SEO professionals around the world have a very good reason to be angry at Google at the moment. The company recently announced that it will not pass on search data, of users who are logged into various Google accounts, to the public so internet marketers will now get limited information about how site visitors found them.
Basically, Google will begin pushing users with a Google account to Google’s encrypted search homepage. Any Google user that has logged into a Google account will be sent to the HTTP Secure search page by default, and their search queries and results returned by Google over the HTTPS connection will be encrypted.
For searchers this means that from now on, when they log into their Google account and do a search, their personal information will not be passed on to the websites they are browsing. For website owners, its bad news since the valuable keyword referral data will not be passed to analytics programs (including Google Analytics) when a logged-in Google user searches from the Google secure homepage.
Google has come out defending this action by saying that this change has been introduced to protect the privacy of it users who demand a personalized and secured search experience.
As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users. Over the next few weeks, many of you will find yourselves redirected to https://www.google.com (note the extra “s”) when you’re signed in to your Google Account. This change encrypts (SSL) your search queries and Google’s results page.
To add further pain to SEO’s, Google has indirectly hinted that advertisers will be able to still access this precious user data through the AdWords platform only (which is, by coincidence, a paid Google service). This move could be seen as a way for Google to push more website to paid Google services, such as Google AdWords or AdSense, instead of the “free” SEO. The only way for site owners to get any information on signed-in Google users will be through Google Webmaster Tools— which provides the top search terms used for a site for the past 30 days, without any details on the page visited within a site.
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t look like they are going to budge on this move, so the SEO world will simply have to adapt to these changes.
Do you think Google should have the power to make this change? We would love to hear your thoughts below.