• http://twitter.com/zach1987johnson Zach Johnson

    Go Organic

  • http://www.livinginthailand.net/ Neale

    This has been along time in the coming, unless you are super savvy it is going to get harder and harder for the average joe to glean info on how visitors arrive at your website.

  • ewanseo

    Thanks for sharing this info Danny. It is a concern as the less info we see about where searches are coming from the harder our job as SEO internet marketers becomes. Let’s hope, as you say. ‘
    Overall, there’s probably no reason to panic’

  • http://usman.co/ Usman Latif

    WTH! Another step towards monopolizing the access to referral data.

  • Matt Menke

    I’m no expert, but here’s my (possibly incorrect) understanding:

    The HTTP connection is needed because when navigating cross domain from an HTTPS source page, no referrer is sent for security reasons, since it’s not uncommon to have private information as part of the URL.  As a result, if Google want to send any referrer tag, it currently has to go through an HTTP page.  As Google itself uses HTTPS, that means you need to redirect from the search page through an HTTP link.  With the ability to set the referrer from their HTTPS search page, the HTTP connection should no longer be needed.  Presumably Google uses the “ping” attribute of the “a” tag to do its own bookkeeping of what was clicked, or something similar.

  • http://www.ramkrshukla.com/ Ram Krishna Shukla

    Great stuff as usual good observation, I love the article of Avinash Kaushik to visualize such data http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/google-secure-search-keyword-data-analysis/

  • http://www.webstatsart.com/ Webstats Art

    I wish twitter would do something because it is awesome and needs to allow us to upload web content. I would spend tons of time on twitter if I could put more content there. http://www.webstatsart.com/twitter

  • http://www.realtimetricks.com/ RealTimeTricks

    This is truly awesome if only if it gets successful. :P

  • http://twitter.com/NickStamoulis Nick Stamoulis

    It’s always frustrating when data is moved around. It makes it that much harder to do our jobs as SEO professionals well because we are suddenly working in the dark. Thanks for the heads up. 

  • http://twitter.com/daliburgado Dali Burgado

    Thank you for always sharing such timely info, Danny! And just when you thought (not provided) was getting worse… Come on Google!  

  • http://www.facebook.com/terry.stanfield3 Terry Stanfield

    Thanks for the article. As an SEO guy, it is challenging to provide information on what organic terms are converting to leads if a third of the conversions are (not provided) or (not set). I can make educated guesses but it is nice to empirical data!

    Even using the webmaster tools it just shows what keywords were used to get to my site but not which terms converted.

  • Jeremy Muratore

    Thanks for calling this out in great detail. Stripping out the referrer seems to be passive-aggressively “forcing” adoption of Google Webmaster Central and paid advertising for search initiatives. They have us all following the cheese through the Google ecosystem maze and blurring SEO/SEM/Social lines. Will Google just start implementing automated tools & services that act on information privy only to them?

  • http://rajeevkumarsinghblog.blogspot.com/ Rajeev Kumar Singh

    Google’s monopoly over the search making them devil! 

    How much this speed up me – not much. Why Google need to force these things? Where “don’t be evil” motto goes?

  • http://twitter.com/incrediblehelp Jaan Kanellis

    “Google’s answer to all these changes is that people should make use of Google Webmaster Central to pull in missing search data. But that data only goes back 30 days. That does nothing to restore the trends that have been destroyed since withholding began.”

    Danny if you have synced your GWT account to GA  and then access the data your looking for in GA NOT GWT it goes back more than 30 days.

  • http://www.lattimore.id.au/ Alistair Lattimore


    The HTTP REFERER header can only get set when using HTTPS if the URL you’re navigating to is on the same origin/host. 

    For example, if you navigated from a HTTPS URL on Search Engine Land to a HTTP URL on Search Engine Land, the HTTP REFERER header would get set. If you navigated from a HTTPS URL on Search Engine Land to a HTTP URL on a different host, say http://www.google.com – no HTTP REFERER header will get set at all.

    The redirect that Google have at the moment for logged in users provides a mechanism for them to provide some tracking (a blank q query string parameter for instance) instead of nothing at all, which is what would happen by default if you searched while logged in and they didn’t redirect through a HTTP redirect on the same host.

    John Mueller did reply to my question on the official Google announcement, however only answered part of my question. The other ‘benefits’ outlined in the announcement, such as automatically simplifying the referring URL and a streamlined experience for the user seem nothing more than smoke to me in practical terms.

    I personally think this is another change, a wolf in sheep’s clothing if you will, for something larger happening in the future. I appreciate the sentiment of improving performance for users by not requiring the intermediate redirect but you’re talking about a few milliseconds as it redirects through Google-speed infrastructure. 


  • miguelgarza

    I found this article when trying to figure out if my Chrome install had some sort of infection. Because of the redirection URL. Just installed Firefox because Chrome is also taking a really, really long time to load pages. Firefox much better by nearly ten seconds. I wanted Chrome to be my go-to browser but I’m afraid Google’s desire for innovation is fighting with its desire for profit, and it shows.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.c.webb Deb Webb

    I’m with Alistair on this one. Maybe Google is trying to divert our attention with a bogus tweak while they deploy their next move.
    I really enjoyed reading this article.  I was wondering what the meant. You wrote this in such an easy to understand way.
    Diversion or just a silly move by Google?

  • Vince Heilman

    “.. a new proposal to reduce latency when a user of Google’s SSL-search clicks on a search result with a modern browser such as Chrome. ” 

    Is this just for the SSL or https:// google account, logged in users?  The ones that are currently “Not set”? 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CM4IAXUNJMDYHMVQPJZXQNEHPM ben

    Sounds like future analytics tools will have to pull data from webmaster tools and any other available sources and then compile it together, rather than relying solely on weblogs or tracking pixels.

  • http://twitter.com/benboombastic Benedict Hayes

    Hey Danny,

    Do you buy this speed c%#p?

    Is it me or is this not just the machine doing straight forward monopoly play.

    All third party analytics packages are rendered useless at keyword tracking (well at least inferior to Google analytics). Only Google tools will give you data, but WMT has sampled data so is inaccurate in any case.

    This obviously sods up every SEO as how the hell do you know if you are getting traffic or not from your efforts.

    Its funny how only people who pay Google exorbitant amounts of money (on a system designed to fleece everyone in the auction because small business owners don’t understand it and jack up the bids prices) will be able to see which keywords work.

    Lets face it before long most people on the planet will somehow be logged into Google, even if they don’t realise it – so it looks as if keywords are to be given a grave stone and become a long forgotten history of the net.

    How or why are Google allowed to make changes like this that affect businesses the world over.

    Is it an effort to stop SEO or is it an effort to affect competitors in analytics or both?

    or am I being massively paranoid…