Google’s (Not Provided) Impacting More Than Just SEO Sites

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 @ 6:12 am kknoll

google-not-providedThink that (not provided) is only impacting SEO-related websites? Think again.

The Poynter Institute, a non-profit journalism school that’s well known in media circles, wrote Wednesday about the growing impact that (not provided) is having on publisher websites. Author Steve Myers shared what he found after checking’s analytics:

Keywords were hidden in 29 percent of searches in April. That’s up from 22.5 percent in November, shortly after the change was made. Now “(not provided)” makes up the largest category of search terms, dwarfing the second place term: Poynter. Overall, 6 percent of inbound traffic now comes from a black box.

In the six-plus months since Google began encrypting searches and outbound clicks by default for logged-in users on, (not provided) keyword referrals have grown well beyond the single-digit searches that Google originally said would be affected.

The conventional wisdom has been that it’s a problem that mostly affects SEO- and search industry-related websites — sites that get a lot of traffic from Google via users that are logged in due to using Google Analytics, Gmail, Google AdWords and any number of other Google products that require a login. At the start of the year, though, I shared a few examples of non-tech/non-search sites that were already seeing (not provided) as one of their Top 10 referring keywords only two-and-a-half-months after Google made the change.

With Firefox moving to secure search by default and Google announcing in March that secure search would expand beyond the U.S., it’s nearly certain that (not provided) will become more common and affect more websites well beyond the search and tech industries.

Related Topics: Google: Analytics | Google: Privacy | Google: Web Search

About The Author: is Search Engine Land’s Executive News Editor, responsible for overseeing our daily news coverage. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He blogs at Small Business Search Marketing and can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus.

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