Google’s “Not Provided” HTTPS Strangle Hold on Organic Search Tightens

Since 2010 search marketers have balked at the loss of analytical transparency provided by Google via keyword referral data as the search giant moved to enhance searcher privacy for logged in users. Kinda strange they didn’t follow suit with AdWords data. OK, OK, I digress. Current activity on Google Search indicates that Google may be closing the gap on visible Organic keyword referrals with a much heightened use of secured search results.

We Saw This Coming

Well, at least we did. Over the past months the amount of Not Provided referred traffic we have been monitoring have been in a continual growth trend.

not-provided-keyword-growth

For many Google Analytics accounts reviewed, the accelerated spike started happening in in the latter half of August. For a few example cases, the ratio of Not Provided traffic from July, the last 30 days, and the last week looked like:

When Will We See Keyword Blackout?

At a quick glance, as of this morning, Google Analytics Real-Time is still showing some insight in non-Not Provided data but the percentage of visible keyword data is worse than the trend indicated in the examples above. Aside from our perceptions noted above, the site http://www.notprovidedcount.com/ provided a similar doom to keyword referrals transparency as the Not Provided count according to their recent data is at 75% as of last week.

What Do We Do Now?

Aside from cursing Google or starting a analytical tactician revolution, we will likely have to concentrate our efforts on assessing data and success from different metrics. Rankings are very volatile and we do not know the CTR. For now, we still have Search Query data in Google Webmaster Tools as well as features in Adwords that shed light on assumed traffic from certain Organic keyword referrals.

What Are Other SEO Experts Saying?

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By Jordan Kasteler

Jordan has been working in SEO since near it’s infancy. With a web development and design background his skill set lends to technical SEO, and also exercising creative with such skills as content marketing. He has a history of entrepreneurship co-founding and serving positions in such companies as Internet marketing agencies Search & Social, BlueGlass, and SteelCast, a tech incubator housing several other self-started companies. His work experience ranges from in-house SEO at Overstock.com to agency-level digital marketing. Jordan writes for Vizion Interactive and is also an international digital marketing conference speaker, columnist, blogger, and book author of “A to Z: Social Media Marketing“. Jordan's Google Profile » Follow Jordan on Twitter »

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