A new report finds that in some markets such as computers, electronics, software and technology, as much as 56% of the search traffic is listed as ‘not provided’ in the analytics results.  This is due, in large part, to the increased security measures put in place by Google and the other search engines.  When traffic is routed through https connections, the referrer is not passed on.  This is intentional, and part of the increased security of this type of traffic.

The major problem for marketers is that the keywords which are driving traffic to their sites are extremely important pieces of information for content marketing, PPC campaigns and even product creation.  With over half of the traffic to a site not displaying how and where it came from, it is extremely difficult for marketers to plan their strategies properly.

Even in niches where the percentage of traffic coming through secure transmission is lower, it is still a major problem.  The survey found that 49% of collected queries didn’t list any data for webmasters due to Google’s technology.  This is up from 40% in a separate survey done in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Clearly increased security is an important part of the future of the Internet, but there must be a balance with information gathering.  Whether it is Google, or a third party, it is essential for the future of effective Internet Marketing to find a way to pass this type of information on.  This isn’t just going to benefit marketers, of course, but also the users who are able to benefit from the improved content created by the marketers.

What has your experience been regarding ‘not provided’ referrers?  About what percentage of your traffic is coming from unknown sources?  Please share in the comments below.

You can see the full study HERE, and the Q4 2012 study HERE.

What's your opinion?