On October 18, 2011, Google announced via its blog that it is setting the default search settings for all people signed into their Google accounts to an encrypted search.
What does this mean for you? It means that your Google Analytics will no longer tell you keyword data on any person which clicked through to your site while logged into their Google account. This is very crippling from an SEO standpoint as keyword data is vital in your SEO and conversion efforts. Knowing what people were searching for that lead them to the link that they clicked on which brought them to your sight is valuable information to any company’s marketing efforts.
Keep in mind that Google has offered the encrypted search setting for a while now. The key difference is that consumers would have had to go into their setting and manually change this to an encrypted search and, really, who would really do this? Now, it’s encrypted by default, and, using the same logic, which consumers are going to go into their setting and change it to unencrypted? I believe most people would choose to give out less information than more given the option (which they’ve always had). However, I also believe, just like with Facebook privacy settings, that most people will not go into the settings and change them or learn them for that matter. The average consumer lives by default and if the default is now encrypted, it just means that your Google Analytics reports will contain less key information in them.
There is only one exception to this withholding of keyword conversion data. Encrypted keyword data will still be provided to Google Adword advertisers. That’s certainly a value add to entice more businesses to use Google Adwords and a way to leverage and monetize information for Google.
What are your thoughts?
(Originally published October 20, 2011 on Dealer magazine)