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Google (not provided): The keyword used to find this article no longer exists
1L’art de la gestion de projet2Un projet à succès commence par une bonne gouvernance3Cascade, agilité, demandes de changement?

Google (not provided): The keyword used to find this article no longer exists


Under the pretext of respecting confidentiality, Google will no longer reveal to companies the keywords that led visitors to their site, unless these visitors clicked on a paid advertisement. This policy results in changes to how we measure and analyze the success of SEO campaigns.


Organic_Search_Traffic_-_Not Provided
Google Analytics report of organic keywords for the site  www.adviso.ca

Google had, since 2011, introduced a privacy control for users connected to one of their services (Gmail, YouTube, etc.). These searches were therefore carried out in secure mode ( https ), preventing the keywords from being displayed in the traffic measurement tools and gradually increasing the percentage of keywords  (not provided) . This change affected data integrity, but still allowed analysis of keywords from unencrypted searches, which still allowed traditional SEO.

Google had since extended this control to all users of the Chrome browser and finally, on September 23, to all users of its search engine. Yes, that means everyone who uses Google… As the engine is used for 90% of searches on the Web in Canada, the loss of information for companies is major.


According to Google , this change is necessary to ensure the safety of its users:

“We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We're now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in. »

In doing so, Google breaks a tacit agreement: companies allow search engines to index their sites in exchange for traffic, but also search data. This data is used to improve the user experience, which in turn has a positive impact on the quality of search results.

Why did Google go ahead with this measure? Recent reviews accusing him of  cooperating with the NSA  are probably to blame. However, the position of Google, which presents itself as a good citizen of the Web to preserve the anonymity of its users, is doubtful knowing that its AdWords click auction system is not affected.

Businesses with Google AdWords campaigns continue to receive the keywords in their measurement tools. The security of searches on Google is therefore limited, and this limit stops at its finances.

“Your privacy is only protected from people who refuse to pay Google. Period. –Rishi  Lakhani _ 

The thing is, this metric is here to stay, and it will impact traffic analytics and SEO strategies.


Google has been challenging digital marketing professionals for several years, but the trend is growing with these recent changes. The Panda algorithm change penalized sites with low-quality content, and Penguin penalized buying and swapping dubious links. The Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool, the SEO's best friend, has been revised for the worse. Some will say that the noose is tightening on SEO professionals and that the practice will have to evolve. And they are absolutely right! On the other hand, SEO strategies that were booming, such as  meeting user expectations with content that interests them, are becoming essential .

It is the analysis of user needs that becomes more complex. It is now difficult to look at organic traffic metrics at the keyword level. It is the organic traffic as a whole that must be analyzed, as  Charles-David wrote in March 2012 .

Keyword analysis becomes impossible in terms of traffic, conversions generated and SEO opportunities. This includes traffic and conversion growth from non-branded organic traffic — the biggest indicator of SEO success.

In short, there is no longer a simple, precise and effective way to measure actions linked to the brand versus those not linked to the brand.

You think all is lost? Do not worry! You can continue to increase your traffic and organic conversions, but be aware that the measurement methods will no longer be the same. No more keyword reports,  welcome organic conversion reports .


  • Organic traffic per entry page or group of pages
  • The average positioning on groups of keywords (example, local expressions)
  • The conversion rate of organic traffic on key landing pages


Other tools, such as the Google Webmaster Tools keyword report, allow you to have an estimate and an average of the searches and positioning of your sites, according to certain keywords. In addition, several other tools (SEMRush, for example) are still very useful for analyzing keywords, both for AdWords and for organic results. The SEO toolbox is, despite everything, still well filled.

My opinion?

I've been talking about the end of keyword ranking reports on Google for some time now. Why? Because the addition of search results personalization, contextual results — local results, images, etc. — and mobile searches modify the results offered according to, among other things, the user's network, geographic location, context and habits. A traditional first position may imply a less interesting positioning in another context. Nevertheless, the measurement of positioning remains interesting if it is analyzed by groups of expressions and by search context.

The ultimate goal of SEO was—and remains—the relevance of search results to the user, which inevitably leads to increased organic traffic conversion and engagement for businesses. In my opinion, this news  confirms the need for a more holistic view of digital marketing , of which SEO is a part, where keywords no longer matter as much.

What impact do you think this change will have on your digital communications? Is it a drastic change in practice, measurement and analysis?

This being my first article on the Adviso blog, your opinions and comments will be appreciated. Too technical, or not enough? I look forward to reading your comments.



  • May 21, 2010 – Google launches encrypted search, initially accessible via  https://encrypted.google.com  this feature is very little used.
  • October 18, 2011 – Google announces that searches performed by users of Google products will now be secure. Adoption remains minor.
  • March 2012 – Firefox, with its new browser version, encrypts all Google searches by default.
  • January 2013 – Google launches version 25 of its Chrome browser, then used by 30% of Internet users worldwide, which encrypts all searches.
  • September 23, 2013 – All searches performed on Google are now in secure mode (this concerns only clicks from organic results).