Publishing analytics startup Parse.ly released its second quarterly “Authority Report” on Wednesday. The highlight: Dark search now accounts for the vast majority — over 87 percent — of referrals from Google’s search engine.
“Dark search” means search terms aren’t included in the data that a publisher gets when someone finds its site via Google. Publishers will know users came from Google, but that’s about the extent of it. Naturally, the practice has caused some headaches in the SEO world, but one has to assume people have become accustomed to the opacity by now.
Besides, one could argue that SEO is soon to be a relic as the field of intelligent search continues to advance. Google and others are betting that consumers care less about keywords than they do about context — that is, finding the content or information they want whether or not it happens to contain exact phrases. I’d bet they’re right.
Otherwise, the Parse.ly report is very similar to the one it put out in August: Facebook dominates social referrals, Feedly dominates RSS referrals and — whether it’s including search terms or not — Google dominates everything.