In October 2011, Google caused mass uproar by unleashing an astonishing example of double standards; it started encrypting searches via an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)which as a result made certain keyword data unavailable in web analytics packages, including Google Analytics.
When encrypted data arrived Google claimed that it would only affect “single-digit percentages” of search data. However, there are numerous reports that suggest otherwise, with some site owners seeing up to 33% of their keyword data listed as “(not provided)”.
According to Google the update was rolled out to help improve the ‘user experience’. While this may be true to an extent, the more cynical among us would suspect that it’s actually part of a bigger plan to get us all to buy more ads.
At the time of launch this update only affected logged in users on Google.com with no evident suggestion of a global rollout in the near future.
However Google announced earlier this week that encrypted search is being rolled out internationally over the cause of the next few weeks.
This presents further problems for site owners who rely on valuable keyword data. Not only is keyword data important to show how users entered their site, it also helps them make informed decisions about optimising landing pages and improving user experience.