About two years ago, Google announced that searches made on a secure Google webpage would no longer deliver the search term to the destination site. Almost immediately following the announcement, certain SEO bloggers began claiming the death of SEO, and websites began to count down to the day when keyword data would disappear completely.

That fateful day came this past September 23rd when the SEO world was again abuzz following reports that Google would be moving all searches over to encrypted searches, meaning site owners would no longer be able to see keyword data. The chaos that followed was nothing short of comical, check out this ridiculous video for an overblown representation of the industry’s panic over 100% (Not Provided).

However, despite the doom and gloom that 100% (Not Provided) inspired, things at Bluetrain have been business as usual.

The following is an interview with our resident SEO expert, Tina Wilson. Let Tina walk you through 100% (Not Provided), and show how to move forward without busting a blood vessel over your new keyword reports.

Interview with Tina, Bluetrain’s SEO expert.

Diana: Tina, please explain to us what (Not Provided) means.

Tina: (Not Provided) means that you cannot see the referral keywords from the URL string. It means someone has been logged into Google secure search which is the default now.

Diana: Why has Google decided to move towards 100% (Not Provided)?

Tina: Officially, the statement is that they want to preserve privacy on the web. Some people think that it is in reaction to accusations that came earlier in the year that Google data was being shared with the NSA to spy on U.S. citizens. But no one knows for sure.

It should be noted that they are still providing that data for paid search, which goes against the statement that it is there to protect the privacy of people who use Google services, because, obviously, if someone is paying they are not being protected.

Diana: What does this mean for SEO and marketing managers?

Tina: It really depends on how you have done your SEO in the past. I think if you have been very focused on keywords, very focused on keyword rankings, in particular for specific pages, you are going to feel the pinch a little bit more than people who have been focused on marketing as an overall strategy.

The days of focusing on keyword terms or keyword baskets are over. We are not going to be able to effectively map our search traffic to any kind of keyword-based information. You are not going to be able to say: “This is the page I am targeting with these terms.” That kind of SEO is dead.

Good solid SEO, which is focused on quality content and proper marketing in effective coordination with other efforts, such as social media and paid search, is very much alive and well.

Diana: What are your thoughts when you read blogs proclaiming the death of SEO?

Tina: I think the death of a very specific type of SEO occurred, and I think that it probably should have.

Diana: What should we focus on moving forward from this?

Tina: Holistic marketing on the web. We need to be thinking about how online marketing efforts coordinate with offline marketing efforts. We need to be thinking about the quality of what we’re doing on the web. We need to be more tactical, more strategic, and more encompassing of other lines of marketing online and off.

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