A day we all feared would come eventually came.
SEO experts from around the globe had been dreading and anticipating this turn of events, some saying that it was “inevitable”. Nearly 2 years ago now, Google started to encrypt some of its signed-in search data and that’s when it all began. The ‘not provided’ virus spread from there.
Now Google has cut off its keyword data all together. The searches performed by Google have all been switched over to encrypted searches using HTTPS – meaning that site owners are not be able to see any keyword data.
Although unwelcomed, this has not come as a surprise to many SEO firms and personnel; however for small and medium business owners the impact has been far greater. Without keyword data, site owners are not able to segment specific users within their web analytics software, meaning a lot of crucial information for marketing strategies is missing.
When questioned about this, Google commented:
"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."
In September, BrightEdge released a study which found that the percentage of ‘not provided’ data exceeded 50% for some industries. But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are a few methods and ideas floating around the web that are aiming to cure the ‘not provided’ virus for instance by using Webmaster Tools.