Secure Search – The Bane of SEO

Posted on August 17, 2013

So, you’ve finally taken the leap and have got your site or blog up and running. You’ve bolted on Google Analytics or Clicky (which I recommend) and you’re all set to see the web traffic roll in. You’ve optimised all of your pages and posts and are keen to see which keywords are sending web traffic your way. You excitedly open up your analytics only to see Secure Search as the main keyword that is sending traffic to your site. Ah yes, secure search – the bane of SEO. Wouldn’t you love to know what people searched for?

For the last few years Google have been introducing secure search in an effort, they say, to enhance privacy when users are searching for something. The result of this for online marketers and businesses, who relied on knowing which keywords were sending organic web traffic to their sites, is that they are now somewhat in the dark.

Before it was possible to easily determine which keywords were sending traffic your way so that you could iterate and improve but not anymore. Now you’ve to fumble in the dark and try extrapolate which keywords may have been used based on landing page and what keywords that page has been optimised for.

Secure Search – The Bane of SEO

Whilst Google say that it is for enhanced privacy others contend that it is a ploy to corral more marketers into using Google AdWords as one can see the full data set when paying for Google ads. Also, if you try to do an “unsecure” Google search whilst logged in, you can’t, or at least I couldn’t.

Enter Google.com into your URL bar and it’ll redirect to the https. Then, strip away the ‘s” to try get to the “unsecure” search and you’ll see that Google redirects you back to https, just to keep you secure of course. Google now have search under lock and key.

Secure Search

Secure Search – Wouldn’t You Love To Know?

The best advice I can give to try deduce some useful info from traffic that arrives at your site via a secure search is to pay close attention to what page the visitors land and their movements after that. If your pages are are optimised for specific keywords (and they should be!) you might be able to glean some info about the search term used.

Currently my site gets a frustrating 77.96%of traffic from secure search but as Google holds all the cards that’s just the way it is. What percentage of your organic traffic is from secure search?  Have any tips for a workaround? Comment below with your thoughts and sharing is tax free today!

Note: Cover Image By AlejandroLinaresGarcia and used under Creative Commons, via Wikimedia Commons


5 Replies to "Secure Search - The Bane of SEO"

  • Ashley Faulkes @madlemmings
    August 19, 2013 (1:30 pm)
    Reply

    Hey Rob, loving the site. Interesting post too. Did not know that Google was doing this. Is it because I am always in Google Analytics that I don’t have this block in place? I have not added outside analytics like Clicky (although I hear it is great). That certainly is a pain for non-google analytics people then because a lot of traffic comes from Google and not knowing how/why is a major disadvantage for sure!! cheers, ashley

    • Robert Ryan
      August 20, 2013 (11:52 am)
      Reply

      Hi Ashley, cheers for the comment and feedback on the site, great to hear you’re liking it.. Um, no, you should still notice “Secure Search” impacting your Google Analytics stats but if not, be thankful hehe.. All (or most) traffic stats are still available via WebMasterTools however all that data is aggregated as opposed to being possible to view for individual queries. I’ll add GA to my site and see if there is a difference between Clicky/GA stats. Rob

  • Triberr - Your New Must Have Online Tool? - WordPress Developer
    August 20, 2013 (5:07 pm)
    Reply

    […] for a few weeks I can vouch that it ticks the above 3 boxes with aplomb. For example, my post about secure search recently got retweeted by Vitaly Tennant who has 101,919 followers and needless to say I saw an […]

  • Secure Search Takes Over - The End of Search As We Know It
    September 24, 2013 (5:03 pm)
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    […] would finally make our jobs a lot harder (as if they don’t do that already). Secure Search, the bane of SEO I spoke about before, has finally taken over and now practically all organic search traffic appears […]

  • Dine in Dublin - WordPress Site Launch - DineInDublin.ie
    October 16, 2013 (10:19 pm)
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    […] only recently went live it’s getting lots of organic traffic. Unfortunately the majority is secure search but such is life. The DineInDublin.ie domain has a lot of authority and backlinks from previous […]


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