You may have noticed over the past month or two that your Yahoo traffic has taken significant drops. While the analyst in all of us can’t help but think that something very bad has happened in the realm of dropped rankings, to the dreaded de-indexing, this time you need not fear. It’s Yahoo’s fault.
Yahoo smartly decided to route their search through a secure server which protects customers. But the bad part is that when that occurred, so went with it the ability to pass through the referrer attribute. Google users experienced a similar occurrence when it made the same adjustment and users lost the keyword attribute which led to huge increase in keywords listed under “Not Provided”. We have a partial fix for that by the way.
The problem with the attribute that Yahoo lost is that now they don’t even get any credit for their traffic. Many users saw a significant 50% or higher drop. Now that traffic can’t be credited to Yahoo and just gets credited under Direct traffic. This problem will become more prevalent as the search demi-God makes this change universal and worldwide by March 31, 2014. Bing allows you to do secure search by choice, but if you do turn it on, expect the same fruitless results.
So how did Google pull it off, but not Yahoo? Google did a lot of research and knew the outcome and then carefully constructed the secured areas to actually let some data pass through like the referrer information. And if the search came as a result of paid search, the keyword data actually does get through. Basically, if you pay for Google ads, they’ll give you that data.
Not fair? Maybe. Will Yahoo follow suit? Let’s hope so.
Meanwhile, if you’re still reeling a year later after Google‘s keywords started dropping off of your analytics, I have a neat little fix for you that will at least help a little. Click here to see it.