The recent changes Google has made to encrypt the keyword referral data has sent waves out in the SEO community. Many people are pointing at Google just wanting more money and whilst this is most likely the drive behind it, why else would they be in business? Google’s defence to these claims is that they must protect the users privacy.
How Google SSL Search Data Will Effect Your Website
The situation from now on in is that when a Google user is signed in and performs a Google search and lands on your website, you will not be shown the keyword they used to get there. Now, note – the user must be logged in for the data to be encrypted. However, if that same user clicks on an Adwords Ad placement which you own, you will be shown the keyword data (a little sly?).
At this stage I really wouldn’t get too worried about losing that data, that is unless Google +1 really does take off in a big way. I personally am not concerned with these changes at this time because the percentage of logged users is so small between 1-3%. The biggest loss in this situation is that we will lose some important long tail keywords no doubt, which are vital for conversions.
The best you can do is measure how many referrals have no keyword data. This can be done by checking Google Analytics and looking for any keywords that are marked ”not provided” and dividing this by the total number of searches then times that by 100. This will give you the percentage of unknown keywords people used to land on your site.