Bing to Encrypt Search Data by Default

As a part of their plans to improve user privacy, Bing plans to start encrypting all search traffic by default as of this summer. Currently, users have the option to choose whether or not they want their search traffic encrypted. This option was introduced about 18 months ago, but many users do not realise that it exists. When search traffic is encrypted, it is sent through the HTTPS protocol. Webmasters can expect to see more traffic coming from Bing via HTTPS, rather than by unencrypted HTTP as the change is rolled out. Once the rollout is complete, users will be able to search confidently without fear that any query information they enter – especially over wireless networks – is likely to be intercepted by malicious parties.

Referrer Strings Will Still Be Passed

To enable webmasters to identify traffic coming from Bing, the search giant will continue to pass a referrer string with each query. However, Bing will not actually provide detailed data about the exact search query that was performed. Rather, there will be only limited data offered, including a “Search Query Terms Report” which will give users some information about which queries caused their ads to appear, as well as information about ad click-through rate, total impressions and conversions. Webmasters will also have access to Universal Event Tracking – a tool which offers enhanced metrics such as page views per visit, the length of the visit, and bounce rate, as well as Bing’s Webmaster Tools, which maintains its own keyword data and ranking data. This move will bring Bing in line with Google in terms of the level of privacy offered to users. Google does not provide keyword data with all searches any more, and this is one reason why so many webmasters had started paying attention to Bing. The rival search engine’s decision to stop providing as much information to webmasters may be an unpopular one.

More Reasons to Use Paid Search

Now that it is so hard to get query data from organic search, we can expect to see more and more webmasters relying on paid search for the same information, since the advertising tools offer details of which keywords triggered their ads. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for webmasters to identify long-tail keywords that they may otherwise have overlooked, without having to use third party keyword tools to gain access to this information.


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