The Impact of Google Chrome Going Private

    By Jonathan Gordon | Small Business

    Private browsing is nothing new, but Google has changed the way this feature is implemented in the latest version of the Chrome browser. While users once needed to turn on Incognito mode or be logged in to their Google account for private searching, all searches placed in the URL bar will soon be encrypted by default.

    Website owners using Analytics have already experienced the impact of private browsing on keyword analysis, but the newest version of Chrome will lead to many more instances of keywords not being provided in traffic reports.

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    How Chrome Secure Search Feature Hides Keywords From Analytics

    Private browsing or secure searches work by hiding user and cookie data from advertisements and websites. More importantly however, it also encrypts the contents of the user’s search queries and does not allow this information to be stored in the history. Chrome’s private browsing feature is called Incognito, but the upcoming release will encrypt searches without private browsing mode enabled.

    Google’s latest secure search feature means that every Chrome user will be encrypting their queries by default. Even if the users are not logged in to a Google account, these searches will be hidden from Analytics and report as ‘not provided’ by default.

    Google Chrome Is One of The Most Used Web Browsers Today

    According to data taken from Chartbeat, Chrome accounts for over 30 percent of the browsers on the Internet at any given time. Statistically, this means that website owners can expect up to 35 percent of keyword data not being provided.

    Secure searches and private browsing have already increased the absence of data for SEO analysis, but Chrome’s latest feature developments will make it much harder to optimize your website based on analytical data.

    New Search Engine Optimization Challenges

    If you or your company analyzes keyword traffic for SEO purposes, the changes to Chrome can make determining the success of your keyword content much more difficult

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    Even if you are receiving a high volume of traffic to a particular page, identifying the keyword group responsible for the traffic can be challenging. The importance of knowing which keywords are attracting the most visitors is crucial to the success of any website, but there is a way to overcome the limitations posed by Chrome’s new features.

    Using Google Webmaster Tools To Determine Hidden Keyword Data

    While Google encrypts your search queries from other sites, this data is still retrieved and stored by Google’s servers. After all, not many companies will hide user data from themselves. If your website is registered with Google’s Webmaster Tools, then a little work will get you some of the data you require.

    When you view your normal Analytics data, it will list normal keyword traffic along with private browsing searches that display not provided results. If your Analytics are tied to the domains Google Webmaster Tools, you can view an entire list of keyword traffic from encrypted and non-encrypted searches.

    In order to determine which keywords were initially not provided, you’ll need to compare the two lists and eliminate the keywords shown on both reports. The remaining keywords can then be identified according to the pages they were found on and a process of further elimination. This can be a very tedious process, but will allow you to view some of those keywords that are essential to the SEO goals of your website.

    Today’s Internet users have some of the best privacy features at their disposal. With the increasing demand of personal Internet privacy, incognito browsing and encrypted web searches are definitely here to stay. Although these implementations have made it more difficult to analyse traffic data, Chrome and other browser software have made using the Internet safer and more secure than ever before.

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