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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is Google's Encrypted Search, A Bane Or Boon For The SEO Industry?

Author : Bharati Ahuja

Google recently announced their strategy to make search more secure . Google says as search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users.

This means that in the Google Analytics Report we will no longer see the referrer keyword which initiated the click if the person searching is signed in to his Google Account and this will be applicable only to organic searches. The PPC clicks will continue to see the keyword data as Google has to account for every paid click to the Adwords Account Holder.

This has raised many mixed reactions from the SEO community. In fact a very big hue and cry from the SEO blogs all over the blogosphere that this kind of discrimination of data in Google Analytics is a big step by Google to promote paid search .

Google has further mentioned on the blog post that :

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. They can also receive an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to their site for each of the past 30 days through Google Webmaster Tools. This information helps webmasters keep more accurate statistics about their user traffic.

Now it can be understood why before this announcement was made, Google had announced the integration of Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics and introduced the Search Engine Optimization option under the Traffic Sources in Google Analytics.

In order to monitor and analyze the keyword data in a holistic manner for an SEO campaign integrating the Google Analytics with Google Webmaster Tools will become necessary.

Though many in the SEO world have taken this development as an attack on the organic search scene, I think it is a qualitative step ahead for SEO for the following reasons:

  •  The keyword data if it comes as a result of personalized search and reflects the organic click in Google Analytics does not reflect the genuine organic click as the SERPs of personalized search vary from the search results when the personalized search is off. The main reason being the fact that when the person is logged in the ranking for that particular query may be much higher due to his preferences and past history. But due to the social media integration in search results it is not only about the history but also about what you have shared on social media using that Google account, hence all the more reason for the person to be totally logged out from his Google Account if he wants to see true and accurate organic SERPs which are not influenced by any personal preference and are a result of the SEO effort put in for that.

  •  The SEOs will have to educate their clients about this change which will make the users more smart about using search and will be able to appreciate genuine search results of SEO campaigns.

  •  This will take SEO campaigns above the metrics of keywords and rankings and the focus will be on other quality metrics like CTR , conversions, bounce rate, etc. which will improve the quality of the web overall as the websites besides being rich in content will have to focus on good landing pages, a proper call to action, page load speed and good navigation which will ensure a better UX .


I Think if Google introduces the continuous scroll for search results along with this development of making search more secure then every SEO campaign will genuinely go beyond the metrics of keywords and rankings and only those SEOs focusing on the true meaning of SEO and working on technical and quality aspects like  getting the site getting indexed properly in the search engines, improving the internal architecture, educating the client about his overall web presence will be the ones who will survive.

It is very difficult to know the main objective of Google behind this development. Even if today it may be for promoting paid search as many believe, but in the long run it will surely make the organic search scene more qualitative and carve a genuine and true niche for SEO.

Related Articles On  The SEO Blogosphere:

Google To Begin Encrypting Searches & Outbound Clicks By Default With SSL Search

Poll: What does Google dropping keyword data mean for SEOs?