Data Encryption and Its Effect on Paid Search
How Data Encryption Will Effect Paid Search
On April 9th, 2014, Google made a leap in data security by extending data encryption to paid searches. The company has started removing query data from the ads that people who are using SSL enabled browsers, click on. The data will not be available outside of AdWords. So if you are buying PayPerClick analytics reports from third party providers, you will see a blank space (Not Provided) where the query data was before. The new development will also be extended to Google Analytics.
Google began rolling out SSL encryption for searches in 2011. Eventually, it means that marketers, website owners and brands will not be able to find out which keywords are driving traffic to their websites. In October 2011, the company began encrypting searches originating from users logged into services like YouTube, Gmail and Google+ or when they used browsers like Chrome, Safari or Firefox.
Feature to be Extended to all Google Searches in the Future
In the future, all search traffic from Google will come with the label ‘not provided’. It means search engine marketers will have to remain content with using paid search data, tools provided in Google Webmaster and organic keywords data collected from other search engines to monitor traffic from keywords.
Google said that it did this, to protect its searchers’ privacy. A company spokesperson said that Google wants to give SSL protection to all users it is able to reach, in as many countries and regions as it can. It also said that it would continue to expand SSL use in its services because it believes that it is a good thing. It clarified that the intention was not to drive business to Google Ads, as many think but it was for user safety. It said that the potential implications are higher spend on Google Ads by users and a higher reliance on tools provided by Google.
The loss of keyword reporting is expected to significantly impact tracking of organic searches and their optimization and analysis. Before, the monitoring of keyword traffic and conversions was one of the best ways to optimize SEO efforts and report how successful it was.
A large volume of this data was anyways not reported but the keyword data could still be used to monitor fluctuations in keyword usage and their optimization. With Google moving to 100 percent encryption, SEO specialists will have to change how they track, analyze and optimize search performance.
Adapting to the Changes
Developing an integrated approach to paid and organic search marketing is the best way to tackle these changes. Choosing, monitoring and optimizing keywords for webpages can provide valuable insights. Analyze how visitors who came to your site (searching for a particular keyword) interact with the site.
A keyword may be bringing in a lot of traffic to your site but if it is translating into low time on site or has a small conversion rate, it is of a low value. On the other hand, frequent and high revenue conversions point to a strong keyword. To make up for the loss of keyword data from Google, advertisers will have to shift their strategy and increase their reliance to organic traffic from other search engines, analytics data from the past and data from paid searches.
For keyword conversion analysis, you will still have to rely on data from paid searches. Click through and keyword impressions can be reported via Google Webmaster Tools.
On the other hand, content performance will increase in importance. Analyzing keyword traffic to specific pages is just a small part of how that webpage is performing. The good news is, you can still identify traffic that comes to your site from natural searches. It means that overall and holistic analysis and reporting of natural searches is still a possibility.