do a Google search and end up on your site, you won’t be able to (easily) tell what keyword they typed into the search engine to get to you.
This keyword data is extremely valuable to many marketers who use it to optimize their site to attempt to get more traffic. It is also used to direct people to specific places based on the keywords they are coming in on. Site owners in the past could track which keywords were most likely to lead to sales or other desired actions, and take steps to attempt to improve their rankings on those keywords.
Needless to say, there are many benefits site owners will be losing if they can’t see where their traffic is coming from. When they log in to their Webmaster Tools or Analytics software, they will now see “Not Provided” for the vast majority of traffic coming from Google.
This trend started in 2011 when Google began adding SSL encryption to searches performed by people who were signed into Google. At that time, it only affected a small percentage of all searches, but it has been growing steadily. Just a few months ago the “Not Provided” result was up over 50% in some industries. Going forward it seems that “Not Provided” will account for almost all traffic coming from Google, unless they make some sort of change to allow the keyword to be passed through the secure connection.
How will this affect your business? What changes will you make to your SEO strategies?