Wildcard Friday – Google Encrypting Searches

By Joe


Today I’ll be covering the recent news from Google that they will begin encrypting searches of users that are logged into Google services.

Google announced on October 18th that users signed into their services will have SSL encryption set to default for organic searches on their search engine. This means users signed into a Google service like Gmail or AdWords will now have their search queries encrypted, which will prevent sites using analytics from knowing which search terms they entered on. They will instead just be able to see that a user entered their site through an organic search in Google.

For example, if I search for a blue widget in Google while I’m logged into my account, and click on the first result, the site I clicked on will not be able to see in their analytics which phrase I used to find their site, and will only be able to see that a user entered through an organic Google search.

So what does this mean to you as a site owner or webmaster? Fortunately, Matt Cutts from Google claims that this will only impact less than 10% of searches entering your site. However, in the event that it does impact a much higher number, there are several ways to continue using data in your analytics to make educated decisions for keyword targeting and optimization.

First, you can continue using the data from users not logged into Google as well as organic data from Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. In addition , Google recently integrated Webmaster Tools data into Google Analytics which can be used to see some of the top search query data bringing users to your site. However, it’s important to note that this data isn’t always the most accurate, so it will be important to pair it with other analytical data. Finally, if your site uses PPC services like Google AdWords, it will be important to use this data as well as it can provide further insight on click through rates and conversions, which can help you make even better business decisions around keyword optimization.