Just How Soon Will Google’s Dark Search Take Over?

Last month, we combined the two things we love the most at Parse.ly: analytics and digital media, to create our first  Authority Report. We collect data on billions of pageviews across hundreds of  top-tier news sites. Just as individual newsroom editors can benefit from content and post analytics, so too can the entire digital media industry benefit from our aggregate trends.

Each month, the  Authority Report  reviews traffic sources to our network so that publishers can adjust their content strategies accordingly. Our most recent report covers trends in search, social, RSS readers, and aggregators. Take a look at the charts by subscribing to the report  here, or take a look at the highlights below.

Currently, a whopping 46% of total referrer traffic is search. The top five search engines are: Google sites (defined as an aggregate of all Google-owned properties), Yahoo, Bing, Ask, and DuckDuckGo. Google sites continue to dominate in fact it dominates every other referrer as well.

The internet has been abuzz with losing data on Google search keywords. We’ll leave it to the SEO experts to tell you how to  deal with this. What we can show you is how soon you’ll have to deal with it (hint: very, very, soon).


In just three months, hidden search terms (aka “not provided” keywords) grew by 70% and are on track to completely phase out by November, 2013.

“Dark search” isn’t the only kind of dark traffic, though. As content publishers dive deeper into their audience, they’re also discovering errors in assumptions from traditional analytics tools like Google Analytics and Adobe SiteCatalyst / Omniture. You can also listen to Parse.ly CTO Andrew Montalenti dive into this topic further on this  podcast.

The  Authority Report  subscription is FREE for all journalists who intend to use the data in articles and for all employees of media companies who may seek to formulate content strategy based on the data. Sign up  here!