You may be aware that over the past couple of days Google has announced it will switch users to an encrypted search domain, forcibly redirecting users to https:// rather than https://.

As a result, Google is no longer passing on any of the keyword data from organic search to site owners.  At 4Ps we have been monitoring these developments and just wanted to take this opportunity to explain what Google’s latest move to encrypted search means for you.

So, what exactly has changed?

Whereas previously Google only encrypted searches for users logged in to Google.com, it is now encrypting all searches, meaning that no more keyword data will be passed through to websites and consequently eliminating the ability to track users by specific keywords.

In other words, this means that we are no longer able to identify the keywords that a person has searched for before arriving at your website.

How might Google’s decision to encrypt keywords for all searches affect you?

As a result of this change, you should expect to see your organic traffic for certain keywords appearing to reduce quite drastically, as it is now being tracked under (not provided).

However, this encryption only affects organic searches and keywords are still tracked on paid campaigns.  So having an AdWords paid campaign will allow you to still see that data and, therefore, developing a balanced strategy that includes both paid and organic will allow you to gain more information about your users.

If you are reporting on organic keyword data our Head of Analytics is currently reviewing an adaption for reporting and dashboards but in the meantime please speak to your account manager.

So what now?

At 4Ps we believe the solution is to use a more holistic view across the whole site.  These changes should encourage a strategy that’s built around good website content rather than thinking in narrow keyword ‘buckets’.

It is still possible to look at the top organic landing pages to understand user behaviours.  We can still assess how much traffic your website is getting from organic search and can draw parallels between any increases or decreases in search volume and the work that is done to optimise your site.  Landing pages should therefore be optimised to what people are searching for.

We can also still look at average ranking positions and overall visibility, gaining insight from our strategy into which landing pages rank for specific keywords.

Looking at results from other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo, which currently remain unaffected and continue to pass on keyword data, may also be useful.

Please note that upgrading to Universal Analytics is not a fix. This is also not something that is only going to affect you but it will affect your competitors and every website using an analytics tracking tool.

4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how SEO and search ecosystems are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and analytics, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels.