Google’s move towards encrypted search last September has left the online world reeling and searching for alternative sources of keyword information. It looks like online marketers are about to lose more keyword data from yet another source.

A recently published report claims that Microsoft is looking into encrypted traffic and search on Bing. This follows the NSA spying controversy earlier this year, where Microsoft was named one of the companies that the NSA accessed for global communication information. The following previously unreleased slides show the vulnerability of Microsoft properties to NSA interception:

Microsoft Looks Into Encrypted Search on Bing

This slide shows the NSA’s access to a variety of online address books, which includes Microsoft’s Hotmail.

This slide shows an email message accessed by the NSA on Hotmail.

This slide shows a message intercepted by the NSA on Windows Live, as indicated by the string “”

This slide shows a message intercepted by the NSA on Windows Live, as indicated by the string “”

According to the report, Microsoft executives are in the process of discussing the encryption initiatives they will be deploying and when they will be deploying these changes. Microsoft officials are said not to have official confirmation of NSA targeting. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel and EVP for Legal and Corporate affairs, noted that if true, then the allegations “are very disturbing” and that if true, “these actions amount to hacking and seizure of private data and in our view are a breach of the protection guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”

What This Means for You

Many webmasters, website owners and online marketers are currently relying on the data from other search engines and from third-party analytics programs to gather keyword traffic information. Microsoft’s move towards more secure search will limit your resources further following Google’s move and Yahoo!’s announcement of allowing users to opt in to encrypt their information.

I’ve already discussed in a previous blog how you can address the loss of organic referral data. The good news for our partners is we’ve prepared for the further encryption of organic search referral information. This means you will continue receiving detailed information about your organic search traffic in your reports and proposals, and we will continue finding new keyword opportunities for your campaigns. Talk to your account manager today to discuss your SEO strategy.

Remember to sign up for free and become our partner today to gain access to our complete SEO suite and our powerful white label dashboard. Keep checking back for more updates and tips!

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Clayton Wood

Clayton is the Marketing Director of and managing partner of numerous successful online brands offering white label SEO and other online marketing services.