Content Marketing Blog

All Google searches are now encrypted

Over the past few months the amount of encrypted searches on Google has risen steadily. However, last week Google suddenly encrypted all searches, blocking site owners from seeing keyword data.

Up until now, site owners could track the keywords that users typed into Google, which subsequently led the user onto their sites. This had obvious advantages for publishers, as they could see what keywords were the most promising and incorporate them into their content marketing strategy.

Google first started encrypting the searches of users logged into Gmail back in 2011 as an attempt to protect their privacy. This was done by redirecting all searches from http to https.

Now all searches are blocked by an encryption protocol called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). When searching for keyword data using Google analytics, there is a "not provided" answer.

Search Engine Land's Editor-In-Chief Danny Sullivan made some speculations about the reason behind the sudden change. Sullivan suggested Google was perhaps trying to stop American government agencies such as the NSA from requesting information on its users. Another possibility was that Google wanted to increase ad sales, as keyword data is still visible for AdWords.

It is possible to see the top 2,000 daily keywords in Google Webmaster Tools area, but it only goes back 90 days.

These major changes will undoubtedly have an impact on the SEO community.

"The biggest impact for many site owners has been not being able to segment users by keywords within their web analytics software," Search Engine Watch contributor Thom Craver pointed out.

SEO and content marketing industry professionals are largely shocked by the sudden change, but are also optimistic that there are ways around it. Most will have to simply alter their content strategy to counter the new changes.

LunaMetrics SEO project manager Reid Bandremer told Marketing Land that while the change poses a challenge, it's also a key opportunity for agencies to show adaptability to their clients and stand out from competitors.

Posted by Dylan Brown