Ted Karczewski

​Marketers who optimize content for SEO spend a lot of time selecting the right terms to include in their keyword strategies. However, Google’s secure search initiatives prevent many brands from understanding what phrases drive the most organic traffic back to their domains.

Brafton reported in Q4 2012 that 40 percent of searches referring traffic back to websites come in as “not provided” At the time, the metric represented a 171 percent year-over-year increase. More, approximately 81 percent of surveyed companies said at least 30 percent of their traffic carried the “not provided” keyword label.

Nearly 12 months later, a new report highlights how Google’s secure search has continued to alter the face of SEO. BrightEdge released a report that found 49 percent of collected queries did not provide any data to webmasters because of Google’s technology. In industries like computer, electronics, software and technology, as much as 56 percent of referral traffic provides marketers with no actionable keyword insights.

Content analytics reporting helps brands discover traffic patterns to improve their content marketing campaigns, but these findings suggest keywords may not always be a reliable source of information as Google enhances its security measures.