Summertime SEO News: Bing to Begin Encrypting Search Engine Traffic

June 25 / Eliot Olson / filed under SEO

Everyone knows that nothing says “summertime” like cold beer, barbecue, baseball, and… default search engine data encryption? Yep, you read that right. In a post last week on the Bing blog, Sr. Product Manager Duane Forrester announced that Microsoft’s search engine will be adjusting its default security procedures later this summer. An exact timeline was not announced, but in the near future all Bing searches will be encrypted by default.

This move follows in the footsteps of the search industry leaders at Google, who started encrypting searches by default for users back in 2013. Before that, they had been encrypting searches for signed-in Google users since 2011. Yahoo, a Microsoft search partner, has been encrypting search traffic by default for about a year. Search encryption had been an available option for all Bing users over the last year and a half, but had never been enabled automatically until now.

So, is this an SEO killer? Are we all doomed? Have no fear; the (somewhat boring) truth is that this news won’t change much for SEO agencies or webmasters in general. Agencies that have experience with SEO have already been dealing with this lack of specific search data on the Google side of things. And because Google brings in the lion’s share of Internet search traffic, this is a problem that nearly all agencies have been maneuvering around for years.

Bing is also doing what it can to help us all out during this transition. Forrester pointed out in his blog post that Bing will still include a referrer string so that analytics will recognize Bing as the source of traffic. This referrer string will feed the Bing Webmaster Tools and the Bing Search Query Terms Report, both of which will allow marketers to glean general information about what search queries triggered ads or organic traffic. This data will not be tied to specific visitors, but general trends and other valuable analytics info will still be available.

Ultimately, this news is less an earth-shaking paradigm shift, and more an instance of a search engine playing catch-up to the competition. Still, it is yet another block removed from the teetering Jenga tower that is search engine analytics. If you’re a business owner who feels like you need an expert to guide you through the uncertain world of SEO, reach out to us at Chair 10 Marketing today. We are here to help you make sense of all this hot summertime SEO news (as well as all the beer, barbecue, and baseball that comes with it).