Analysis of 1.7 Million Visits: 6.5% of Google Search Traffic Now Impacted by Google Encrypted Search Results

Analysis of 1.7 Million Visits: 6.5% of Google Search Traffic Now Impacted by Google Encrypted Search Results

Google recently announced their plans to encrypt search results for all logged-in users by stripping the search query from the referral string. (See Conductor’s POV on its impact to search marketing.)

Google is claiming a “single-digit percentage” as the fully ramped estimate of logged-in users. Search Engine Land most recently reported up to 14% of search traffic coming from Google as encrypted.  To expand on their analysis, we analyzed more than 1.7 million visits from five high traffic websites.  We analyzed traffic in the days following the change, October 19- November 2nd by measuring the percentage of natural traffic coming to the sites from Google with the Analytics token ‘not provided’, which, according to the Google Analytics blog is the new way encrypted natural search traffic will be identified.  We then tracked the percentage of ‘not provided’ natural search traffic day over day.

Encrypted Traffic Grows to 6.5% of Google Search Visits

The analysis showed up until Sunday, October 30th less than 1/10 of 1% of natural search traffic was impacted, but by Monday, October 31st that grew to 2.5% and spiked to 6.5% by Wednesday, November 2nd.  This trend suggests Google is continuing to roll out the change gradually but we are not quite seeing some of the numbers being thrown around.

 

Google is stating the rollout will continue over the next few weeks:

Over the next few weeks, many of you will find yourselves redirected to https://www.google.com (note the extra “s”) when you’re signed into your Google Account. This change encrypts your search queries and Google’s results page.

We will continue to keep an eye on the trend and post updates here as appropriate.  Be sure to check out Conductor’s POV on the change.

Are you seeing anything different on your website?

About Nathan Safran

Nathan is the Director of Research at Conductor and leads Conductor’s research and content team. Nathan is a monthly columnist at Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch. Nathan’s research on digital marketing has been widely covered in both industry publications and mainstream media such as Techcrunch, Venture Beat and the Washington Post. Prior to joining Conductor, Nathan was an analyst at Forrester Research.

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  • http://www.hubspot.com Brian Whalley

    For visitors to http://www.hubspot.com, we’re seeing about 14% of our organic search visits now without a keyword set, and the numbers are still rising.

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  • http://www.garthobrien.com/ Garth O’Brien

    I have noticed some sites already clearing 15% of “Not Provided” traffic. The rate of increase during such a short time is quite alarming. With more exposure to this “feature” and the more people buy in that this protects their privacy the more inclined they will be to search while logged in.

    Of course it is funny to think this protects their privacy. When logged out Google presumably does not know who is crafting the search query; that is if they are not snooping around your device. However, when you are logged in Google knows exactly what you are searching for storing that data for their own purposes.

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