What Marketers Should Know About Google’s Encrypted SearchesIf you’ve been keeping up with Google this week, you’re probably aware of the company’s announcement that all search data will soon by secure and private, except for ad clicks.
Google says this change is a response to criticism they faced over claims that user search data was handed over to the NSA.
Few people are convinced this is the sincere motivation of Google, but the question of intent can’t be answered at this time.
Regardless, this is a significant change that came without a transparent warning from Google.
What are the impacts of making all search data encrypted and what impact will it have on marketers?
Get Used to Seeing (Not Provided)
In 2011, Google started encrypting searches for users who were logged into Google, claiming they were concerned about user privacy.
People balked at the idea as more and more web analytics tools showed (Not Provided) as a significant chunk of their organic traffic.
What Marketers Should Know About Google’s Encrypted Searches
As you can see in the image above, it’s practically impossible to know what the 628 (not provided) searches are and that’s a major blow to marketers using keyword data in their content and online marketing strategies.
Unfortunately, it just got worse for those marketers: Google announced this week that it will soon begin encrypting all search data (excluding ad clicks), whether the user is signed in or not.
Is This Necessarily a Bad Change?
Not entirely. Though it probably makes a lot of marketers’ jobs slightly more difficult, the principle to ranking high in search still remains: Produce high quality content that is relevant to your audience.
If anything, this change may force marketers to focus even more on that concept along with other business results rather than constantly worrying about keywords.
Additionally, it’s still possible, albeit more abstract, to figure out what kind of content is improving your web traffic.
Although you won’t be able to see every specific keyword that pushes people to your site, you can monitor organic traffic over a time period and correlate increases or decreases with content that was produced in that period.
Aside from that, Bing and Yahoo still report their search data. While Google obviously controls almost 70% of the market, data provided by Bing and Yahoo may point you in the right keyword direction well enough.
Do you think this is a good or bad change on Google’s part? How will it effect your marketing strategy?
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