It has been confirmed, if not quietly, that Google will be encrypting all search data, no matter if the user is signed in or not.
A statement made by Google was meant to clarify this decision:
“We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”
This means that at some point later on in the future, it’s possible that publishers won’t be able to make use of the referrer system. This means that search term data won’t be sent to them directly anymore.
“This certainly does make things harder on publishers who want to know what types of things are searching on that ends up bringing them to their site,” said Stone Temple’s founder and CEO Eric Enge, “This is pretty basic information that they can use to better understand whether or not the content they are providing on the pages of their site matches up well with the incoming search queries.”
The full report can be found here on Marketing Land: