Google says it has made its search services more secure, but some are worried the changes will also make it harder to measure traffic driven by the search giant.
Google has changed the way it processes searches in ways that are good for individual privacy but bad for online marketers.
Google detailed the changes in a blog post earlier this week. The post explains that if you have a Google account and are logged into it when you conduct a Google search, your searches will be encrypted. Encryption means the searches you type into Google will be scrambled and coded, rather than traversing the Internet as simple text.
Google says this is good because it will be harder for dodgy people to figure out what you are searching for in public locations or when using WiFi networks.
Another change Google has made means that online marketers, who typically spend a lot of time analysing the traffic they get from Google so they can figure out what works, won’t get as much information to work with.
Google’s blog post says “… websites you visit from our organic search listings will still know that you came from Google, but won't receive information about each individual query. They can also receive an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to their site for each of the past 30 days.”
Online marketers can get better information, but only if they pay Google by using some of its other products including Adwords.
Online marketers aren’t super-happy about the changes, as summarised in this blog post.
Mikel Kew, founder of business to business group buying company Bargains4Business, also has concerns.
“It seems to me that making the Internet as a whole a more secure experience is definitely a valid concern,” he wrote. “In particular, I am sure that many people would welcome the additional privacy in regards to what we are searching for and viewing online.”
“However, for businesses with an online presence it has further reaching consequences. It appears that for those already using AdWords advertising there will be little difference in the reporting and analytics that they are used to. For everyday users though, the ability to monitor web traffic to your site and measure the results of various different SEO strategies may be significantly impeded. Yet another motivator for site owners to sign up and start paying for AdWord campaigns to enable them to effectively measure the search keywords used by their visitors.”
“We do not use Adwords so the new changes do not effect us,” she wrote. “However if we did, I doubt that I would see any significant changes in terms of finding effective keywords...etc for an Adwords campaign. The format of one’s results will be different but the information that you will receive from Google will still be very effective. This is ultimately a security upgrade only. I can see how this would benefit internet users for privacy purposes.”