We've recently been speaking a little about Google's "not provided" and how it has changed the face of organic search and inbound marketing. There has been a lot of speculation as to how Google did this to prevent SEO professionals from doing their jobs effectively - thus forcing people to opt for paid search services. But now with Microsoft looking to follow suit, perhaps their reasoning is in fact valid. It also further reiterates how we have to "adapt or die" when it comes to surviving on the search landscape.
Stringent Security Measures
Microsoft has been reported to be considering the encryption of the search traffic, which would be as a result of their full Internet traffic encryption. They're said to be doing this in response to the spying and data sweeping controversies where the US National Security Agency (NSA) is concerned. In order to best protect users and their search preferences and to prevent the NSA gaining access to this personal data, Microsoft is considering complete encryption of all search data.
Good news for those who are not comfortable with their personal data being shared, but bad news for marketers who thrived on keyword data.
Microsoft, The Last Bastian Of Keyword Data
Since Google's move to masking all keyword data in Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, marketers have been using Bing and Yahoo data as a small sample of what could be happening on a larger scale in terms of keywords used to find web pages. While it's not accurate, this small sample at least proves what keyword data is relevant and what isn't and offers some direction and guidance.
Bing provides the data for Yahoo search, so it might only be a matter of time before Yahoo follows suit and keyword data becomes a thing of the past. So what does the mean for us? Nothing, really... we already have to adapt to the barren conditions as set forth by Google's "not provided", so this is just further impetus to get going on alternative means of conceptualizing and reporting on organic search campaigns. It is completely possible, but we do need to start thinking less about keywords and more about our content strategies as a whole. With the world of search changing the way it is, you can expect a lot more information on the matter in the near future and you can also guarantee that the words "keyword" or "keyphrase" will soon be known as curse words!