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Google’s encrypted search – good or bad?

We’ve just read on the Search Engine Land SEO blog, that Google will be moving all searches through its search engine to an SSL link. This means your search is encrypted, and the websites you go to won’t know what search term you used to find them. In fact, Google has already started to roll this out.

Great for privacy, Google says.

However, if you have a website and you’re interested in how people find you, it means your analytics package, even Google Analytics, won’t be able to tell you what your visitor searched on. This is already happening to between 30% and 70% of your traffic from Google – you’ll have started to see the term “encrypted search” or something similar. This intelligence has been the main way of understanding and improving your website’s search performance.

But wait a minute … if you advertise with Google using Pay-Per-Click, you can still have the information.

Are you sure this is about privacy now?


The majority of UK businesses are micro- businesses … quite frequently they are single-person businesses. They don’t have the time or money resources to correlate the changes they make to their websites with any change in traffic. And where the traffic is low volume (less than a thousand hits a day), there won’t be any statistically significant correlation.

All these businesses will be losing out because they will have a much poorer understanding of how their potential customers are trying to find them … and consequently, the customers will lose out too.

Only companies with a significant turnover will be able to afford to work on this. Recent research in the UK suggests a huge proportion of these micro-businesses have an annual turnover of £18,000 or less.

Only Google will benefit as more businesses feel their only option is to use PPC.

Do you still think this is about privacy?

Filed Under: SEO

One Response to Google’s encrypted search – good or bad?

  1. Thanks David, I recently noticed this on analytics and on stat counter. It is very annoying as I now have can’t monitor my incoming traffic with good effect as I could before. This makes it very difficult to measure marketing campaigns!

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