Yesterday Google posted a bombshell on their blog. The post was called “Making Search More Secure.” The jist of the post is that Google will start forcing logged in users to “secure search” which is esentially https://www.google.com – The consequence of this is that users that click a search engine result through a “secure search” will not pass the referring keyword along with them. This means that your analytics software will be able detect that a user came from Google but not WHICH TERM they used to get there. This is quite a step back from what’s happened in recent years where we can actually get more and more information about our users, not less. You will still be able to see the referrers of non logged in users, so you don’t lose all keyword referrer data but you do lose some.
This is going to be wide reaching. Lot’s of different internet marketing niches rely heavily on analytics and keyword referrer data. Blackhat SEO’s are going to probably be hit super hard, especially ones who adjust the content of their site to reflect the keywords referred. Even the most white hat of sites like ecommerce sites are going to be effected because they won’t be able to accurately judge how people are arriving at their sites.
There’s nothing we can do about it. Google loves making the jobs of internet marketers harder so we just have to adjust.
One thing i’m really surprised about is that Google didn’t execute this new move differently. Hear me out here:
Google likes people to use Google Analytics because it allows them to accumulate more and more data about the web. Google also loves to dominate industries. Although i’m not for it, Google has a huge opportunity here to make every other Analytics software completely worthless and FORCE people to use Google Analytics. Since Google owns both the search and the analytics they could easily securely transfer the referrer data from the search to Google Analytics using some kind of encryption. That would make Google Analytics the ONLY analytics software able to give you complete keyword referrer analytical data and give Google Analytics control over the entire analytics industry.
But I digress….
What are your thoughts on this move?