Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why Sarah is not happy with latest Google Update

Google announced last week that they are going to begin to encrypt searches made by logged in users, to make search more secure. Even though you can still obtain results on keywords (logged in or not) from paid search!

What this means to users is nothing (apart from security on keeping keyword searches secret), what this meant to website owners with analytics, is that they will no longer receive referral data from these (logged in) searchers. Generally we are fans of Google Updates as they are useful in their quest to make search a more pleasant experience. Alas, we are not fans of this change.

Monitoring the number of keywords that drive traffic to our clients websites is one of our favourite analytic reports. Our Search Marketing Executives get a real kick out of telling our clients (with search marketing contracts) that the number of keywords driving traffic to their website has increased by XXX %.

We will still be able to get the reports as this update will only relate to those logged in searchers. However, it won’t be the full picture, which makes us - Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Web site usability fanatics - sad.

There is a poll being run over at SEOptimise and based on the results so far, say that this is relating to more companies using PPC ads:
Visit the poll here

There is plenty of upset on this news, one we particular like is from Ian Lurie over at Search News Central and this statement in his article Dear Google, This is war:
“Don't get me wrong - I've not opposed e-mail ads, or Street View. But you can't shut down search query data and then protest privacy. That's like leaving one bite of steak on your plate and saying you're a vegetarian.” Ian Lurie, Oct 18th
Having had time to digest the news, I can now say that personally I am livid with the move, understanding what terms people are using to find your website allows you to create a site which suits the searcher and allows you to optimise on pages that they may not like at first glance. We (Search Marketing Flashlight team) are all about creating websites that benefit user and in turn increase client revenue. Google are making themselves out to be the good guys here, with regards to respecting privacy, but what will happen in turn is that people like us (Search Marketing and Web usability Ambassadors) will not be able to do our job to full effect.

We will still be able to determine keywords used from paid search adverts, however this will cost our clients additional money. For years now we have given all our focus to ramping up natural positions and diminishing PPC ads. Are people really that bothered that Google are keeping their keyword searches and using them to benefit their overall online experience!! Really!!

When people have complained to me in the past that they hate how Google use the details in their emails to show related adverts, I can understand their concern, however my response is generally as follows; Google is a free service, if you needed to pay for it, you probably would. Google make money from the advertising, this is how they are able to offer you search results that keep getting quicker and quicker.

Why Google have thrown in the 'we care about your privacy' card now, beats me. Totally stumped and off to complete the SEOptimise poll to tick the reason why Google have made this change as: to encourage more companies to use PPC Ads.

Graham Charlton over at E-Consultancy has invited some of the E-consultancy guest bloggers and a number of search and e-commerce experts what they think of this move. Please do go and visit this page to receive a more balanced view, you will soon come to note though that several in the Search Marketing community are not happy at all, Google SSL Encryption for search queries: the experts’ view.

Author: Sarah Griffiths


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