In a move that is bound to make Internet privacy advocates cheer and SEO’s and website owners jeer, Google recently announced that when users are signed in to their Google account, the search service is taking them to the secure search page (https:www.google.com . . . note the extra ‘s’) by default. If you’re not logged in to your Google account you can navigate to the secure site directly if you choose to. This change encrypts users search queries—a useful and desirable feature when users are on a public WiFi network or hotspot, but it has significant implications for site owners using Google Analytics to track their site visitors.
In unsecure search, site owners not only know that a visitor came from Google, but they get individual data about each referral, for instance, whether the user came from another link or what specific search term they used. With secure search, site owners will know only that the user came from Google.
Paid search data will not be affected.
What is a victory for privacy means that website owners that want this information they used to have access to will now have to pay for it. While this change is estimated to affect only about 10% of a site’s traffic, that’s 10% less data that you will now have access to.
You can still use your Google Webmaster Tools account to see your top 1000 search terms each day for your site, but that data is just a sample, doesn’t show every single search term, and the numbers are rounded off.
As business owners, how do you feel about this change?