By: Sorab Ghaswalla
For the last two days, the Internet eco-system has been abuzz with news of Google deciding to encrypt all keywords, henceforth. Individual professionals & agencies around the world whose livelihoods depend on SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), are shocked, to say the least.
Online reports said Google had quietly taken the decision to encrypt all search activity undertaken by those using its search engine, whether they had signed in or not. This, however, was not applicable to those clicking on online Google AdWords advertisements.
So, is it time for SEO professionals & Inbound Marketers to panic following the decision by Google to encrypt all keywords? This website is still pondering over the after-effects of this new Google decision, but a quick check of Online reports indicates the opinions are divided.
For users, the decision will not affect the way they search.
But soon, whether they are signed into Google or not, any keyword they type into the Google Search bar will take them to https://www.google.com, where the search term or keyword shall be encrypted and stored. Even if you go to http://www.google.com, you will still be re-directed to the earlier URL.
It all started apparently when a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Watch that Google had added SSL (security) encryption for only signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. It was now working to bring this extra protection to more users who were not signed in.
Many feel the decision by Google to encrypt all keywords was a result of the recent PRISM controversy. Google had decided to encrypt all searches so that no government agency could access what people have searched online, giving them an extra layer of privacy.
But end-users apart, what happens to Organic SEO, as we know it?
Google’s decision to encrypt all keywords means keyword data that the search major provided to website owners will slowly but surely be cut off, claim some search engine analysts. Everything will be encrypted so there’s no chance at all that website owners will get to know what online users are looking for. So no more keyword data will be passed on to website owners. And what happens to Google Analytics, is the other question people are asking?
Some sites reporting exclusively on Online search did send queries to Google about the reasons behind this move. To improve privacy of users – was the reply they got.
Some have even claimed that this latest move by Google to encrypt all keywords maybe because Google wanted to promote its AdWords system & boost its own revenue.
Incidentally, encrypted search was initially launched in May 2010 on a separate URL. A year later, Google had started redirecting all U.S. users who were signed into their Google Accounts to https://google.com. But this was only for logged-in users.
Here’s what HubSpot had to say on Google’s move:
Here are some ways you can still measure and use search data:
It is still possible to tell how much traffic your website is getting from organic search. Although you might not know the exact keywords, you can still correlate the work you do to optimize your site and create content to increases or decreases in organic search.
Other search engines like Bing and Yahoo continue to pass along keyword data. According to comScore, at present, Google.com has about 67% of search market share, Bing has 18%, and Yahoo has 11%. Although this will not provide the full picture, analytics tools like HubSpot can continue to show keywords for the 33% of searches that come from search engines like Bing, Yahoo, AOL, Ask.com, etc. This data will give marketers at least some indication of which keywords are the most useful.
If you use Google AdWords for pay-per-click marketing, connect your company’s AdWords account to your Google Analytics account and use that data for keyword research, as Larry Kim of Wordstream suggests.
Surely, this is not the end of this development. Keep reading Whats New On The Net to keep yourself updated.
Image Credit: Google