Last week SEO and online marketing professionals all had a collective freakout as keyword data stopped showing up in Webmaster Tools. They even made memes! Well there is good news, Google has said the issue was an unintended bug, and should be fixed soon.
Google made a very public switch to secure search last week, in an effort to encrypt all search information and provide “extra protection” to searchers. Webmasters immediately noticed nearly all of their keyword referral data disappeared and was replaced with “(not provided)”. The best way to deal with the issue was to access similar keyword data under Search Queries within the Search Traffic section of Google Webmaster Tools.
But there was a problem, when secure search was implemented that keyword data stopped being reported or provided within Webmaster Tools. Many questioned whether this was a mistake or a change in policy, while the regular anti-Google group proclaimed Google had lied and was intentionally hiding the data; Matt Cutts had previously estimated only one to two percent of keyword data would be affected by secure search.
Now, John Mueller, a member of the Google Webmaster Tools team in Europe, as well as a separate Google spokesperson have both clarified the missing data was the result of the bug, and they are working hard to solve the problem.
Mueller posted to the Google Webmaster Central forum, “The team is aware of the problem and working on speeding that data back up again. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.” The spokesperson told Search Engine Watch, “We’ve recently fixed a small bug related to data reporting in Webmaster Tools. We expect reporting to return to normal in the coming days.”