Ouch. Google is moving to encrypt its keyword research data. Search Engine Watch reports:
Nearly two years after making one of the biggest changes to secure search that resulted in a steady rise in “(not provided)” data, Google has switched all searches over to encrypted searches using HTTPS. This means no more keyword data will be passed to site owners.
Although a total shutoff hasn’t happened yet, Hubspot believes that 74% of user keyword data is now encrypted.
Why is Google encrypting keyword data?
Probably to shove recalcitrant marketers over to Pay Per Click, as Hubspot points out:
So Google says, the reason for the switch is to provide “extra protection” for searchers. Search Engine Land, however, suspects that Google may also be attempting to block NSA spying activity — since Google was accused of giving the National Security Agency access to its search data back in June (which it has strongly denied). We also can’t help but think that, because Google is encrypting search activity for everything but ad clicks, this is a move to get more people using Google AdWords.
The short answer to “why” is because Google can, and because it believes that it will gain an advantage (profit) in some way.
Can YOU live without Google keyword data?
Of course you can. Although having keyword data kindly provided by Google was a nice bonus, raw keyword data stopped being useful years ago.
In Hubspot’s article, Aaron Anders suggests:
“SEO marketers need to be focused on raising organic traffic as a whole, achieving business objectives like online sales and lead generation, growing branded communities, and earning brand mentions. This move by Google will force SEO marketers to focus on business results rather than keywords — which is where the focus should be anyway.”
Exactly. (You can still get the data, of course. Just run an AdWords campaign.)
In general, focus on building your business — use your content to add value to your products.