About six weeks ago, I reported that Google is beginning to encrypt search referral traffic of users who are logged-in to their Google accounts, meaning webmasters wouldn’t know from which keywords visitors have entered their site while it will be marked in their analytic as (not provided).
After many reactions from the webmasters community, Google representative stated that it will only affect few search queries (“single digit percentage”). However, it seems that during those six weeks since the announcement, the encrypted referral traffic from Google only rose to more than just a few search queries…
Reports From The Web
Couple of weeks ago, SEOmoz have posted the survey results they conducted among 60 different websites, about the average encrypted referral traffic they receives from Google. Their survey results report is showing an obvious gradual increase of (not provided) keywords:
In the first week after the announcement between October 19th to October 26 (not provided) keywords were only less than 2%. One week later between October 27th to November 3rd it rose to a little below 6% and from November 4th to November 10th it went up to about 12%!
SEOmoz were also kind enough to provide their own site traffic data stats which showed similar trend: Between October 19th to October 30th (not provided) keywords were only 2.3%, but during the next couple of weeks the percentages have grew drastically to 18.34%, much more than their survey results.
The SEO platform provided, Conductor, also examined this issue– They tested five websites with high traffic (more than 1.7 monthly visitors in total) since Google’s announcement. Their results so far are showing gradual increase in (not provided) keywords as well, however in smaller percentages:
We can see that from October 19th to November 20th all five websites had a gradual increase in (not provided) keywords. Four out of the five websites have reached to about 10% of encrypted referral traffic and the last website (Site 2 in the graph) is showing only 2%-4%.
My own website traffic stats are showing that in the last two weeks (November 13th to November 27th) my (not provided) keywords are about 15% from the total referral traffic i am receiving from Google.
It seems that the early estimations of “single digit percentage” are inaccurate and the real number is much higher. I also predict that will see the total encrypted referral traffic only goes up as Google are encouraging (pretty aggressively) the users to be logged-in at all times to their Google account.