Last week, Google made a switch to send all searches through Google SSL search.  Previously, only users signed into their Google account (gmail, youtube, etc.) had their searches passed through a secure search, and encrypted.  Now, all searches will be encrypted, and no keyword data will be shared.

Why does this matter?  Well, I’m sure you have noticed the large portion of traffic from “(not provided)” in your Google Analytics.  Get ready to notice that a lot more, as Google has cut off all keyword data.  This means that Google searches will not pass data through to your website, removing your ability to see what keywords are driving traffic to your website.  Well, other search engines like Yahoo and Bing will still populate Adwords with keyword data, but not from Google.

So it just became a whole lot harder to determine what your site’s major keywords driving traffic are, which keywords are converting to sales, as well as any other keyword-related research you may have enjoyed doing in the past.  I’ll let that sink in…  No more keyword data in Google Analytics. A sad day for keyword data junkies.Grumpy Keyword Cat

Now, luckily, Google is still displaying keyword data in Webmaster Tools for a 90 day history.  However, the data is notoriously inaccurate, especially the average position, but it does at least give you an idea of what search terms are driving people to your website.

In late August, Google also made a change to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, which allowed you to research keywords and gather data on the number of broad and exact searches were made for a particular keyword or set of keywords.  This was an excellent tool to use for keyword research for your niche and understand the potential traffic for your own website.  On August 23rd, Google replaces the Keyword Tool with the Keyword Planner, which is essentially a tool to try to get you to use Adwords.  However, it does display exact match keyword search data if you know how to use it.  This change made it that much harder for people to research their industry’s keywords, find new keywords to target, and understand the overall search opportunity for their business.

Now let’s think about the combined impact of these two changes.  The first is that it is harder to research keywords and to find out what keywords would be good to target for your website.  The second is that Google has taken away visibility into which keywords are driving traffic and converting to sales on your website.  So, not only is it harder to research what keywords would be good to target for your site, but it is also harder to determine which keywords are already working and driving traffic and sales to your site!

Despite these changes from Google, there are still strategies to determine what keywords are driving traffic to your site, understand which pages are attracting the most visits, and determine the best keywords to target for the most opportunity.  Sure it is harder and more complicated to determine this data, but it can be done using a combination of different tools and a little brain power.

Submit Digital can help you get your data back, and come up with a strategy on how to increase your website’s traffic and sales.  Contact us today to learn more.