The local search landscape, a growing, rapidly-changing world, was altered again recently by Google as the company announced it would make search more secure. The Official Google Blog reported that the company would begin using an encryption protocol known as SSL.
This means that users' personalized search results will be kept more private, as those with Google Accounts will be directed to a secure search site that begins with "https://" instead of the more common "http://" address heading.
"As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users," explains the website.
In an attempt to keep users' information more protected on the web, local search engine optimization efforts will need to be adjusted slightly.
Search Engine Watch reports that organic search engine traffic metrics will not be affected by this added security, but some specific keyword referral information will.
"Secured browsing and protecting user privacy along with security are good things in the long run. As a search engine marketer, I rely on much of the keyword data that we receive in analytics reports, so this change certainly has an impact," explains Search Engine Watch contributor Derek Edmond.
According to SEO Inc., Google Analytics data, a very important source of information for search marketers, will suffer slightly as a result of the new secure connection searches. However, Matt Cutts, head of WebSpam at Google, tells the news source that less than 10 percent of search queries will be affected by the security changes, and Google will also offer an alternative option regarding webmaster tools and search data, such as an aggregated list of the top 1,000 searches that drove traffic to a marketer's specific site in the last 30 days.
"This information helps webmasters keep more accurate statistics about their user traffic. If you choose to click on an ad appearing on our search results page, your browser will continue to send the relevant query over the network to enable advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and to improve the ads and offers they present to you," explains the Official Google Blog.
Still, SEO Inc. argues that Google is now "intentionally hiding valuable data" from its analytics program.
No matter what an online marketer believes, it is important to keep up-to-date with the latest moves made by Google in the world of internet searches, as being in tune to even the slightest changes could set a marketer apart from the rest.