By Darrell Long | Director of SEO Innovation
As most digital marketers have seen, the amount of organic search traffic data missing search queries (keywords) in their web analytics has been steadily increasing each month since Google’s initial encryption of searches back in October 2011. Specifically, what occurred was Google prevented the search terms, of anyone logged into a Google account while searching, from passing through to a website’s analytics. The result was (not provided) being displayed in the place of actual keywords in organic search traffic reports. This meant that keyword level performance analyses could no longer include all data, but rather a sample set of those organic visits that did pass through keyword-level data.
As more and more consumers adopted Google products, such as Gmail, Google + and Chrome, the percentage of encrypted search data has steadily risen because a higher percentage of those searching are logged into a Google account. This made the sample size of organic data even smaller, thus making it even more difficult to report on and analyze organic search activity. There was still the ability, however, to make informed assumptions based on the sample data that was not encrypted.
This month, there was a dramatic increase of encrypted search data that was found as a result of Google’s decision to begin encrypting data for all users, not just those who are signed in. As this implementation progresses, it is expected that in Q4 of this year, there will be no keyword data reported from Google organic search traffic. This will of course have a tremendous impact on the entire search marketing industry, not only as far as how success is measured, but also how strategy is derived and opportunities are identified. A sample set of keyword data will no longer be available, so marketers must leverage alternate means of analyzing performance of the organic search channel and building their strategies to continuously improve that performance.
This POV will look at the implications and challenges posed by this new paradigm of how organic search data is reported, as well as what steps should be taken to continue search marketing efforts using data that is available.
- Keyword-level organic search analytical data will no longer be available for Google searches.
- Page-level performance analysis will help replace keyword-level analyses.
- Third party tools can help fill in the gaps left by Google’s keyword encryption
Download the POVto learn how search marketing campaigns and keyword level data will be affected as a result of Google’s impending changes.