Have you logged into Google Analytics recently and noticed a certain keyword slowly rise to the #1 spot in your Keyword Report?
Back in October 2011, Google announced it would encrypt (SSL) searches performed by those who are logged into their Google Accounts (Gmail, YouTube, Reader, Analytics etc) which means sites will no longer receive the referral search term from these searchers. This makes it difficult for SEOs like us to optimise websites for particular keywords or search terms but it also helps us identify how many people could be seeing personalised search results. In Google Analytics you will see all encrypted searches grouped under (not provided).
This change makes it difficult to know exactly which keywords are bring in quality traffic which then go on to convert into leads, and which keywords are attracting bad quality traffic. However, one side of the coin is that Google have said referral data (i.e the search term) IS passed onto Google Analytics if a searcher clicks on a PPC ad. In simple terms, ad clicks = £££ for Google. 95% of Google’s revenue comes from those ad clicks. That’s for another post maybe.
What is important for us as SEOs and Marketers, is that this change is hiding the keyword which actually generates leads and conversions.
The above image shows how ‘(not provided)’ is the number one keyword generating 434 visits and converting over 20% of traffic. Blimey! Yet I have no idea what those keywords are in order to produce more content and drive more traffic to the site from those search terms which have been hidden. It’s difficult to tell the client that their requirement to be on page 1 or top spot in Google for a particular keyword is actually working for them.
Since October 2011 this is the rate at which traffic is coming onto the Pauley Creative website from the keyword (not provided). All those hidden search terms now account for 3.5% of all visits to the site and it’s still growing.
Early indications show that encrypted search has now been rolled out in the UK (Google.co.uk) and other international sites (co.in, .es .fr) so if you have a website which spans across many countries and rely on SEO for traffic then you could be in for a bit of shock.
I’d love to know what % of your website traffic comes from the keyword (not provided). Some may be small depending on how tech-savvy your audience is and whether or not they have a Gmail email address in which case they may be logged into Google for most of the day. How does this change effect your site and by how much has it grown in the last 6 months or so?