Google to encrypt ALL keyword searches

by GGpaul
65 replies
  • SEO
  • |
Not sure if this was posted, and I'm sure some or a lot of you are aware.

Post-PRISM, Google Confirms Quietly Moving To Make All Searches Secure, Except For Ad Clicks

Here's some of the info
"In the past month, Google quietly made a change aimed at encrypting all search activity -- except for clicks on ads. Google says this has been done to provide "extra protection" for searchers, and the company may be aiming to block NSA spying activity. Possibly, it's a move to increase ad sales. Or both. Welcome to the confusing world of Google secure search. Two Years Ago: Secure Searching For Logged-In Users

In October 2011, Google began encrypting searches for anyone who was logged into Google. The reason given was privacy. Google said it wanted to block anyone who might potentially be eavesdropping on a string of searches made by an individual and also prevent the actual search terms themselves from being seen by publishers, as some of them might be too "private" to reveal.
This Month: Secure Searching Being Made Default For Everyone

Now, Google has flipped on encryption for people who aren't even signed-in. When asked about this last week, Google confirmed the shift, saying:
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.
I sent a series of follow-up questions to Google after getting that statement and am still waiting for a response to them, so I'll update as I hear more. Is this worldwide? How soon until it happens for everyone?
A Sudden Change

One key question is "Why so suddenly?," what prompted Google to make such a change out of the blue. And it was sudden.
When searches are encrypted, search terms that are normally passed along to publishers after someone clicks on their links at Google get withheld. In Google Analytics, the actual term is replaced with a "Not Provided" notation.
Over the past two years, the percentage of search terms as "not provided" has increased as Mozilla's Firefox in July 2012, Apple's Safari browser in iOS 6 in September 2012 and Google's own Chrome browser in January 2013 have used encrypted search, even when people aren't signed in at Google.
That's lead to a steady increase but not giant leap in "not provided" activity. But in the past month, the increased encryption on Google's side has produced a dramatic spike:"
#80% #analytics #coming #dark #data #dead #encrypt #encrypted #encrypted search #game #google #keyword #longer #made #make #normal #provided #providing #search #searches #secure #secured #terms #tracking
  • Profile picture of the author smodha
    Hey WF,

    I've not been around for a while (making my money using FB PPC now). I saw an interesting article today. Google is going to encrypt ALL keyword data using SSL. This includes signed-in/non signed-in users.

    Is this the end of ranking KWs for SEO - I think so...

    Google to Encrypt ALL Keyword Searches: Say Goodbye to Keyword Data
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  • Profile picture of the author GGpaul
    Because we can't get any data from Google doesn't mean SEO is dead.

    If you were to type in weight loss in the search engine you will get results. And what do you do? Click on the link. That's not dead. People will always use the search engines to look for a solution or any information.
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  • Profile picture of the author coreyhammond
    The data in webmaster tools is garbage most of the time. I just had to say SEO is dead, it will be a lot harder to gauge the effectiveness. How do you tell which keywords to continue optimizing for if you don't see the traffic on the backend? Its just like PPC, you see what keywords drive traffic, which ones convert, and continue putting money behind them. Without that proper data, it will be harder to gauge the ROI IMO.
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  • Profile picture of the author netanel23
    Sweet! More people that are gonna quit SEO for good.

    More opportunity for the rest of us.

    SEO IS DEAD! RANT ON PEOPLE!
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  • Profile picture of the author bhartzer
    Some of the data will be available in Google Webmaster Tools, and I believe they're going to be allowing you to get a year's worth of data there, not just the last 90 days.
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  • Profile picture of the author jinx1221
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  • Profile picture of the author markowe
    I have sites where MOST of the incoming keywords have been unknown to me for over a year now, real pain, but at least you could extrapolate based on the keywords you DID get to see. Looks like the game is set to change again. Bring it on!
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  • Profile picture of the author SEODollz
    This just means folks will stop being able to identify longtails that are pulling in traffic on accident and then build those out. I know which keywords I am targeting on any given page, so it becomes a matter of which pages are converting which is how it should be anyways IMO, research first then build it.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by SEODollz View Post

      This just means folks will stop being able to identify longtails that are pulling in traffic on accident and then build those out. I know which keywords I am targeting on any given page, so it becomes a matter of which pages are converting which is how it should be anyways IMO, research first then build it.
      You can't possibly know/research every single traffic keyword phrase in a niche before building a site.

      Incoming search phrases are very useful.

      The whole point of collecting data is to use that data to your advantage (ex: build out longtail keywords/pages).
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      • Profile picture of the author SEODollz
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        You can't possibly know/research every single traffic keyword phrase in a niche before building a site.

        Incoming search phrases are very useful.

        The whole point of collecting data is to use that data to your advantage (ex: build out longtail keywords/pages).
        Of course I can't say it's not a loss but conversion is still quantifiable and that's the end game right? It just means more testing, survival of the fittest. Not necessarily a bad thing, raises the bar for entry.
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        • Profile picture of the author yukon
          Banned
          Originally Posted by SEODollz View Post

          Of course I can't say it's not a loss but conversion is still quantifiable and that's the end game right? It just means more testing, survival of the fittest. Not necessarily a bad thing, raises the bar for entry.
          I agree about throttling new competition, I still say the longtails are golden.

          I've been building a database of my top 3,000 traffic keywords for well over a year, now I don't go checking all those keyword positions in the SERPs but I do check SERP position on keywords that have a steady history of bringing in traffic. If I have a longtail bringing in 100 traffic a month at position #9 in Google SERPs (example), I want my page ranked #1 in Google SERPs for the same longtail.

          It doesn't matter to me If traffic entered my page via the root keyword or some longtail, I still want the traffic.
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          • Profile picture of the author nik0
            Banned
            They are kind of forcing you to use Google Webmasters.

            When I check Statcounter about 80% of the keywords are censored.
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            • Profile picture of the author yukon
              Banned
              Originally Posted by nik0 View Post

              They are kind of forcing you to use Google Webmasters.

              When I check Statcounter about 80% of the keywords are censored.
              GWT isn't much of an option considering it still doesn't show all the data, plus GWT is slow at updating.
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          • Profile picture of the author SEODollz
            Originally Posted by yukon View Post

            I agree about throttling new competition, I still say the longtails are golden.
            Of course having that data is better than not having that data, nobody can deny that but Google took it away so now it's a matter of who can still hang in this game without it? The way I see it there are several paths to take:

            1) Build based on keyword research, test test test. use conversion rates to measure the efficacy of your keyword targeting.
            2) Use numbers from bing and yahoo to get an idea of longtails you might be able to build upon.
            3) Move to PPC.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by SEODollz View Post

      This just means folks will stop being able to identify longtails that are pulling in traffic on accident and then build those out. I know which keywords I am targeting on any given page, so it becomes a matter of which pages are converting which is how it should be anyways IMO, research first then build it.
      Precisely. I really don't know what everyone else is talking about. This is a minor inconvenience not a game changer. By all means everyone quit SEO .

      I still know the keywords I am targeting. I can still see my positions for those keywords and I still have my traffic stats. As my serp positions increase I can map it to my traffic and know whether its working

      will I be able to micromanage on long tails? No but if I have done exhaustive keyword research and track my serps for those then I have whats happening with most of them anyway in the serps. So I miss some terms that drive a few visits per month - big whoop.

      Only thing I can see i will do different is that i will up the keywords I track - Thats it. For my clients its probably a net gain. They get to see a wide range of keywords they are benefiting from me increasing visibility on - instead of concentrating only on the main keyword they want to rank for.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        By the way....lol that this has to do with Prism. It doesn't. This is Google trying to push businesses to buy adwords to target particular keywords. Prism has the ability to read your query before it even reaches Google so Google encrypting it afterwords is garbage for privacy.

        The dead giveaway is that the data will be available through your adwords account. :rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author GGpaul
    Btw, I didn't name the title with Game over. Smodha did. So I'm going to rename it now, since moderators combined my thread to his and I ended up being the first post.
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  • Profile picture of the author tritrain
    Google used is increasingly removing any and all methods that it can think of for people to game the search results.

    Mark my words, eventually linkbuilding will be a thing of the past. Google will no longer publically share how each page in the index is doing (goodbye PageRank). They've already pulled the Keyword Tool from public view (now must be signed into Adwords account).

    I think all of this is to increase the quality of the search results, while at the same time keeping as much information to themselves.
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    • Profile picture of the author CleverFoxy
      Originally Posted by tritrain View Post

      Mark my words, eventually linkbuilding will be a thing of the past. Google will no longer publically share how each page in the index is doing (goodbye PageRank).
      Pagerank hasn't updated since February, I believe. I don't expect it to update ever again.
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  • Profile picture of the author igl0w
    they want to kill seo big time good i keep logs!
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  • Profile picture of the author TheAdsenseGuy
    Question--

    Ok i get that we won't be able to see from which keywords our visitors came from.

    But is the keyword planner tool going away or isn't it? Will we still be able to get monthly search data for keywords. The articles were nebulous on that.
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  • Profile picture of the author submitinme
    SEO is NOT dead. It has evolved yet again. As the dust settles, we will find new strategies coming up. So, now it's not the game of "so-called seos". We are in for a complete new perspective of SEO. Conversion tracking is one of the strategies that will do good.
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  • Profile picture of the author mijagi
    It's not like everyone is using Google for search. You can still get keyword ideas from other search engines...
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  • Profile picture of the author nicktyler
    Google are trying to force people into paid search to get their KW data. We will just have to earn how to apply it effectively to SEO. They are not a charity and want you to pay for it. As we know what Google wants Google gets.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by 7Dorian View Post

      This does change the face of SEO. Bing still has a keyword tool, so all is not yet lost. It will take a few weeks to realize the full implications, but SEOs will figure out a creative way to adapt.
      Keyword tools have nothing to do with this.

      Originally Posted by tritrain View Post

      They've already pulled the Keyword Tool from public view (now must be signed into Adwords account).
      Big deal. You just sign in and you have access to all the data. I don't understand why people think that is an issue.

      Originally Posted by TheAdsenseGuy View Post

      Question--

      Ok i get that we won't be able to see from which keywords our visitors came from.

      But is the keyword planner tool going away or isn't it? Will we still be able to get monthly search data for keywords. The articles were nebulous on that.
      This has nothing to do with the Keyword Planner. The Keyword Planner will never go away.
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  • Profile picture of the author udyotsolutions
    Never rely only on SEO anyways. Keep working on other factors like PPC, FB ads, etc..
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  • Profile picture of the author GGpaul
    Sup Mike Anthony. I haven't seen you in a minute.
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  • Profile picture of the author tyalfie
    Google has not showing keyword data in google analytic? How to Resolve this probelm?
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul200
    This is going to hurt SEO big time

    Google will no longer provide search term data for keywords

    Google has said that it would be encrypting all data regardless of whether a user was signed in or not, which means you will no longer get any search term data at all which will have a huge impact on SEO.

    The mighty Googles Matt Cutt has also said that Press submissions are on the way out and if you use a link on a press release you have to add the "No Follow" tag on it or you might get penalized. Google are sick of being flooded with press releases lol and say its because of lazy bussines owners and SEO companys trying to get cheap linkbacks.

    As the saying goes "Never have all your eggs in one basket"
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    As of this afternoon (09-29-2013) I'm still getting some incoming search phrases from Google, the last search phrase I found was from Texas/US.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickCopy
    Google Switches To Secure Search: No More Keyword Data

    I dont get a ton of traffic from google (ive always told people to stop relying on it) but sure enough, as of today all of my G traffic is all "not provided" in analytics.

    I'm kind of surprised there's no "the sky is falling" threads yet lol.
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  • Profile picture of the author AZMD
    Google Switches To Secure Search - No More Keyword Data

    The fateful day that many search marketers have worried about has arrived...

    - Yahoo Screen

    See the video and read more above.

    What do you think about this?
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  • Profile picture of the author Kael41
    Doesn't affect my gameplan to be completely honest. I have always, and will continue to build websites for user interest, readability, and repeat visitors. How do I do that? By simply building a contextually relevant website that hits LSI targets naturally. My first site was back in '96. I can tell you back then I didn't use a keyword tool to build it out

    Now, there are other metrics that can be garnered to improve your site positioning other what your logs are telling you. What pages are people landing (or not) landing on? Are you desigining out your sites with a taxonomy in mind, thus ensuring you're feeding Google at least something that speaks to your build authority?

    This is all stuff I look at when others are crying about the sky falling around them. Tools are nice, metrics are better, but dashing and weaving around the wreckage of fallen seo'ers is something I thrive on
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  • Profile picture of the author MaroshIS
    Hi,

    Longterm all 80-89% of all Google searches from E.U. countries coming to my site are from "Encrypted search" that means I cannot see the keyword the customer typed into google search before he arrived on my site. Hard to control the ROI of my SEO activities though.....

    I asked G at the Search conference lately and they told me this number should be around 30% searches. It is coming from users who are looged into their GMAIL while doing search.

    • What is YOUR percentage of encrypted search keyword from E.U. ?
    • Is this happening also in Canada, Australia, USA market ?
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    • Profile picture of the author tdanz
      A few month ago my sites started to show "keyword not provided" for around 80% of the search terms in EU.
      A good way to get an idea what keywords visitors type in is by looking at search queries in webmaster tools.
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    • Profile picture of the author mmarty
      Have you not read the news yet?

      "100% Not Provided Is Not The End Of SEO" Insider Opinions On Google's Move To Withhold Data

      Google are making all searches secure so 100% of searches will be secure in future, meaning no more keywords for visitors to your site whether you're using Google Analytics or not.
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      • Profile picture of the author MaroshIS
        What means secure searches ? When I do Adwords, I can see those keywords anyway so what is the point ? Anyway I am unable to associate those searches with particular visitor person name or other sensitive data.
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    • Profile picture of the author fancyworks
      Mostly when a person logged in, the traffic will be encrypted, there is nothing you can do with that.
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    • Profile picture of the author webdevpro
      Now the search queries are encrypted even if someone is not logged in (by default) and is becoming hard day by day to analyze the landing search terms.
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    • Profile picture of the author JSProjects
      They implemented this awhile back. And yes, it's very annoying.
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    • Profile picture of the author pdxkurt
      Probably one of the worst decisions Google has ever made with their search traffic. They obviously must think that it will increase adwords revenue, but think of all the sites that rely on search terms to either customize the experience or even increase the adwords spend when they discover new organic keywords.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stefan Shields
    I'm fairly new to IM but I have now realised that Google are d*cks.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Stefan Shields View Post

      I'm fairly new to IM but I have now realised that Google are d*cks.
      Lol.

      Even Yahoo has taken things away from SEO's, Yahoo Site Explorer database was one of the most useful tools every created & used by most SEO's.

      Just another day in SEO.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dash Evra
    Just came across this article. One more reason not to make your business Google dependent.

    Google Has Gone 'Dark': The Search Giant Just Ended Its Free Data And People Are Freaking Out - Yahoo Finance

    Personally, I am happy about this move. Maybe now people will stop focusing on writing SEO articles and concentrate on the quality on their articles more.
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    • Profile picture of the author seekdefo
      I can't understand why someone would be happy at being kept in the dark for the keywords that are bringing traffic to them. I think the term "quality content" has been beaten to death. Do you think that being kept uninformed about those terms will stop SEO articles?

      Well what about the keyword tool then? How many of you rather look that up than the stats when it comes to research?

      Even now I can find out what keywords are bringing me traffic, though it just takes a tweak.How To Easily Find Keywords Google Thinks You Should Rank For | Blogging Wizard
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    • Profile picture of the author hipeopo02
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      A crappy product or service by people that disappear from the forum for a long period of time to make it look like they were working on something so when they come back you will want to click on their crappy product or service link

      CLICK HERE! LOL
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    • Profile picture of the author seonutshell
      Happened ages ago lol. Clearly yahoo is still using its own search engine to find latest articles
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Trust me (famous words), Google hasn't stopped all incoming search phrases.
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  • Profile picture of the author GGpaul
    If Google really cared about privacy they would do it for paid ads too. But they don't. Zzzzzz
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    RIP Dad Oct 14 1954 - Mar 14 2015.

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