Yesterday Google announced through Dan Sullivan at Search Engine Land that they made secure search the default for all users. Google announced:
We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.
We want to provide SSL protection to as many users as we can, in as many regions as we can — we added non-signed-in Chrome omnibox searches earlier this year, and more recently other users who aren’t signed in. We’re going to continue expanding our use of SSL in our services because we believe it’s a good thing for users….The motivation here is not to drive the ads side — it’s for our search users.
Since its announcement in late 2011, Google’s [not provided] statistics has shown steady growth over the past two years. When Google first announced secure search they suggested that the [not provided] statistics might only make up around 1%. Shortly after the launch of secure search, websites reported 8% [not provided] and more recently we have seen this number reach over in 50%. This week the [not provided] statistic has reached an all-time high on www.notprovidedcount.com of 75.19%. Not Provided Count.com records live analytics data from 60 websites to monitor the flow of not provided statistics. During the past 3 weeks there has been a large increase of [not provided] stats which runs congruent with the newest security announcement from Google.
So why did Google make the change to an all secure search? Google suggest that reason for the security switch is to protect its users. That seems all well and good but at the same time, Google is killing off its own product. Why would Google hurt their own data collection software that millions of companies currently use? One suggestion is that Google wants more people to move over to SEM or Google Adwords campaigns. If more websites rely on adwords for placement, Google stands to see a significant increase in its SEM revenue. While Google vehemently denies this as the reason for the switch, we can only speculate as to the true nature of the change.
Currently, data can still be collected for search queries and clicks through Google webmasters tools. A few months ago, webmasters tools only tracked 30 days of data; however a few weeks prior to the search security rollout, Google started reporting data for 90 days. While this is not great for historical data, this does help SEO professionals get a better understanding of traffic to their sites.
At the moment, SEO companies such as Boston Web Marketing have to move forward with the tools that we have. Currently, no third party statistics software can retrieve the data that Google analytics once provided. In a blog post last week we reviewed “How to Collect Analytics Data with Google Webmasters Tools and Adwords”. This blog provides useful tips on how to collect webmasters tools after 90 days without having to download a new set of statistics every month. Using this method, one should have the ability to collect data on search terms without having to pay for adwords for as long as they like.
By Matthew Wilkos