This is an important Google and SEO-update that I think might be of interest for anyone working with digital marketing. As of today, nearly 80% of all searches on Google are hidden behind “Keyword not provided”.

What has happened?

Google has started encrypting all keyword data from search, meaning that your business will slowly lose information on what queries were used to reach your website. This is the case in all analytics tools, both SiteCatalyst, Google Analytics, Webtrends, Coremetrics, Unica, HitsLink, VisiStat etc.

Google Analytics showing how visits are increasing from "Not provided"
Google Analytics showing how visits are increasing from ”Not provided”

If you don’t know what keywords were used to find your website, how will that affect your Search analysis?

What can I do?

You shouldn’t feel left in the dark. You can still measure and use search data:

  • If you use Google AdWords for marketing, connect AdWords with Google Analytics, and you will be able to use that data for keyword research.
  • It is still possible to tell how much traffic your website is getting from organic search. Although you might not know the exact keywords, you can still correlate the work you do to optimize you site and create content to increase organic traffic.

What’s positive?

  • This update will encourage you to stop analyzing visits from single keywords and to focus on your share of organic traffic. Did you know that 20% of all search queries have never been googled before? Also, don’t forget that people use phrases more than single keywords.
  • Other search engines like Bing and Yahoo will continue to pass along keyword data. At present Bing has 18%, and Yahoo 11% market share
  • You will still be able to follow your Page Rank (positions on Google) using Google Analytics or tools like Gserp.com

In summary: Personally I am not concerned, because Keyword Statistics do not provide insights that would change the search strategy for the company I work for.

How do you feel about the update?