Finally a lit­tle relief from the ambigu­ous realm of “not pro­vided.” Face­book recently announced that vir­tu­ally all users will now have a secure con­nec­tion by default. Although the con­cept itself is noth­ing new, the fact that Face­book will be also pass­ing along refer­rer data (while still pre­serv­ing user IDs and other sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion) to sites with or with­out a secure con­nec­tion is some­thing worth discussing.

Facebook’s embrace of HTTPS comes at a time when the issue of con­sumer pri­vacy is being hotly debated. Direct access to the wants and needs of cus­tomers seems to be dimin­ish­ing as more data sources shift to secure search. And as more large com­pa­nies change their stance on refer­rer data, the future of search data Web ana­lyt­ics seems a bit shaky overall.

Take the issue of “key­word not pro­vided,” which I recently dis­cussed in depth, and the star­tling fact that 40 to 60 per­cent of web­sites are miss­ing keyword-level data.  For now, hid­ing key­word data is accepted as a basic tenet of con­sumer pri­vacy. A recent study pub­lished by Search Engine Land found that the level of search data obscu­rity depends pri­mar­ily on your audi­ence. Still, one of the great­est SEO chal­lenges search mar­keters face is how to pull miss­ing data through in a way that pre­serves con­sumer pri­vacy. If Face­book can find a way to pre­serve mar­ket­ing data, why can’t we pre­serve it for SEO?

What mar­ket­ing data do you believe should be hid­den? What should be revealed?