There’s a new challenge for SEO and digital marketing evangelists with Google’s Secure Search ushering in encryption of the search activities of users. What kind of encryption? In its blog last week, Google said, “When you search from https://www.google.com, websites you visit from our organic search listings will still know that you came from Google, but won’t receive information about each individual query.” In such a case how do we know about the keywords that drove traffic to a certain website? Google said, “They can receive an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to their site for each of the past 30 days through Google Webmaster Tools. This information helps webmasters keep more accurate statistics about their user traffic. If you choose to click on an ad appearing on our search results page, your browser will continue to send the relevant query over the network to enable advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and to improve the ads and offers they present to you.” What made Google push this new Secure Search initiative? Google said, “As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users. Over the next few weeks, many of you will find yourselves redirected to https://www.google.com (note the extra “s”) when you’re signed in to your Google Account. This change encrypts your search queries and Google’s results page. This is especially important when you’re using an unsecured Internet connection, such as a WiFi hotspot in an Internet cafe. You can also navigate to https://www.google.com directly if you’re signed out or if you don’t have a Google Account.” Does this mean the end of keyword targeting for SEO purposes? On the face of it, keywords are keywords. They have no replacements. Yet, the non-availability of data on search queries will make analytics a lot more challenging task, and websites will have to ensure that the content they provide is absolutely intelligible, dependable, and serving specific user needs. That doesn’t sound much different, does it? We’ll get you more updates and reactions on this once the encryption mission encapsulates everyone.
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