Google switches all searches to https, thereby increasing the number of "not provided" keywords.

google secure search update not provided keyword dataAnother challenging scenario for SEOs has just arrived. Google has taken a drastic step of switching all the searches through secure search (HTTPS). And what does this mean to SEOs? There’ll be a drastic increase in the amount of keywords that move to “not-provided” data in Google Analytics.


The history

When encrypted search was initially launched by Google in 2010, it was on a separate URL In October 2011, Google started redirecting all users who are logged in, to this encrypted search URL, which resulted in a decrease in the number of keywords that can be tracked by webmasters. The amount of keywords in not-provided data was low to be significant then. But this amount has steadily increased to a level that a lot of keywords get into that “not-provided” area leaving website owners ignorant of how people find his site in search.

Google then came up with another idea earlier this year. All searches from ‘Google omni box’ even when the user is not logged in are sent through SSL (HTTPS). This further increased the number of keywords into that dreaded row – “not provided”.


A Google spokesperson said to Search Engine Watch,

“We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in."

So what does this mean? Even if a user types .com, he will be redirected to, making it impossible for websites to know keyword data.

An analysis by shows shocking results. Average percentage of “not provided” Google traffic for the analyzed 60 sites is 73.93% as of 22nd Sept, 2013. The “not provided” data is expected to hit 100% on 11th December, 2013. We may only see “not-provided” under keywords in the near future – sad truth.

google secure search update keyword not provided data


There have been constant enquiries to Google about the reason for this. To improve privacy of users – is the only answer from Google. Here’s an update from Google to Search Engine Land.

“We want to provide SSL protection to as many users as we can, in as many regions as we can — we added non-signed-in Chrome omnibox searches earlier this year, and more recently other users who aren’t signed in. We’re going to continue expanding our use of SSL in our services because we believe it’s a good thing for users. The motivation here is not to drive the ads side — it’s for our search users.”

Many questions were asked about the genuineness of the above statement. Many believe there is much more reason than the Google’s usual statement “privacy”.

NSA Factor

In June, Google was accused of providing NSA direct access to its search data. In spite of its repeated denial, it is evident that Google has lost some trust and credibility from its users. Google tried a few campaigns to regain the lost trust and this may be a part of that campaign.

PPC Ad Factor

Is this sudden change aimed at boosting ad revenue of Google? This is surely a thing to be debated. Google provides keyword data to paid ads, which further increases the suspicion that this sudden update may be aimed at making money.

What can we do?

As the giant of search engines, Google can do whatever it likes, whenever it wants. There’s no one at the moment to question or stop Google. From the history we knew Google changes every now and then and some of these changes were drastic. Still we made strategies that work and adapt well in all situations. And this scenario is nothing different. As an SEO firm which loves changes and challenges, we at Submitinme will develop strategies for this challenge not too late. 

Get free expert advice on your website's performance


Category :

Tags :

not provided keyword, secure search, google update

About Jeenfer Wilson

Jeenfer Wilson “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” - Douglas Adams.The quote above summarizes everything about me. I wanted to be an Engineer and I've ended up in the vast ocean of Digital Marketing. This is where I needed to be and I'm loving it. I keep a close watch on the latest trends of SEO and Digital Marketing Industry and love to write what I've come .... more info about the author