In the latest SEO news, it’s gone and happened, comrades. Two years ago, Google began slowly decreasing the keywords and phrases in Google Analytics, and as of now, nearly 100% of all search activity for websites is encrypted. This includes masking keyword data even for those who aren’t signed in to their Google accounts. In other words, secure search is the default for everybody.
We teach keyword research in our SEO class at Search Engine Academy, and we’ll now have to update the course to reflect the ugly reality of having many, many keyword phrases hidden from our view.
Why is Google doing this? Depends upon who you ask. Google had this to say for Search Engine Land:
“We want to provide SSL protection to as many users as we can, in as many regions as we can — we added non-signed-in Chrome omnibox searches earlier this year, and more recently other users who aren’t signed in. We’re going to continue expanding our use of SSL in our services because we believe it’s a good thing for users….
The motivation here is not to drive the ads side — it’s for our search users.”
There’s speculation that this is a move on Google’s part to force more participation in Adwords, because clicks on ads will still show those specific keywords. I can totally believe that. Adwords has helped Google become the multi-billion dollar company we all know and don’t always love.
Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Chrome all now encrypt search data, and have been doing so for quite some time.
Others think this is a move to keep data from the National Security Agency. Mary, please. I was an intel analyst in another life, and if you think that this will keep the U.S. Intelligence agencies from getting what they want, think again. Recent news reports are saying that NSA has quite a few of the encryption keys for many secure functions. I do believe that. No, I think Google will have to cough if the NSA, CIA, FBI or whoever else wants their information sends them warrants, subpoenas, national security letters, etc.
That being said, the bottom line is we SEO professionals are now going to have to guess more than ever at what keywords we’re being denied.
Here are screenshots of web properties I have in my Google Analytics:
Going forward, what’s your keyword strategy going to be? Please share your thoughts in comments below.
Until next time, keep it between the ditches!
All the best to you,