As the browser wars continue, Google Chrome begins to take more of a share away from Internet Explorer, but the latest announcement that Google searches done via Chrome would utilize SSL layers has many SEO pundits up in arms.
According to the Chromium Blog, this change will hit with Chrome 25 which is currently in development and it will occur with both users who are signed in to Google and now with users who are not signed in to Google. To be fair, all browsers have implemented this action and most have been utilizing it for over a year now. The change protects users from information being seen by anyone malicious who might be trying to intercept their queries and use them accordingly. Once the newest version of Chrome hits the market, it’s affect on keyword research could take a nasty hit.
The problem that this creates is that it hides the keyword the person used from analytics programs, so instead of being able to see what the person is searching for, the keyword is shown as simply “not set” or “keyword not provided” since the data is hidden and not passed on after the click. Since a majority of searches are done via Google, this will make it increasingly difficult to analyze what keywords are working and which aren’t.
It’s said that Google Analytics shouldn’t take too much of a hit, but we found completely otherwise in our research with “not provided” showing up more than any others and increasing every month. Some report double digit increases every quarter. As for external programs such as IBP, Webtrends, SAS and others will become less dominant in that field making any keyword research data culled from Google searches useless. And what choice do the other search providers like Yahoo! and Bing have but to also follow the same trend or be seen as “not secure” and for the most part, they have already followed suit.
It’s hard to argue against user security, but it will make the task of keyword research even more difficult to pinpoint when trying to assess what works and what doesn’t. How are you planning to accommodate for this change in your keyword research strategy or will this even affect you at all?