No Search Box in Chrome- Shift from ‘SEO’ to ‘direct’ traffic?

I have just read on Search Engine Roundtable  that Google is working on the new version of Chrome and that Google Search Box might be going away in that version, but what all of that actually mean for SEOs?

Firstly, the article  ( reminds about the encrypted searches and that they are going to be launch as default in the next version of Chrome. That will obviously increase the amount of SEO ‘not-provided’ traffic’ significantly (that traffic will shift from branded and unbranded buckets).

Secondly, there is news about the search box might be deleted and replaced with Omnibox only (the URL bar with search functionality).

What the article doesn’t cover is the fact that additionally, the huge part of SEO branded traffic (so the part that would move to ‘not-provided’ bucket) might shift to ‘direct’ traffic.

To explain in more details…
At the moment, people are used to the search box, so they using it even for the navigational searches and that traffic (which for some website can be massive) is going to the SEO branded bucket, e.g. when type for ‘thomas cook’ brand, we get the below results and more likely we will click on it:

thomas cook-google search

thomas cook-google search


However, when there is only Omnibox available, the journey might be different (the below screenshot was taken with cookie disabled), visitors get URL suggestion, so they can go directly to the site (without clicking on results in SERP):

thomas cook-omnibox

Since CPC for website’s own branded terms is really low, by making this change, Google’s revenue will not be effected that much. What will be effected a lot is SEO (branded of not-provided bucket- confusing:), so job well done. Keeping in mind that, only real brands have disproportional amount of organic branded traffic, those website’s SEO overall performance might drop quite a lot!

To download the latest version of Chrome, go to

Mags Sikora

I'm Mags, an SEO Consultant, London