Research / SEO

Encrypted search results – Changes in Google

I’m getting a little geeky today – for folks who don’t lean as geeky, I’m going to just remind you of my favorite handcrafted online store: http://www.etsy.com/. You might want that leading up to the holidays. Now for the geeky set…

Last week Google announced some big changes in how they are going to share info with other web site. If you’re a searcher, I think this is good news. If you are a website owner who checks stats, it’s not such good news.

Google will no longer be sharing keyword data with web sites for folks who perform searches on www.google.com and are logged in on a secure connection. Until today, webmasters could generally see where a visitor originated and if they came from Google, the webmaster could see what search they performed that results in the click to the owner’s site. So if you do a search on [diet dog food] and then click to Tommy’s Dog Food House – Tommy used to be able to see that someone came from Google and searched for [diet dog food]. Now Tommy can only see that a visitor came from Google.

This makes life tough for website owners for a couple of reasons – first you don’t know what terms people are successfully using to find you. Second – website owners often track traffic a step beyond and really like to know if someone who clicks on [diet dog food] goes through to purchase. Now that the keyword is gone – so is a lot of conversion tracking (tracking to see who converted from shopper to buyer). Third – some websites alter their content based on those search keywords. It doesn’t matter if you are using Google Analytics or another traffic tracking software – you won’t be able to get this info for organic listings. (Organic here just means non-paid placement.)

This is only true for organic listings. If you buy an ad on Google and someone clicks on your ad, then you can track the keyword and the conversion.

I will remind you of the caveat that this is only true for folks who use the Google web site, are logged into Google and use a secure connection. They claim that this is true for less than 10 percent of searchers but that seems kind of low to me.

You can get the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/3k3hxlf

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