Last week Bing announced that in the next couple of months they’ll follow Google’s lead and encrypt all search traffic by default. This means that any search traffic websites receive from Bing will come from https://www.bing.com, rather than http://www.bing.com. More to the point, search query terms won’t show in web analytics reports. Instead of being able to see what specific search terms are driving visitors to their website and how well they perform in terms of conversions, webmasters will have the frustration of now just seeing [not provided] instead, as they have for several years with organic search traffic from Google.
Ostensibly this is being done for the same reasons Google cites, which is to protect the privacy of customer data. Really? As with Google, this concern about privacy rings hollow because it only applies to organic search. Advertisers on Bing will still able to see what search queries triggered ads and the associated performance metrics such as clicks, impressions and conversions.
Why should you care?
For most NZ website owners this really won’t mean much because, whilst losing search query data in web analytics tools is annoying, the reality is that Bing only contributes a very small amount of traffic to most sites. Frankly we’re surprised Bing is so doggedly following Google’s footsteps. Microsoft keeps trying to convince the market that Bing is a credible challenger to Google, so we wonder why they’re not taking the opportunity to differentiate themselves by continuing to provide search query data & thereby build goodwill with webmasters.
We should mention that whilst Google – & soon Bing – no longer provide data about specific organic search query terms that can be analysed against user behaviour in tools like Google Analytics, all is not lost. Both provide website owners with limited organic keyword data through Google Webmaster Tools (now called Search Console) and Bing Webmaster Tools.
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Jeremy and Mark are two of the partners behind SureFire Search. Despite their deceptively youthful appearances, both have worked in search marketing for many years. To put that in context, Google didn't even exist when Jeremy started.