Here Comes “100% Not Provided,” As Google Begins Encrypting All Non-Paid Searches

google-privacy-200Ever since Google began encrypting searches for signed-in users two years ago, publishers have wondered if when we’d get to a “100% Not Provided” world, where all search terms are withheld by Google. It looks like that day may soon arrive, thanks to a new change at Google.

Google has confirmed that it has begun work to encrypted all searches, even for those who aren’t logged into Google. Our story on our sister-site Search Engine Land has more about this:

The change makes it very likely that in the near future, publishers will receive no search term data sent to them directly through the decades-old and industry-standard “referrer” system. The withholding of this data means terms flagged as “Not Provided” within Google Analytics already should have spiked for many sites and has nothing preventing it from reaching 100%.

Terms can still be viewed within Google Webmaster Center, but only the top 2,000 terms per day and only going back for 90 days.

As before, clicks on advertising links remain unsecure and open to potential eavesdropping, and advertisers continue to receive the terms directly through the referral system.

To understand more about this, again, see our Search Engine Land article below, plus a closely-related one from earlier this month:

Related Topics: Analytics | Channel: Search Marketing | Google: SEO | Search Marketing


About The Author: is Founding Editor of Marketing Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search marketing and internet marketing issues, who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Brett Dixon

    Great…so now everyone is going to obsess about ranking positions again rather than terms that actually convert. Brilliant, backwards step!

  • Oh_Mad_Hatter

    “What do you mean ranking #1 for tanning beds won’t be beneficial to my sales” a client of mine said this a few years back, they didn’t listen and they’re no longer around. This is a huge mistake by Google, and you’ve hit the nail on the head.

  • Brett Dixon

    Good point – This has implications for accurately managing client expectations when it comes to what keywords ACTUALLY convert…headache central.

  • Paul Jewkes

    So what am I supposed to think when everyone is talking about 90-100% and I am still seeing only ~12% (direct) / (none) ?

  • Todd Mumford

    Not a huge surprise, but a step backwards insofar as positive consumer and professional support for Google in my opinion.

  • Bill

    Does this mean its finally worth paying for Omniture to collect this data?

  • John Mitchell

    Nope, its blocked to all analytics tools. You wont see this data anywhere.

  • eddydemelo

    Direct traffic is not the same as (not provided).

    Direct traffic typically indicates that someone arrived at your website by manually typing in the URL into their browser’s address bar:

    (not provided) indicates that someone arrived at your website via a SERP & that the keyword level data has been removed.

  • Danny Sullivan

    If Omniture can import it from Google Webmaster Tools, maybe. But it can’t gather it through the traditional means.

  • Maninder Pal Sngh

    I like it. Kill SEO. :)

  • SEO Manager

    The reality is Google is a Monopoly, and they need to make money as simple as that, many marketers was exploiting that particular tool from Google Analytic detecting traffic and Google decided to keep that particular information. so if you still want that information you have to pay a Google Adwords Campaign know from which keywords your traffic is coming from

  • Jimbo

    Of course. All part of the masterplan to provide nothing but paid services.

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