While the search industry has been all abuzz with the bad news of Google SSL search, most average people might not even understand what happened. They may wonder “why is (not provided) my most popular keyword in Google Analytics?” (Other analytics solutions might not even show up this data at all). Also: how can you fix it?
First off, I want to explain in simple terms what happened. I tried to explain it to my wife recently and she didn’t understand at once. So this is the version she could fathom easily: Google hides the keywords people use to find your site from now on, or at least a significant part of them. All these hidden keywords are tagged as ‘(not provided)’ in Google Analytics.
On SEOptimise currently (the first week of November) 14,7% of Google search visitors had no keyword sent with its referrer.
The referrer is the page address where they came from. On my own blog, SEO 2.0, the number was even higher, with 16,27% of Google visitors. Also, (not provided) is the most popular “keyword” on both blogs.
Whose referral data gets hidden? All users logged in to Google services get redirected to SSL search now by default.
So all these people hide the keywords they use from the sites they visit. Google and thus the CIA, MI5 or any other secret service can still access these data for at least 18 months.