Analyzing impact of Google’s SSL Search - by Benjamin Spiegel

Posted: November 18th, 2011 by Benjamin Spiegel

It’s been a little over a month since Google announced that it will be providing SSL searches for it’s logged in users and as Result of that we will lose some of our Organic Search Data, we covered this in a bit more detail HERE

So now that the initial craze has settles we decided to look at some sample data and look at what’s actually going on and how it is really affecting us and our Brands.

We decided to use 6 Sits from different verticals as a sample; we decide don the following verticals:

  • SEO Company (since Visitors are obviously engaged in Google, we assume that they logged in)
  • Home Cleaning Products Manufacturer
  • Financial Service Company
  • Home Electronics
  • Healthcare Services
  • News & Gossip Site

This gives us a good look at a very wide spectrum of sites and users.


Type Total Visits Organic Visits Hidden Keyword Chrome Total/Hidden
SEO Company 3778 1322 299 / 22.62 11% / 45%
Cleaning Products 293693 26474 1632 / 6.16 13% / 35.36 %
Financial Services Company 228688 54510 2608 / 4.78 25% / 47.35 %
Home Electronics 338140 49977 3.382 / 6.77 16% / 48 %
Healthcare 133730 20240 2679 / 13.24 9% / 18%
News / Gossip Site 35558 26121 419 / 1.60 34% / 42%

So what did we find?em>

The first thing just as we suspected is that SEO / Tech & Computers users are Google users, therefor logged in and will be using the SSL search. This was confirmed with 22% of searches being hidden.

Another interesting fact is that Google actually seems to be serving them smart. One of the sample sites is a healthcare site, and without giving away too much, it is not a modern medicine, it targets elderly people and we are fairly certain they do not have a Google account (80% of their members have ISP emails such as Comcast, Verizon, AOL etc). Based on the analytics sample data it seems that Google hid 13% of the keywords.

We need to keep one thing in mind, Google does this to protect users privacy and not to mess with us internet marketers ‘)

On the flip side it is fairly interesting that Google does not hide the info from a financial services site, but this might be due to the fact that most of their site is already served over https

Also we were expecting to have a higher amount of hidden KWs on the home electronics site. More hen 50% their member emails end in @gmail


So without upsetting any hardcore Internet marketers, it does seem that there is more behind the decision process on Google’s side then just are you logged in or not.

After compiling this I looked at a few more healthcare and medical related sites, and it seems that across all of them there is a really high rate of hidden keywords as well, some even up to 50% and all of those sites are targeted towards elderly people, not your usual google crowd!

Another Interesting find is the high number of Chrome share among the hidden keywords, it seems that the browser is a deciding factor as well.


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