• Christian Noel

    If they stick to the “privacy” line as far as a rationale I don’t see a scenario where they then turn around and start selling Keyword data. Even if they did I wouldn’t buy it. There are other methods for gleaning KW data without buying from Google.

  • http://thejakejordan.com/ baldjake

    I think you meant Mwuahaahahah!

  • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

    Exactly. If you could only get the data by using secured servers then that would encourage most sites to go in that direction. Internet becomes safer, SEO’s get keyword data… everyone wins.

  • http://www.geekstogo.com Blair Briggs

    Prism and NSA talk is a red herring. The NSA already has access to Google’s SSL master encryption key, so they can decrypt both the search data, and data flowing between data centers.

  • Paul Jewkes

    I think this is fair enough and slow enough warning-
    Nov- 13%
    Dec- 14.5%
    Jan- 25%
    Feb- 28%
    March- 32%
    April- 26%
    May- 30%
    June- 32%
    July- 31%
    Aug- 45%
    Sept- 64%

  • Steve

    Google will probably start monetizing this data also. It’s becoming more and more about profits for Google.

  • http://www.saturngames.co.uk/ Dan Crocker

    Hopefully not

  • Jeremy

    Why would Google eliminate a metric within their own analytics tool? So forever and always when we go into Traffic Sources -> Sources -> Organic : we’re going to (eventually) see Not Provided at 100%? Seems a little barbaric for Google to pull that on everyone. SEO’s or not!

  • joeyoungblood

    If they do that, I’ll apologize for railing against them the last few years. I’ll also shave my head, and donate a weeks worth of pay to the charity of their choosing. I doubt it will happen though.

  • MikeInEdmonton

    Hmm I wonder what they are up to? I think it’s pretty obvious, the NSA part of the story is a diversion in my opinion to add credibility to the claim. I believe this “not provided” data will be sold back to us in the very near future, or at least I hope so. I need this data to make informed decisions with our marketing goals.

    How many think it’s a ploy to make it unstable for an SEO to wean a client off of their Adwords spend? I have heard a lot of chatter with my clients recently regarding the effectiveness of their Adwords spend and making that transition to an SEO solution is going to be a tough sell. Does that sound like something Google would do?

  • Daniel Benny Simanjuntak

    I was so expecting that. Google wants to generate more and more money from Adwords which means they need to make seo difficult so that companies can move to ppc to get results.

  • http://www.dirigodev.com/ David Addison

    If you have Hitwise or Comscore (clickstream data) you can get at the data they’ve blocked. So how are they creating a more secure internet when ISPs sell access to data? I presume that this is where the NSA gets data. Here in Portland Maine the Department of Homeland Security rents space inside the old Verizon building on top of the phone network on Cumberland Avenue. They’re not making the internet more secure. They’re hurting marketers and solidifying the position of Google Analytics.

  • Joel Solomon

    As a note, I confirmed with seoClarity that (if provided access to Webmaster Tools), they can archive keyword performance.
    This is regarding your line “If publishers don’t somehow constantly archive these terms, they’re lost.”

  • http://www.blakestrategiesgroup.com/ Jonathon Hyjek

    This is not helpful, but it will serve to increase Adwords spending. If G can convince website owners that in order to get good quality data, one has to use their very own PPC product. It’s like a license to print money.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Yes, several third-party tools can do this. So can AdWords. The point is that if AdWords can do it, for free, then the tool designed expressly for publishers by Google should also be able to do it.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    They haven’t said this is due to PRISM. I suspect that might have prompted it. But regardless, the official line is that this has all been done to increase privacy. And that’s true. It does. But it also leaves a big loophole for advertisers, which opens the door that they are also doing it for other reasons.

  • BJRCollins

    Is it not allowed to be both? A business’ sole responsibility is to make a profit for its employees and owners. If there is no profit, there is no company. Assume that this was done 100% profit motive. Are you not still more secure now than you were before? How many of you have switched services/stopped using Google?

    Just because a person or business does something motivated by survival does not mean that it is bad for the rest. Unlike the government, there are alternatives. If a business is not providing what the customer wants, they may go elsewhere. So motivation to act against the consumer is not in anyone’s best interest.

  • BJRCollins

    In doing so, this would create not only a more secure environment for all, it would create organic real growth in the industry and economy. Google makes more money. Security keeps up with the times. Jobs are created and GDP increases.

    Win-win for a move being derided by those who have the most to gain. Optimists and Pessimists dither while Realists move forward and prosper.

  • BJRCollins

    I wish I could upvote x10.

  • BJRCollins

    Doesn’t stop the fact that the people are stupid and Google is a publicly traded company. Let’s not put any lipstick on this pig and call it like it is – a move made to mollify the ignorant masses before they can destroy a good company – one that has made the lot of you a great deal of money.

  • pojda

    BS, NSA can break SSL easily… I’m more inclined to “Done To Boost Ad Sales”

  • http://www.eemes.com/ Eemes

    End of SEO Keywords! This is the worst scenario for SEO Experts!

  • http://www.eemes.com/ Eemes

    True, this gona hurt a lot. DAMN!

  • Craymin

    Smoke and mirrors… NSA conducted man-in-the-middle attacks to snoop on Google users SSL traffic (ref. NSA Flying Pig). If Google were serious about privacy the first thing they would do is stop logging, stop complying with warrantless requests and start contesting the Feds demands for end user data. Warrants issued by a FISA court in which the defendants (aka American Citizens) have no representation is an abomination of the 4th amendment. And lets not forget it was Google’s own lawyers who said GMail users have “no legitimate expectation of privacy in information”.

  • Paul Jewkes

    I wont argue that… but I will argue that it’s a bad thing.

  • http://www.eBizROI.com Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    First the retirement of the external keywords tool. Now the rapid and unannounced acceleration of encryption of all organic searches. It certainly seems like a Google push to move SEO investments to PPC.

    If Google has an aversion to bad PR, this move will create friction at least the online marketing industry. Regardless of the actual motivations, perception matters.

    Realistically, with Google’s dominant market share and no comparable index, what’s the risk to Google? Will the average user notice or care? Probably not. Will webmasters block googlebot. Some, perhaps, but that is like cutting off the nose to spite the face.

    Until there is a comparable search alternative, or the governments pursue anti-competitive litigation, we will all have to adapt and get the data from other sources. It sucks, but it just is.

  • http://blackhatpwnage.com/ igl00

    since google is part of PRISM the only thign they hide is keywords form US not from the US.GOV

  • Jacob Maslow

    Google can’t take an action to explicitly block the NSA. That would probably be illegal as it can be interpreted as trying to circumvent a court order. If they rush on something they have been planning and is “good for users”, that’s fine even if it happens to make the NSA job harder.

    The NSA is seizing search records for thousands and possibly millions of users. Now the NSA isn’t getting something they can upload right to their data center so their contractors can stalk their love interests, least favorite politician/celebrity or do stupid keyword searches across a million accounts.

    The NSA should have to go through hoops.

    If you weren’t an American, how comfortable would you be using google? Right now, google is extremely vulnerable overseas to companies like duckduckgo. If a local search engine does a major out reach campaign emphasizing privacy, they can hurt google in their market.

  • Jacob Maslow

    If a judge orders me to testify, I may decide to go through with my vacation plans, surgery / rehab. As long as I can argue it’s something I likely would have done anyways.

    I don’t think google’s lawyers will allow them to do anything specifically against prism without a strong business necessity justification.

    Even if it is legal and doesn’t violate the spirit of any court order, a judge likely can order them to cease any anti-prism measures.

    Expecting google to tell you that they are doing something to fight the NSA is not realistic. Google has a right to be opposed to the NSA and Google can speed up anything they had in the works, but google likely can’t do anything solely to impede the NSA. Even if their real reason is that prism is bad for business, broadcasting it would be stupid.

  • http://withnoble.com/ Bryant Lack Jaquez

    Crazy, crazy world of search!

  • Navjot Singh

    I think Google wants to generate more and more money
    from Adwords which means they need to make SEO difficult so that
    companies can move to PPC to get results.

  • Marcel Wengel

    Is there an official statement regarding this stuff from google so far?

  • Rajesh

    Danny, then why do you use “Post Prism” as the first two words of your title?!!!

  • Alistair Dent

    Hi Danny,

    It’s not that the organic searches are encrypted and the ads aren’t, the entire page that is served to the user is encrypted.

    Depending where you click something else happens. In both cases the user goes through an insecure redirect. This is so that the browser can still detect that the traffic came from Google.

    In the case of an organic click that redirect contains next to no information. In the case of an ad click it contains the query string (gclid) that has been appended to the ad. Since this gclid is meaningless outside Google’s systems there is no privacy issue with passing that across.

    GA and AdWords can parse that back into a keyword internally, but no keyword information has been passed to the publisher, nor could anybody intercepting that traffic extract a keyword from it, the way they could do in the old days with organic searches.

  • Rajesh

    It is like saying if you pay, you get access to the “privacy” data! so NSA is anyway going to have access and “Post Prism” is no way relevant or related to this.Isn’t it?

  • Navjot Singh

    Google wants to generate more and more money
    from Adwords which means they need to make SEO difficult so that
    companies can move to PPC to get results.

  • Dave

    12 days ago I wrote this on Seroundtable:
    Future!!! I am now redirected to https://www.google.com, even when I am not signed in, not only in Chrome, but in all browsers I can think of IE, FireFox, Opera, Safari etc.

    Is this the future???

    Seems like this ->NOT PROVIDED is the future.

  • http://benacheson.com Ben Acheson

    There is only solution to Google’s Not Provided scam.

    Big brands need to #BoycottAdwords

    https://twitter.com/BenAcheson/status/382432178224652288

  • Dave

    No, its not an error. Google pushed SSL search in the first week of Sept and this has been the reason in increase in NP

  • Dave

    Real world effects- NOT to USE Any ANALYTICS for tracking Google ORGANIC Traffics.

  • Dave

    And what about Adsense ads on HTTPS websites?

  • http://www.barryadams.co.uk/ Barry Adams

    The PRISM connection you’re making is entirely arbitrary, Danny. You might as well say this is a post-Fukushima move, for all the relevance it has.

    Google still has all the keyword data itself – the fact it gives it freely to AdWords advertisers proves that. They just decided not to share it any longer with website owners.

    The NSA, by virtue of their backdoor access to Google’s data centres, can still spy on that keyword data at their leisure. So to attempt to present this as a PRISM-motivated move is farcical and serves only to give the impression Google has done this for the benefit of its users (which is a blatant lie).

    A serious technology journalist would therefore never make that PRISM connection – which is also why Google has not pushed that angle, as it’s so easily falsifiable. You are once again serving as Google’s voluntary PR spin machine, Danny.

  • Dave

    Right said..I did commented as a comment reply where an expert is happy with NP keywords. This is what i said to him.

    For you “not provided” doesn’t matter. Means you are happy, if people
    are coming to your site with some sort of keywords and your bounce rate
    is 100% and the keyword is shown as “not provided” you would still be
    happy.

    Keywords are important for on-page experience. People may be coming to a website with a keyword which have low relevance with the content and are bouncing from the page. With keywords data, we can analyze which one are best as per our business and services and adjust on-page accordingly

  • aline

    OMGGGGGG…Whats going on?!

  • jonathanwthomas

    Well, screw you Google. Guess I have no right to know how people arrive at my website.

  • nextgreencar

    Yes my thought exactly – a competitive move against “search retargeting” companies

  • wwd88888

    The NSA is already INSIDE the Google data centers, just like they have NSA rooms at all the carriers and ISPs. They are using IETF RFC 3924 the lawful intercept architecture built into the network switches at every major ISP and cloud provider.

    They don’t need to “crack SSL”.

  • Vero Tabares

    Why give publishers and potential advertisers ACTUAL traffic volume for keywords when Google can imply which keywords are receiving traffic (for a price)?

  • Francisco Bustamante

    Should we just now solve our keyword questions checking on Webmasters Tools?

  • David McCarthy

    The majority of our clients are micro- businesses … quite frequently single-person businesses. They don’t have the time or money resources to correlate the changes they make to their websites with any change in traffic, and where the traffic is low volume, there won’t be any statistically significant correlation. They will be losing out because they will have a much poorer understanding of how their potential customers are trying to find them … and consequently, the customers will lose out too.
    Only companies with a significant turnover will be able to afford to work on this. Recent research in the UK suggests a huge proportion of these micro-businesses have an annual turnover of £18,000 or less.
    Only Google will benefit as more businesses feel their only option is to use PPC.