There are lots of reports around the web right now that Google is redirecting all traffic to the HTTPs (secure) version of its site.
Search Engine Land explains that this may be an attempt to block NSA spying, or perhaps to increase ad sales. Who knows?
What does seem certain is that the amount of organic traffic which is encrypted has leapt up over the past month, and more so over the last day or so.
To illustrate the point, here's our data from August, showing (not provided) as a percentage of all Google organic traffic:
And the same chart for September, so far:
And for today:
Other sites are reporting similar patterns. The Mirror's Malcolm Coles reports that of The Mirror's desktop traffic from search, 82.5% is encrypted today.
Koozai's Mike Essex reports that his site's (not provided) traffic is 93% of organic, while the (not provided) count, which tracks a number of sites, shows a big spike over the past couple of weeks, though this doesn't include today's data:
Why does this matter?
For us, we've kind of given up on making sense of organic keywords, simply because we can see so few of them.
Here are our top organic Google searches for September. As you can see, the numbers are fairly insignificant. All it tells us is that we're doing well for 'Bill Gates quotes' thanks to a seven year old article.
Even this workaround for calculating branded search traffic will soon become very difficult, as we have little or no organic data to base it on.
Of course, search data isn't encrypted for advertisers using Google search ads, so if you're worried about the NSA spying on you, don't go clicking on those ads...
Check your (not provided) traffic
These handy custom Google Analytics links from Dan Barker will help you to quickly check the state of your (not provided) traffic.
- This dashboard shows Not Provided as a percentage of Google Organic traffic in pie chart form, as used above. Click here to add to your GA profile.
- This custom report shows the same, with keyword data, as in the screenshot above. Click here to add to your profile.
You can read some search expert's views on this keyword data apocalypse here...
Are you seeing a jump in encrypted organic search data on your site? Let us know in the comments...