The Twitterverse has been buzzing about Google Analytics’ decision to encrypt all organic search. Now their “not provided” results are moving as high as 100%.
The ion Leap website currently shows 81% of searches as encrypted. Other webmasters are reporting similar percentages. In other words, we’re flying blind.
If you use Analytics to understand and enhance your website traffic, you’ve been seeing the number of visible searches on key phrases shrink while those entitled “not provided” slowly grew. At first, these “not provided” searchers were only those signed in to Gmail while they searched.
Google claims they’ve done this to provide “extra protection” for the web searching public. Perhaps they’re being honest about that, but they’re severely hurting businesses who want to improve their ranking on particular search phrases.
We’ve all been limping along for over a year now, studying 50% or less of our visible key phrases, as Google left the reason for this unexplained. Search Engine Land has a great writeup on the issue. They think it’s happening because (a) Google is trying to protect us from the NSA, or (b) Google is attempting to make a ton of money in Adwords. They’re still allowing understanding of key phrases if you pay for them. I guess privacy doesn’t matter if money is involved.
As you might imagine, SEO companies are freaking out. Content marketing agencies should also be concerned. A large part of what we do is write great blog postings using key phrases to achieve high ranking in organic search. While that is not coming to an end, we won’t have the same data to guide our efforts.
In the comments to his article, Danny Sullivan proposed an interesting solution to the security concern: if every single website move to full security (you’d show https:// instead of http:// ) then Google could go back to passing search data to companies who practice organic search marketing.
Now great content, marketed using social media, is more important than ever
At ion Leap, we’ve always attempted to create the best content possible. Epic content. That’s not easy for smaller companies. But with inventive approaches we’ve found ways. The main thing is to make your website useful, informative, and fun for your prospective customers.
Google’s Hummingbird release was not accidentally timed
Google’s latest release is yet another effort to make content and search more natural. Now a Google search will return more intelligent results based on a closer approximation to the way humans think. Humans don’t think in perfect key phrase structures.
Therefore, your content had better stop focusing on just key phrases and more on being wonderfully useful. Social sharing will be more important than ever.