It was recently announced that Google will be switching all organic searches to encrypted searches using HTTPS. What does this mean? In short, it means that all organic keyword data will be seen as “(not provided)” and we will no longer know which keywords someone typed in Google to get to a particular website.
This is very frustrating to Internet marketers and should also trouble website owners. As Rand said in his latest Whiteboard Friday, Internet marketers use this keyword data to make the Internet a better place. We can better understand how people are thinking when they are searching in order to serve them more desirable results. If we don’t know what they’re thinking, how are we supposed to serve them the content they are craving?
We will now be forced to use paid search analytics to gather keyword data. But what about people who aren’t using, or can’t for whatever reason, use paid search? These site owners will have no insight whatsoever and lose a competitive edge to those who can pay Google.
Google states they are trying to deliver results that provide the best overall user experience. That comes down to a number of variables including site design, site architecture and most important compelling and/or desirable content. Google is now stripping us of all the data we use to determine which type of content our users seek. If I see a trending term related to my industry, I want to be the first person to provide the best information on that subject. Now, only those who pay Google will have access to that information.
All Internet marketers can probably agree that this will ultimately cripple a lot of spammers, which is a good thing, but it will also hinder those of us who use keyword data to make the Internet a better place.
The question is, why is Google doing this? What are they ultimately trying to accomplish? What’s the end game?
If Google truly wanted to provide searchers with the best user experience possible, it wouldn’t have ripped the most important data we use right from under our feet. They claim it’s because providing SSL protection is good for users, but what do you think?