B2B Articles - Oct 21, 2011 12:11:24 PM

Encrypted Google searches may obscure some referrer data in web analytics

Web analytics for SEO website trafficGoogle will begin using SSL encryption for search queries when users are logged in to their Google accounts. This will have an impact on SEO and marketing analytics, as those encrypted searches will be obscured as website traffic referrers. The new encryption of search query information will be a default setting for logged-in users going forward. Google's goal is to protect the search data, which is increasingly personalized and revealing about it's users' interests and behaviors.

The encrypted searches will only occur on Google.com and not on affilate search applications. In order for the encryption to occur by default, a user must be logged-in. Google lead engineer, Matt Cutts, believes that this default behavior will only take place for a single digit percentage of searches. If he is correct, there will still be a large amount of web referrer traffic data to "play" with, but certainly website SEO agencies and marketing practitioners won't be happy at this loss of vital performance data.

Some companies, external to Google, have argued with Matt Cutt's estimate of a single digit percentage of affected searches. Nevertheless, the data protection is good for users, as concerns over data protection only grow in an increasingly web-centric world. Google seems to be learning from the mistakes and lack of concern that Facebook bestows on it's users and community, which some believe will be Facebook's undoing.

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