I want to circle back to news from Google that broke earlier in the month regarding encrypted search and address how it can impact international markets. Google made a change several months ago to google.com where users who are logged in have secure socket layer (SSL) encryption added to their web searches providing an added layer of privacy. Google pushes the security and privacy aspects of the default SSL measure and calls on more companies to adopt SSL in their offerings. This move also set up the then forthcoming launch of Google Search Plus your World. A byproduct of this SSL measure, though, is that less search data is available for advertisers. It brings the "not provided" keyword return in Google Analytics into existence and pushes SEO companies and internet marketers to reassess and adapt their practices.
Now local Google sites in international markets (such as google.co.uk, google.com.au) will have SSL as a default too. International SEO experts must utilize informational resources learn from their counterparts here in the US market as this rollout begins to happen because they too will start to experience the impact that marketers in the US have been negotiating for a few months now. To that end, there has been some quality writing on the subject, and I'll address some essential take-aways that international SEO experts can use as a jumping off point applying each to their own market:
- Overall organic search traffic numbers are not affected by this change, but specific keyword referral information is. As such, conversion numbers relating to overall organic search traffic will still be available.
- Advertisers will continue to have access to certain keyword referral data.
- Utilize Google Webmaster Tools for further keyword information taking advantage of aggregated lists showing the top 1,000 searches that sent users to the site of interest for the previous 30 days.
- Echoing an important point made here, each individual website and domain will be impacted to different degrees by the SSL encrypted search. Marketers thus should attempt to quantify the effect of the "not provided" terms and then segment the data because the is simply no way to establish what specific keywords those search securely are using to end of at the site of interest.