Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines
Not too long ago Google made an announcement that they would be making search more secure. It will begin sending users that are signed in to their Google account to a secure version of the site when they perform a search. Since search is becoming more and more customized the purpose of this change is to protect personalized search results for users.
While this seems like a good move from a search engine user perspective, it leaves search engine marketers with a lot of questions.
According to Google:
When you search from https://www.google.com, websites you visit from our organic search listings will still know that you came from Google, but won’t receive information about each individual query.
So now as a website owner or a search engine marketer working on behalf of a client, when you check Analytics data you are no longer provided with entrance keywords from users that are signed in to their Google account. Obviously, from an SEO standpoint, this is a huge bummer. Instead of seeing a full list of keywords, you will now see a number of them listed under “(not provided)”. Google claims that this will only affect a small percentage of searches, but we beg to differ.
Really what it comes down to is the industry that you are in. In a B2B service industry like ours, it’s other business professionals that are searching for our services. The number of professionals that use Gmail, Google Talk, or Google+ on a daily basis is huge. Many are logged in all day every day. This means that in an industry like ours, the impact will be a much larger percentage.
What is even more frustrating is that this data is still being provided for Google advertisers, even if someone that clicks on their ad is logged in to their account. It leads you to question how concerned Google really is with privacy, or if they are just trying to get more people to pay up.
Another thing to consider is the prevalence of the Android market. In order to use a Droid phone, you need a Gmail account. As more and more people are searching on a Droid, that’s more and more people that are searching securely.
As the number of “(not provided)” keywords continues to increase, it may be necessary to purchase Analytics. This data is absolutely essential for SEO decisions and business decisions in general.