In late September 2013 Google announced that all Google searches would be secured. That means that you can no longer track which organic keywords delivered visitors to your website.
It is a pretty big deal but has been coming for a while. For a couple of years now in Google Analytics we have seen the phase “not provided” in organic keyword reports. This was because Google had already secured the searches of people who were logged in to their Google account. Now they are expanding secure search to everyone.
So, how do we know what keywords people are using if Google isn’t providing the data?
There are several things we can do:
1. Use Keyword Data from Adwords
Google is still reporting keywords from Google Adwords. This is a source of insight into which keywords your target market are using. If a particular keyword performs well in Adwords then it may make sense to optimise your website for that same keyword.
2. Use Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools provides a report on how much traffic you are getting from organic keywords.
3. Analyze Bing reports
Not everyone uses Google. Other search engines such as Bing are still used and we are capturing organic keyword data in your reports from them.
What does this mean?
Google’s move will make it harder to measure exactly how some people are finding your website. We will still know how many visitors come from Google’s organic search but we will not be able to break it down by keyword.
But keywords are still important. Using the alternate methods to identify high value keywords we can still optimize your website to connect with your target market online.