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

Conclusions?

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.

thoughts?

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Google Hiding Keyword Data for Google Users - by Benjamin Spiegel

Posted: October 20th, 2011 by Benjamin Spiegel

So on Thursday October 18th the Organic Search Community had a moment of silence and then complete Panic, google announced in a blog post ( http://vfx.la/xFDD0 )that it will stop showing the Search query from users logged into Google as well as all users using the secure search option ( https://encrypted.google.com/  )

We have been answering a few panic calls from clients, so I decided to write up this quick info sheet.

So to understand the impact a bit better, let’s look at the current flow of events.

  1. Users a search Query using Google’s search page or toolbar
  2. Google Displays the results page (at this point the search term position and following action are saved in the Google Webmaster Tools – and also inserted into Google Analytics)
  3. Upon click google redirects the user to the final destination page

So what has changes?

On the frontend it all still looks the same, besides a cute ssl logo the average user will not notice a difference. ON a technical site the queries CTR rates and all related transactions are encrypted and more safe (not really sure why people care) but they seem to do.

So what does that mean for the organic community?

  • You will no longer be able to see the SERP positions / CTR in Webmaster Tools
  • In Analytics it will say (not provided) instead of the actual keyword
  • You will no longer be able to track organic performance on a keyword level
  • No more goal or e-commerce data on a keyword level

Who does this apply to?

  • This only applies to Organic searches (paid is still getting that data)
  • This for now only applies to users that are logged into their google account (so all Google+ / Gmail / Adsense / Adwords users)

Does this affect me?

  • One of the hardest hits is against anybody provided services in the internet sector, such as web development agencies, SEO companies and any web service related companies. Why? It is because most of the internet development and marketing community is using one or another google tool.
  • If you target for example Google+ and any other Google Product users, this applies even stronger to you

 

Why aren’t you worried?

  • Based on our current numbers (we checked in Google Analytics) only 0.12% for the organic traffic was marked as (not provided)
  • People who are logged into google, getting a custom search experience and SERPs anyway, and therefore not a good measurement of performance as it is.
  • We have a strong believe in Whitehead tactics and think that google does these changes to improve quality for the SERPs and as long as we produce quality content and follow the clean guidelines

We will keep an eye on the Analytics for our web properties and keep you updated on any developments or changes.

UPDATE: After some technical feedbacks, we can confirm that when you leave a SSL site such as google Secure SERPs and go to a non SSL page, no referring data is transmitted which means its not just google being mean, it’s a technical challenge!

 

Update #2: Google just confirmed it in this Article ( http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/10/accessing-search-query-data-for-your.html ): In Webmaster tools and Analytics you still can:

  • View the top 1000 daily search queries and top 1000 daily landing pages for the past 30 days.
  • View the impressions, clicks, clickthrough rate (CTR), and average position in search results for each query, and compare this to the previous 30 day period.
  • Download this data in CSV format

Are you worried? Why not get a Free SEO Audit?

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Google Launches Real Time Analytics - by Benjamin Spiegel

Posted: October 14th, 2011 by Benjamin Spiegel

Its finally here, still in Beta, but google just quietly pushed out Realtime Analytics! Check the screenshots below, and let us know if you got it as well.

Added a video

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Is DAO the new SEO? - by Benjamin Spiegel

Posted: September 15th, 2011 by Benjamin Spiegel

Ever since google introduced the concept of blended search, DAO is becoming a more important factor for Online Marketers. The Standard SEO is focused on optimizing content. while DAO (Digital asset optimization) is focusing on Multi Media content such as PDFs, Images, Videos, RSS, Reviews, Shopping  and other types of “social” media. You can almost form a formula such as:

Social Media Marketing + SEO = DAO

 

What do i need to do now?
Simply put i would start running down your current target keyword list, analyze it and see what comes up in terms of Blended Media Results, are they already videos blended in the results? One thing to keep in mind is that the blended shelf results are much more dynamic then the rather static traditional Search Engine Results, just because your video is first in the blended results in the morning, does not guarantee you the same spot in the afternoon, you have to check often and see what comes up and what are the deciding factors. While optimizing your media, keep in mind your overall funnel position, for example if you are comparing different Camera Manufacturers, you may want to target customers that are positioned high in the purchase funnel and focus on keywords such as “DSLR Cameras”. But if you are reseller for specific camera models you may choose to target a more educated group of customers that have reached a deeper stage of the purchasing funnel.

 

SEO Purchasing Funnel

SEO Purchasing Funnel

 

How does this affect your traditional SEO?
One of the main differences is the traditional page fold as well as the Share of Shelf. Up until recently a Organic Search Engine Results Position of #3 placed you above the fold, today you will not have the same luxury as you can see on the screenshot below. All the results are being pushed down by larger site links, blended shelf results, featured ads and so on.

 

Share of Shelf with Blended Results

Share of Shelf with Blended Results

 

So what now?
Once you completed your initial keyword research you can start mapping the key phrases / words to matching media, instead of uploading DSC_03123213.jpg to photo sites, you may want to upload great-used-iphone-4.jpg. The same applies to video uploads in video sites and other social media sharing sites. Then you can retarget your ALT tags to match the media more efficiently. Do not use “used phones” be specific say “used iPhone’s” try to focus each media item on one key phrase. Research from Forrester and other sources has shown that 70% of all media uploads are named poorly and tags as well as sourrounding content do not match.

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