Bing allows for encrypted search

Following Google’s recent move towards 100% not provided keyword data towards the end of 2013, Bing has also begun to encrypt its searches by introducing an HTTPS version – though while data still passes from Bing HTTPS to other HTTPS sites, it remains to be seen whether this will continue in the future.

Following Google’s recent move towards 100% not provided keyword data towards the end of 2013, Bing has also begun to encrypt its searches by introducing an HTTPS version – though while data still passes from Bing HTTPS to other HTTPS sites, it remains to be seen whether this will continue in the future.

So, why should we care?

Well, simply because we’re getting less and less in the way of actionable keyword data (despite Webmaster Tools starting to provide more in-depth information) and Bing has traditionally always provided this referral data. So, Bing introducing an encrypted search might be the start of their searches moving towards being fully not provided in the future too.

While they have not begun making any encrypted searches compulsory - even for those signed into their Microsoft accounts, as Google initially did – we might see this in the future.

Here in the UK, Bing is not widely used as a default search engine. Google dominates the search landscape here even more than in the US, so there’s a limit to how much we can actually do with such a small amount of referral data.

Combining the limited data Google still passes and the small volume of data Bing provides does offer some insight marketers can use - namely looking at these keywords and seeing if there are perhaps opportunities for driving traffic around these phrases.

Losing (potentially) part of this isn’t the blow moving towards 100% not provided from Google was - though there are, of course, ways towards making educated guesses at what this lost data implies - but with Bing gaining more of the market share, this might become something we lament in the future. If, as an example, Bing grows to the same sort of size here as in the US (somewhere around an 18% market share) then the loss of this data would indeed be a real shame.

Speaking to Search Engine Land Microsoft explained that by allowing searches via HTTPS as well as HTTP, it allowed people to decide how best to use Bing. He added that balancing the needs for security and privacy with the needs of marketers for clear data was at the top of their agenda.