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Google Chrome's Impact On Not Provided

Not Provided has been a part of SEO Analytics for over a year now. During that time it’s gone from less than 10% of traffic to over 20% on average. Part of this growth has come from Firefox making secure search the default for all users. Google had made it clear that this was eventually going to happen, but the timeline was never clear. Well, over the weekend, Google announced that Chrome 25 (the current developer version of the browser) will use secure search as it’s default as well. The question now is what impact will this have?

I took a look at 25 client to see how their numbers in December would have been different if all of their Chrome traffic had come through as not provided.

The first thing I noticed was that Chrome’s traffic was already nearly 50% not provided, which is somewhat surprising considering that less than a quarter of all traffic shows up that way.

On average, our clients averaged 28% Not Provided in December, the impact of Chrome would increase that 11%, to 39% of traffic. This means that we’re getting close to half of our keyword data being kept back from analytics.

So what do we do now? We start looking for data in other place: webmaster tools provides some information and landing pages can tell you a lot about intent. But, like rankings, we might be seeing keywords losing importance in SEO analytics and the focus shifting to a new success metric. This is an ever changing industry and we'll continue to make adjustments as those changes roll out.