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(Not Provided) Here to Stay – Google Encrypts All Keyword Searches

A day that many SEO and analytics ninjas feared has finally arrived. That annoying (not provided) line in Google Analytics is going to get bigger and bigger thanks to Google’s decision to encrypt all keyword searches. Originally the (not provided) line only appeared in Google Analytics when users were signed in to a Google property; that is no longer the case.

Search Engine Land reached out to Google and received the following report:

“We added SSL encryption to our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users not signed in.”

Let’s put a few things on the table:

  • This affects everyone using Google Analytics.
  • This does not affect Bing and Yahoo searches; they will still provide keyword data.

    • Our friends at comScore report having about 67% of the search market share, Bing having 18% and Yahoo coming in third at 11%. A myriad of other search engines account for the other 4%.

  • This change to (not provided) only affects organic searches. Paid search will still provide a wealth of keyword data. If you are using a Google AdWords campaign make sure that it is linked to your Google Analytics account.

    • Conspiracy theorists believe that this is a move for Google to generate more revenue through pushing people into paid search. Only Google knows that at this point.

  • This is not the end of the world!

Google Not Provided

How Does This Impact a Canadian Car Dealer?

Well, you no longer have keyword data from the largest search engine in the world – that kind of sucks. The reality is that SEO is about great content focused on specific topics in the industry. There are still a number of ways that we can track SEO success at the page or URL level. We can still monitor the amount of traffic that is coming to your site and relate it back to your content strategy.

Moving forward, make sure that you do the following:

  1. Link your Google AdWords account to your Google Analytics account
  2. Focus on generating great content around your dealership and the industry
  3. Measure SEO success at the page level, not the keyword level

Google Analytics, Google Tools, Performance Metrics

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