For my clients, I am the main digital guy for all things search and social. As a search/social (we need to find a new term for this…SEO/SMO?) expert I do my best to stay up to date on all current trends and changes. However, every now and then I take a day or two off, come back to the office to check my emails, and find a few people all asking the same questions. In this case, it had to do with this blog post coming in from Search Engine Watch about Google Encryption, and how it is effecting search data. My first take away…”My clients are reading Search Engine Watch!”.  YES……!

When I report organic results to clients a few of the metrics I include are branded organic keywords and visits, and non-branded organic keywords and visits. When your site see’s more non-brand related organic traffic coming to your site from search engines, it means that we are doing our job! Google’s recent change has effected how these numbers are presented.

Google Encrypted Search

In the past

Some one will go to Google, click on an organic listing and enter the website. The keyword that they searched for will be entered in their Google Analytics account.

Whats happening now

Google rolled out secure search in May 2010, and then made an update on October 18 2011. When someone is logged into their Google Account (Gmail, Google +) they will be directed to https://www.google.com (notice the S in the URL) when a search is conducted on this new (er) Secure Google Search will not pass the keyword data to the Google Analytics account.

Not Provided - Google Encrypted Search

This is what Google Analytics is reporting as a result to this change

What does this mean for us?

 

1) We will not be able to identify what search terms people are using when the come to your website.

2) All keyword data from someone logged into their keyword account will be shown as “Not Provided”, coming from 1 keyword source. This effects our reporting. So, if 200 visitors are using 150 keywords to find your site, this new change will register the 150 keywords as 1 “Not provided”

3) This change will not show a decline of traffic from organic search, only a decline in the number of keywords that generated the traffic

How many people does this Google Update effect?

We are estimating that 5% to 15% of visitors coming to your site are logged into their Google Account.

Our team is taking the proper action to monitor this change across our clients analytics account. If you have any questions regarding this change and how/if your site is effected, feel free to contact us.

Resources:

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/making-search-more-secure.html

https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere

http://searchengineland.com/google-to-begin-encrypting-searches-outbound-clicks-by-default-97435

http://searchengineland.com/google-anonymizing-search-records-to-protect-privacy-10736

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