Still struggling with consequences of Google’s 100% ‘not provided’ keyword data, the SEO community gets another surprise, this time from Yandex. Earlier today, quite unexpectedly, Yandex announced [in Russian] that in order to protect its users’ privacy they will now start encrypting 100% of searches.
The search engine began with encrypted search in December last year. By February 2014 the share of encrypted searches reached 30% for some websites.
Yandex explains the decision to encrypt referrer data by privacy concerns over various 3rd party systems, such as counters, advertizing tools, widgets etc. being able to gather a lot of user behavior and interest data that is to a large extent private.
Yandex also notes that the purpose of this change is to protect the user, and unlike Google, Yandex does not make the life of site owners and SEOs more difficult. The keyword data will be fully available to website owners through Yandex.Metrika and Yandex.Webmaster (but not through Google Analytics or any other non-Yandex products).
This move is also likely to have a positive effect on adoption of Yandex.Metrika in Russia, which currently only holds 24% market share, according to the recent study done by TopAnalytics, a web analytics agency from Russia.