Google’s recent secure search expansions have led many web publishers to wonder whether the insights they once gleaned from web analytics are a thing of the past.

In a recent posting on SearchEngineLand.com titled, The Aftermath: Clafications & Expert Reactions to Google’s Move to Secure Paid Search Queries, a number of SEM experts weighed in on the subject. Their consensus seems to be that, though there have been significant changes in recent months, they may not be as bad as they first appeared.

For starters, SEL’s panel all seemed to agree that there’s a great deal of confusion about what types of data marketers will and will not still be able to access.

To be clear, the changes being ushered by the secure search clampdown have more impact on search query referrer data than on keyword data. That’s because Google will be dropping the q=search+query from referrer string.

This means when you go into your analytics package to hunt down that information, it’s going to show up as, not provided. Search query data will, however, still be available to AdWords users; and that’s the overall gist of the changes, most data will still be available to paid search advertisers.

Keyword performance data, the kind that’s used for Adwords’ bids will still be available through Adwords and third party analytics packages. For that reason, a number of the experts SEL spoke to said the changes may not be as big a deal as they first seemed. George Michie, the chief marketing scientist at RKG, told SEL, “This is an annoyance, but in the great scheme of things, it’s not a major problem.”

The move to secure search, and the changes it’s bringing along, may have a disproportionate impact on casino affiliates because so many of them have never been able to use Adwords in the first place. As a workaround, many of them rely on third party analytics packages, the same ones will be feeling the brunt of Google’s new reporting processes.

What the recent data reporting changes boil down to is an increasing emphasis on paid search and on Google’s continued interest in keeping end-users happy by providing a search search platform.

In an age when consumers are increasingly aware of the very real dangers of casual, unsecured web surfing, that’s a pretty big deal.

That brunt of the move to secure search, however, will be borne on the back of the web marketing world.


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