Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog post about how Google’s SSL encryption was impacting keyword analytics. At the time, Google was encrypting search data from users logged into their Google accounts and estimating it would impact about 10 percent of search data. We performed our own analysis at Kuno and saw results more in the 15–50 percent range.
Fast forward to now, and Google has taken this a step forward and made encrypted search the default for all search data, regardless of whether a user is logged into a Google account or not, effectively hiding keywords for all Google-based searches from marketers’ website analytics. <Insert record scratch here>
My colleague Patrick gave us a rundown of all of the recent Google changes, including the Hummingbird algorithm update and the broadening of encrypted search and what he thinks it means for the short- and long-term future. Here, I take a look at the year-over-year impact from some actual websites.
Website A: 12-Month Trend, (Not Provided) Traffic
Notice the steady increase over the last 12 months in traffic coming from (not provided) keywords. This can be attributed to a number of factors I touched on last year, and it looks like all of those trends continued. What we see here is a significant increase in September 2013, when Google officially pulled the trigger on encrypting all search data.
Let’s look at another example.
Website B: 12-Month Trend, (Not Provided) Traffic
Here, we see an even greater contrast over the last 12 months, suggesting Google was rolling this change out slowly rather than flipping a switch in September.
Old habits die hard. We were used to having greater control over rank and now Google has punched a giant hole in the actionable data we were accustomed to having. It’s tempting to cling to any remaining remnants of SEO, but I would advise marketers to move on and focus on things you can truly control:
We’re all in this together, marketers. What is your take on the latest updates from Google? What advice would you give to other marketers to adapt? How do you feel about losing so much keyword data? Leave a comment below!
Photo Credit: wwworks
With a decade of marketing experience, Meghan Sullivan is a Senior Consultant at Kuno Creative and is passionate about developing and executing inbound marketing strategies for her clients. When sheís not doing that, sheís probably curled up on the couchwith her dog and iPad, or exploring Clevelandís incredible food scene. Connect with Meghan on Twitter or LinkedIn.