Encrypted search is expanding internationally for signed in Google users, Google announced yesterday. That means you can expect to find less search query data thanks to the default secure socket layer (SSL) Google has enabled on searches.
Google will introduce SSL encryption on Google’s local domains over the “next few weeks.” At launch in October, Google encrypted search only affected google.com. Now that will expand to other localized Google domains (e.g., www.google.com.au, www.google.co.in/, www.google.co.uk), though Google’s brief announcement lacked any timeline specifics.
While Google touts the increased privacy and security of encrypting search queries and search results pages via HTTPs by default, it must be noted that Google’s advertisers still can gain access to search term referrer data. Encrypted search is available on Google’s local domains, but it’s not enabled by default.
Encrypted search paved the way for the launch of Google’s Search Plus Your World, as Google aimed to protect the privacy of users in preparation of an increased emphasis on personalized search results. One month prior to the debut of encrypted search, researchers showed how attackers could gain access to the search history and contact information of Google users using the Firesheep extension.
The arrival of secure search also brought “not provided” keyword traffic data in Google Analytics into the spotlight. While initially encrypted search was supposed to only affect searches in the “single-digit percentages”, some sites that rely more on organic traffic from Google have seen upwards of 20 percent of keywords reported in Google Analytics as "(not provided)".
Several Search Engine Watch columns have addressed what search marketers can do with less available search data. Below are links to a few offering advice for the post-SSL world.