Google Encrypted Search Means No Info For Individual Queries

    October 19, 2011
    Chris Crum

Google announced that it is going to begin encrypting search queries with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) as the default experience at when you search logged into your Google account. will become

“This is especially important when you’re using an unsecured Internet connection, such as a WiFi hotspot in an Internet cafe,” says Google product manager Evelyn Kao.

There’s a chance that your Google experience will be slower with SSL because the computer your’e using has to establish a secure connection with Google. This is interesting, considering that Google has put so much effort into speeding things up.

It’s worth noting that you can just go to when you’re signed out, and still use encrypted search.

Naturally, webmasters and SEOs are contemplating the effects this will have on search engine optimization and analytics.

Sites visited from Google’s organic listings will be able to tell that the traffic is coming from Google, but they won’t be able to receive info about each individual query. They will, however, receive an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to the site for each of the past 30 days in Webmaster Tools.

“This information helps webmasters keep more accurate statistics about their user traffic,” says Kao. “If you choose to click on an ad appearing on our search results page, your browser will continue to send the relevant query over the network to enable advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and to improve the ads and offers they present to you.”

“When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google ‘organic’ search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site,” says Amy Chang on the Google Analytics blog. “Keep in mind that the change will affect only a minority of your traffic. You will continue to see aggregate query data with no change, including visits from users who aren’t signed in and visits from Google ‘cpc’.”

“We are still measuring all SEO traffic. You will still be able to see your conversion rates, segmentations, and more,” she adds. “To help you better identify the signed in user organic search visits, we created the token ‘not provided)’ within Organic Search Traffic Keyword reporting. You will continue to see referrals without any change; only the queries for signed in user visits will be affected. Note that ‘cpc’ paid search data is not affected.”

Google is making the encrypted search available on all of its search properties except for Maps.