Google Encrypts All Keyword Data

The other shoe has dropped. Google has announced it will no longer supply any keyword data on web traffic searches. This move has been positioned as a way to further protection for Google users. Whatever the reason it is sure to cause pain to marketers.


The switch means that all searches will now be by encrypted using HTTPS and no keyword data will be passed on to site owners. Without keyword search data, site owners will not be able to track or segment keywords using web analytics software.

Search Engine Watch reached out to Google for an explanation as to what fueled this move. Here’s what a Google spokesperson had to say, “We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”

Let’s look back at the sequence of events that led to this point.

In May 2010, Google announced its first foray into encrypted search. Then in October 2011, any Google user who logged in started to see their searches encrypted. This was positioned as a privacy policy aimed at protecting their users. At the time, Google estimated that only 10% of searches would be impacted by this new privacy setting. Results from those searches would show up as “not provided” visits in analytics. Over the past two years, the encrypted search umbrella was expanded to include more and more searches until it was estimated that as many as 50% of all searches were coming up as “not provided.”

Google will still provide keyword data for ad clicks. This is leaving many to speculate that this is the reason for the total encryption…forced use of Google AdWords. Whatever the reason, marketers will certainly loose access to all their organic keyword data.

Yahoo and Bing still provide keyword data. Recent reports show that Google retains 67% of the search market with Bing in second place at 18% and Yahoo coming in third with 11%.

Do you have questions about how encrypted search will affect your business? To learn more about keyword analysis and the effects of Google’s encryption strategy, please call Qiigo at (404) 496-6841.

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