Google’s “Not Provided” HTTPS Strangle Hold on Organic Search Tightens

Not Provided Keyword Growth  Vizion Interactive Reading Time: 2 minutes

Since 2010 search marketers have balked at the loss of analytical transparency provided by Google via keyword referral data as the search giant moved to enhance searcher privacy for logged in users. Kinda strange they didn’t follow suit with AdWords data. OK, OK, I digress. Current activity on Google Search indicates that Google may be closing the gap on visible Organic keyword referrals with a much heightened use of secured search results.

We Saw This Coming

Well, at least we did. Over the past months the amount of Not Provided referred traffic we have been monitoring have been in a continual growth trend.




For many Google Analytics accounts reviewed, the accelerated spike started happening in in the latter half of August. For a few example cases, the ratio of Not Provided traffic from July, the last 30 days, and the last week looked like:

When Will We See Keyword Blackout?

At a quick glance, as of this morning, Google Analytics Real-Time is still showing some insight in non-Not Provided data but the percentage of visible keyword data is worse than the trend indicated in the examples above.  Aside from our perceptions noted above, the site provided a similar doom to keyword referrals transparency as the Not Provided count according to their recent data is at 75% as of last week.

What Do We Do Now?

Aside from cursing Google or starting a analytical tactician revolution, we will likely have to concentrate our efforts on assessing data and success from different metrics. Rankings are very volatile and we do not know the CTR. For now, we still have Search Query data in Google Webmaster Tools as well as features in Adwords that shed light on assumed traffic from certain Organic keyword referrals.

What Are Other SEO Experts Saying?