In October 2011 Google began encrypting (over https) searches for all users logged into Google. The reason given was “privacy”. Google wanted to protect users’ identity as some users may have been searching for sensitive (read porn) data.
It was at this time we began seeing (not provided) in our search traffic reports. A 3 year old website I run shows (not provided) making up 1.92% (138 searches) of all search traffic from 1 to 30 November 2011. If you had looked at your keywords for the month of November 2011, you wouldn’t have paid much attention to this statistic.
Roll forward a few months. From 1 to 30 May 2012 (not provided) made up 13.29% (1150 searches) of all searches on the same website. That’s a significant jump.
Roll forward some more. From 1 to 31 January 2013, (not provided) made up 25.16% (4974 searches) of all searches on the site. It was climbing steadily wasn’t it.
Finally, let’s look at the stats of the current month, September 1 to 27, 2013.
The encrypted (not provided) searches make up a whopping 73.62% (15,426 searches) of all searches on my website!
Not only is this a colossal rise over the 2 years since Google began encrypting search data, it no longer constitutes only encrypted searches of logged in Google users.
Google has announced it is making all searches encrypted from this month onwards. That means we can say goodbye to organic keyword data analysis (I am looking at you Estibot.com and Valuate.com). I should in fact be looking at all of us that use the term domaining or domainers to describe what we do. This news means no more using search data as one of the parameters to estimate a domain name’s worth!
A few days ago search engine land asked Google what prompted this move.
We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.
Either way, this development will definitely impact all SEO at the organic keyword level. And that means domainers will be affected too.
Note: If however you primarily focus on PPC traffic or referral traffic then you need not worry as much.
I’d love to hear thoughts on the matter. Please use the form below if you want to leave a comment.