Google Now Encrypting All Keyword Searches
Earlier this fall it became official – Google encrypted all search activity…well, except for clicks on ads. If you listened very carefully you could hear the collective sobbing of SEOs and digital marketers worldwide. Was this move the proverbial nail in the coffin for keyword research?
While Google says the move is to add more protection for searchers (let’s not get into that whole “Google accused of giving the NSA access to its search data” ordeal), one can’t help but assume that part of the inspiration for this massive change in its operations is to urge users to use Google AdWords. This also could be part of Google’s overall push to stop people from using unsavory, and calculative SEO behavior to rank high. Rather, they want good sites to rank high for good reasons.
The Change Has Been Gradual
In 2011, Google began this shift to total encryption when it began encrypting search results for logged in Google users – a move it claimed would only affect around 10% of all searches (of course that number was far below the reality). Still the number wasn’t close to 100%, as it seems to be headed now. Marketers now have to accept the reality of losing all of their keyword insights, meaning it’ll be a challenge to determine how searchers are finding our websites. If we can’t figure out how folks get to our site, how then can we make it so they keep coming back? Data shows us what works and what doesn’t so we can make the appropriate changes.
Are We All Doomed? Well … No!
You still can determine how much traffic your site gets from organic search. This hasn’t become an all-out Armageddon, at least not yet. No, you won’t be able to figure out the exact keywords, but if you’re detailed in your data, you can figure out what type of content is working, and which content is a bust.
Also, think of this this way: Google is the go-to for all searches, but they aren’t the only fish in the pond. Other search engines still offer up data. Bing (18% of the search market share) and Yahoo (11% of the market share) are still feeling generous. Combine their two percentages (29%) and you get a decent sampling of search data. No, it’s not the nearly 70% that Google boasts, but it’s better than nothing.
Bing, specifically, should really use this as an opportunity to separate itself from Google. The Bing Keyword Tool is still in Beta, but it’s definitely worth a look.
Also, if you’re a Google AdWords user, make sure that your account and your Analytics account are linked. That way you can use your Analytics data for keyword research, and avoid feeling like you’re walking a tightrope without a net.
With every change Google imposes, fallout ensues. Your marketing strategy will (or should) shift and evolve as a result of this change. Now that the data you once had access to is “Not Provided,” you have to get creative in how to continue to compile this information. OperationROI can help. Call us at 1-888-277-5429 or fill out our contact form to find out how we can help you gain access to the data needed to keep your online business running smoothly.