Google recently announced a safeguarding measure for organic searches that encrypts queries on the search engine's results page, according to the company's blog.
Users will soon be redirected to a more secure version of Google's homepage, equipped with its encryption protocol called SSL. The company has done this primarily for people who use unsecured internet connections - such as a WiFi hotspots in internet cafes.
However, this move does affect local SEO. When a search is made directly from Google's new secure homepage, websites won't be able to receive information about each individual search query. This limits the ability to track keyword search patterns of users who are logged into Google, according to Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan.
"Even though SEO traffic in general can still be tracked, those who are doing conversion analysis down to the keyword level will begin to lose out," he said, as quoted by Marketing Pilgrim.
However, the website adds that according to Google's Matt Cutts, the change will only impact a small percentage of searches, since a person must be logged into Google and originate the search from Google.com's secure page to trigger the enhanced security.