Ok its not quite that simple but in a bid to have a more secure web Google is now going to be blocking keyword information when a user lands on a website which means you won’t be able to see what a user searched for to find your website you will so “not provided”. This change only affects organic search traffic (if you are using ppc and adwords you will still see the keyword used) and it will only apply to users who are logged in.
Naturally this has lead to quiet uproar from the SEOs of the world. First of all seemingly fine websites get hit by panda in September and October. Now thanks to the default SSL setting websites will no longer be able to see what keywords drove traffic to their pages. This information is great for SEOs and is almost a basic necessity to help improve your site and how it performs. Are people coming via a search term and not getting enough information for the quiery that landed them on that page. Previously you could see that but now you won’t be able to. Have to you been basic your keyword building on a particular keyword, now you won’t know how much traffic is actually coming from keywords of that nature.
Matt Cutts says it will effect less than 10% of search traffic but there is nothing stopping them from rolling this out as a default to all users. The way around it seems to make your site secure and get an SSL Certificate, but that costs. Some SEOs are saying that by letting Google crawl and index our data we should be allowed to see what people are searching for to find our site. Another concern is that despite it being for “privacy” and security, if you are paying for searches this goes out the window and you can see the users data as normal.
Users have long been worried that they don’t want other people seeing what they searched for especially if its for an embarrassing or personal search, but no-one has ever had any concerns about letting the website you clicked or and are using know what you searched for to find that site. Why would you? I don’t see Google backtracking and changing this but it does seem like a bad few weeks for SEOs. At least we got that leaked Google quality rating guidline document so we have a clearer picture of what Google look for when it comes to manually rating websites.