Google Encrypted Search: The end of keyword transparency

The digital marketing world felt a great disturbance in the Force this week, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Google has been moving towards increasing encrypted searches as a direction, but this week marked a milestone as they made all search queries encrypted. There are plenty of theories why, ranging from promoting their own advertising services to shielding governmental listening funnels. Regardless of the reason it reshapes how many marketing approaches are measured for effectiveness, putting some people on edge about where things are going.

We did a spot check on our accounts and sure enough, the list of keywords referenced in the queries are no longer available after Sept 23rd.  They pretty much fall off the charts, never to be heard from again.  Everybody else’s charts go up, because they are measuring the increase in “no keywords provided” traffic, which is 100%.

No more search Terms Day

What the hell you are talking about?

The world of Google and SEO revolves around keywords.  So when people search on google for a “green hat”, results come up and they click on a link for your site because you have a green hat to sell.  Along with knowing where they found your site, as a webmaster, you were handed the keywords that the person used to get there.  Those keywords are no longer there.  They are reaching your site in relative silence and you can no longer tell why they are at your door.

Who cares?

Let’s say our green hat guy really wasn’t searching for a green hat in his keyword search. He was looking for a “winter hat” and came to your same product.  That my friends is a valuable piece of information.  If we know that 9 out of 10 people are looking for “winter hat” versus “green hat” we can change how we market the product to capture the right audience.  So the entire green winter hat market cares, obviously.  We sort of do to, because it is our job to make sure your green hats get sold.

How do we combat this?

Here is the moment of truth for whom you have selected to run your digital marketing. Time to understand if they know what they are talking about, or relying on a graph to tell them whether they did things right or not.  Time to turn off the targeting computer and use the Force.

use the force luke

Like a bad high school algebra equation, we have a variable that doesn’t have a direct answer. Luckily we have a lot of other information we can use to come to the same conclusion.

What information do you speak of master?

How do we make SEO happen?  We build keywords into or page and or media structure.  That we can control.  We work to build a distribution network of links back to our site.  That we can measure.  It is the quality and then quantity of the links that influence rank. We can still measure that.  If people find our hat because it is green or because it is winter,  we can bring them to the same product through different doors, giving us report-ability for those little things.

The Advertisement Theory

Google still retains visibility  of keywords through AdWords campaigns.  Running feeler campaigns using the keywords is another way of fine tuning what people are really looking for, so all hope is not lost.

If all of that is dizzying, it should be.  Honestly, we would rather measure your success in sales, the same way you do.   Let us worry about how to move the traffic.


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