…or sooner, depending on your website and audience. Some websites are reporting it gone already. There won’t be an SEO on the planet that won’t be aware of this, but many business owners who keep track of their own Analytics will likely be taken by surprise.
We have blogged before about the rising amount of ‘Not Provided’ entries listed in the Organic Keywords data in Google Analytics, which is data withheld when people search while logged in to Google. The Search Engine has always intended to step up this protection, so it was inevitable that we would get to this point.
Yesterday Google redirected all non-signed in users to their secure page (https if you’re technical and interested) which means all users’ searches are now hidden. Other browsers have been following suit, so it won’t be long before all organic keyword data will be replaced with ‘not provided’ in GA. You can see the fast steep climb in the last day or so here: http://www.notprovidedcount.com
Google has made a statement that this is being done for users safety when searching, and protection. Nothing has been said yet about the gaps it will leave in website-owners and SEO information.
But as a great Hitch Hiking tome advises, DON’T PANIC. Although this is a pretty major change, it’s not the end of the world, and organic keyword work will simply have to be done in other (more time consuming and less accurate) ways. To get you started, this article published in February outlines some of the best other techniques to keep track of what kind of keywords are working for your site: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/unlock-keyword-not-provided/
I’ll follow up with more detailed blogs on how to compensate for the loss of this keyword data.