If you work in SEO, this is something that you need to be aware of. Last week, Google announced that they’ll be encrypting all search data. What does this mean exactly? Within website analytics, your keywords will now be seen as “Not Provided.” If you’re freaking out, don’t. This is not the end of SEO.
Google first began implementing secured search back in 2011. This was done for privacy reasons and protected users by blocking their search history when signed into a Google account. Later, the protection was extended to searches made directly in browser search bars. And now, Google is extending this to any search that goes through their search engine. The only exception will be those that click on Google Ads.
There are a couple theories as to why Google is going to encrypt keyword data. One reason: the National Security Agency (NSA). Back in June, Google was accused of giving the NSA access to its search data. This may be Google’s attempt to block the agency’s spying activity. Another theory is the idea that Google simply wants more people to use Google AdWords. This latest encryption does not include certain AdWord campaigns. This means that these users can still see what keywords are being used in search.
When exactly is Google making this change? That’s the question we’re waiting for an answer on. It could be within the next couple of weeks or the next couple of months. The main thing here is not to panic. This could be a positive for marketers. We can say good-bye to the days where websites were over-optimized with keyword phrases. Instead, we can focus on creating quality, engaging content. It’s not the end of the road for SEO. It’s just the beginning.