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Secure Search and What it Means for SEO

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19 October, 2011

In a recent post from the Google Analytics blog there is an announcement that will be interesting to watch in the coming months.

It relates to Google saying that from now on, the SSL (secure lock) search on Google will become the default setting for the users that are logged into a Google account. The claim is that Google has done this for privacy reasons to protect a user’s search data.

Google reckon that in the US there isn’t a large percentage of users affected (currently) and it’s in the single digit percentages, however it does mean some things for SEO and analysis of results from organic search traffic.

How does this impact on SEO then? Well I believe in these ways:

  1. It takes us “back in SEO time” in terms of assisting the clients to see that after good, white hat SEO, non branded (non business or brand terms) are on the rise due to the efforts of SEO. It will make keyword rankings one of the only indicators and although still a valuable one, this isn’t the whole message that needs to be reported to a client. It also takes us away from being able to report on traffic with 100% accuracy.
  2. A lack of data going to a client isn’t good for progress in the digital marketing space. Whilst we will still have 100% data from Google’s paid search in AdWords, basically we are having to reply on Google Webmaster Tools search data which doesn’t give us or our clients a “helicopter view” of the real search pattens and channels that are making the SEO campaign a success.
  3. The old “SEO Voodoo Magic” will potentially come back in to play. Will this cause unscrupulous players in the market to cloud the market and leverage the ‘unknowns’? Will it essentially scare clients once again into using poor SEO practices? One to watch here as many of us in the SEO and digital marketing space have spent many years trying to avoid this.

Also, back comes the arguments about the long term future for SEO.  Whilst there is definitely still a massive market and need for SEO as long as Google doesn’t become fully paid (I don’t think they ever will), stripping away core data tracking only on SEO Organic results under the guise of privacy only serves to create confusion to clients about what SEO is and does for a business. This is at a time when clients were building to a good level of understanding and knowledge about how SEO and PPC can assist their businesses.

This is definitely one to watch closely over the next few weeks.

About Llew Jury

Position: Managing Director

Llew Jury is the founder and Managing Director of Reload Media. He is an experienced digital entrepreneur, having previously co-founded and sold Alfresco Design, Queensland's largest web design company. At Reload, Llew oversees the strategic expansion of the business worldwide and works with leading brands on all aspects of their digital strategies. This includes search engine optimisation, social media, search engine marketing, website usability and more. Llew is the Lord Mayor's Young Business Person of the Year, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and has been a finalist and winner for many management and export awards.

Find out more about Llew Jury on Google + or for more from Llew, please see LlewJury.com
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