Google Search Encryption and SEO

Bree Emmerson Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Last October, Google released default encrypted searching for users signed-in to This change basically meant that any searches you do can only be seen by Google and your web browser itself; a third party can’t intercept and know what you’ve searched. People are still a little fuzzy about it, so lets recap what we touched base on last fall!

So, what does this mean as both a user and a website owner?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is an encryption procedure for internet communications and data transfers. When using Google, you will now see a secure connection icon in your browser (usually a lock) and https:// will appear rather than the usual http:// in front of the Google web address. The addition encrypts your search queries and Google’s result pages, which can be especially helpful when you’re browsing on an unsecured internet connection, such as WiFi, because by encrypting the communication channel between Google and your computer, it becomes more difficult to decode by third parties.

This encryption will affect outbound clicks by blocking referrers. Website owners who have been receiving Google Analytics reports, for example, have been able to review referral links; data that tells the destination site how it was found, whether it was from a link off another website or keywords that were entered into Google’s search engine. Now, SEO enthusiasts will still be able to tell that someone came from a Google search but won’t know what that search was.

Google says: When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google “organic” search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site. Keep in mind that the change will affect only a minority of your traffic. You will continue to see aggregate query data with no change, including visits from users who aren’t signed in and visits from Google “cpc”. To help you better identify the signed in user organic search visits, we created the token “(not provided)” within Organic Search Traffic Keyword reporting. You will continue to see referrals without any change; only the queries for signed in user visits will be affected. Note that “cpc” paid search data is not affected.

Google also promises that you can receive an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to your site for each of the past 30 days through Google Webmaster Tools. However, referrals from ad links on Google results pages will still send individual query information as it provides the advertiser with relevancy data.

So what are your thoughts? Questions and comments are free for the making, down below!

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