In the world of search engine optimization, tracking keyword phrases is a very important part of gauging your digital marketing success. So what happens when you can’t track them on Google?
…We’re about to find out.
Google recently put a big limit on specific keyword data access. The corporation announced that all of its search queries will now be encrypted, which means that when a person searches for a product or service on Google and clicks into a website, businesses can’t see which keyword phrase the person used to find it. They also can’t pinpoint the visitors who use Google to enter the website. Instead, they’ll see a result that says “not provided.”
The Rise of “Not Provided”
Google began using encrypted searches back in 2011, however, they only affected those who were signed into Google. This encryption protected the user’s privacy and soon expanded globally. After that, it began including people who searched in Firefox and Apple’s Safari browsers. Now, no matter where you log into Google, it will direct you to an HTTPS address and your search will be encrypted.
In an article from Search Engine Land, Google said:
“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.”
All this encryption news probably isn’t what you want to hear, but there is an exception to the rule… The encryption only applies to organic searches, which means that keyword phrases for Google AdWords can still be tracked through Google Analytics. The negative is that you are going to have to pay for each of the clicks through Google AdWords, when this data used to be free for organic.
What to Do
Even though you can’t track specific keyword phrases, you can still collect keyword phrase data from Bing and Yahoo. You can use the Google Webmaster Tools keyword phrase data, however you won’t be able to tie the searches to conversions or other metrics. You can also continue to rely on overall organic statistics to help determine whether your digital marketing efforts are working or not.