This week, Google started encrypting all organic searches on the site. This means that business owners who track keyword data provided by Google on search traffic are now out of luck as keywords won't be supplied for these secure searches.
In 2011, Google started masking keyword data and labeling it as "(not provided)" for anyone that was logged into their Google account. Also known as secure search, Google mentioned that this was done in an effort to protect personalized results that it delivers. Google noted that this change would initially impact single-digit percentages for all Google searches. Today, that number stands close to 75 percent of websites tracked by Not Provided Count (see graphic below).
For business owners who develop web content based in part on the keywords Google says people search for when they land on their website, here are some important notes to keep in mind:
You can still get keyword data if you buy ads.
Interestingly, Google will pass you keyword data if you're running ads on Google. This might raise the question of whether Google is trying to generate more revenue by hiding organic keyword data.
You can still get keyword data from Google Webmaster Tools.
You're able to see the top 2,000 queries per day going back to 90 days through Google Webmaster Tools. Google has indicated that this will increase in the future to one year. You'll have to continue to archive these on a consistent basis or else you'll lose all the data. With AdWords, however, you can save this data for as long you like.
It's time to start adopting other methods to develop content ideas.
It used to be that you could look at keyword data in Analytics to generate content ideas but since that is now going to be stripped away, it's time to look at other methods for keyword and content research. Ubersuggest is a strong tool for providing content recommendations. Another one is analyzing your internal search data.
Start focusing more on conversion rate optimization.
Keyword data disappearing isn't such a bad thing in this case, as the loss of it will cause online business owners to focus more on the right things, individual landing pages, instead of individual entry keywords for each landing page. This is a more optimal way to be optimizing your conversion rate because you are focusing on increasing the conversion rate of the page instead of looking at lesser details.