Anyone regularly using Google Analytics will have noticed a big change recently. The amount of “not provided” keyword information has drastically increased. What’s the deal?

In October 2011, Google began encrypting searches for anyone who was logged into Google for “privacy” reasons. For marketers, this means that they cannot retrieve many of the keywords that brought users to their website. It would show up as “not provided” in Google Analytics, which isn’t very beneficial when creating a SEO strategy.

In September 2013, the number of “not provided” keywords spiked, prompting many to think that Google started encrypting more searches. Whenmedia asked Google about the sudden change, Google confirmed suspicions.

“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.”

What does this mean? The number of “not provided” keywords will continue to increase, until all searches are secure. Fortunately, it’s not a negative change if your business has been practicing White Hat SEO tactics. It encourages marketers to produce quality content for their target market, not just search engines. Basically, give users what they’re looking for, instead of what you think will rank well on Google.

If your business has been doing this all along, the increase of encrypted keywords should not negatively impact your marketing strategy.

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