What does this mean?
Traffic originating from Bing will start to come from https://www.bing.com, instead of http://www.bing.com.
According to the company, Bing has offered the option to encrypt search traffic for the past year and a half. However, businesses will soon be discovering that their search traffic coming from Bing will be encrypted by default.
The move puts Bing on equal footing with Google which has been encrytping search traffic for three years now.
The company lists user privacy as its main motivation for the change.
Microsoft says in the announcement:
“Microsoft has a long-history and deep commitment to helping protect our customers’ data and the security of their systems. While this change may impact marketers and webmasters, we believe that providing a more secure search experience for our users is important.”
While the move does help promote privacy for users, it’s not so great for the SEO community.
The company will still be passing along a referrer string so webmasters and marketers will know what traffic is coming from Bing. But they will no longer be providing the used query terms. So, marketers will not know all the keywords users have used to find their site on Bing.
Bing has made some effort to support webmasters and marketers through tools that will “provide some limited query term data,” as the company puts it. These tools include Search Query Terms Report, Universal Event Tracking, and Bing Webmaster Tools with keyword and ranking data.
As Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land sums up the issue:
“The [not provided] saga will be expanded from Google to Bing, where marketers won’t be able to know in detail how searchers are finding their sites through the top two leading search engines.”
The new Bing encryption changes will begin rolling out this summer. The company has said changing over to default encryption will be a process so you might not see the changes all at once.
More in: Bing