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Google Extends SSL Encryption Globally

 6:15 pm on Mar 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google Extends SSL Encryption Globally [insidesearch.blogspot.com]
Several months ago we made a change to our default search experience on google.com — when you’re signed into Google, we add SSL encryption to increase the privacy and security of your web searches. The change encrypts your search queries and our search results page, which is particularly important when you’re using an open, unsecured Internet connection.

We’re now ready to expand this protection, so over the next few weeks we will begin introducing SSL search beyond google.com to our local domains around the globe.

Earlier story
Google to stop giving referral data - by moving to SSL [webmasterworld.com]


JAB Creations

 9:13 pm on Mar 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

So in other words Google is declaring total war against all webmasters everywhere.

Completely unacceptable and they know it! I've been using Yandex since they started this mess. Now I've started removing any presence they have in my 40+ browser/engines I test.

About a year ago I started forcing a banner at the top of every page for people using irrelevant browsers (IE8). I'll be spending some time this weekend working on a script that detects Google in the referrer without a query and make my visitors aware of other (real) search engines. I'll try to remember to post it on the forums for other members to use it. Yeah yeah yeah, some people are living fat and happy making money off Google but apathy is what is allowing corporations to get away with these things.

A search engine is defined as a site which runs it's own indexing spider.

- Yandex
- Alltheweb
- Bing
- Baidu
- Exalead
- Goo
- Alexa

Also Blekko fits in here somehow though I can't remember what spider they use off-hand.

- John

[edited by: tedster at 11:39 pm (utc) on Mar 6, 2012]


 11:59 pm on Mar 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

We may not like the further loss of referer data (how could we?) but we all knew this was coming -- ever since the first shoe fell last Fall. Google never keeps any development confined to their .com domain for very long.

The shape of SEO is definitely changing. But the web has also become a very richly developed place. There are many ways to succeed without Google's referer data - even if they take it all away. Developing those alternative approaches to optimize traffic for our sites should now have a high degree of urgency.


 12:06 am on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Actually , I think Google is heading towards paid SERPs, an i mean like the first 100 sets of 10 pages


 12:23 am on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

How is that connected to SSL encryption?


 12:31 am on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure :) but these chap are really good at pre positioning their pieces, an that post above actually just hit me as i was reading yours :)

Perhaps one might consider what ssl has to do with new privacy policies that apparently enable data movement within Group G in previously impossible ways, while neatly locking all interested 3rd parties out

Anyway SEO is speculation not so?
With us hoping some works :)


 12:55 am on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyway SEO is speculation not so? With us hoping some works

Yes - well we still need to keep on-topic in our discussion or else this place falls into chaos and that's no good for anyone ;)

Perhaps one might consider what ssl has to do with new privacy policies that apparently enable data movement within Group G in previously impossible ways, while neatly locking all interested 3rd parties out.

Bingo! I think you nailed it. When Matt Cutts tried to address this SSL issue at Pubcon last year, (he really got grilled about it!) he hinted that some "very big thing" was soon to launch and that things like the loss of referer data might make more sense at that point. That "very big thing" was apparently Google+

I can't say I've figured out exactly what the security issue is, but I'm betting it's right there in front of our nose, somewhere inside the "Circles" code.


 6:28 am on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

to increase the privacy and security of your web searches

...says the company who uses them against our wallets.


 9:24 am on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

So perhaps Google+ is the carrot and loss of referrer data is the stick?

I'm starting to notice the (not provided) information in my keyword report creep up, and it worries me.

But I don't see many webmasters rushing out and putting "Please stop using Google because we can't tell what you searched on to get here" banners on their sites. It's NOT a big deal if you're a consumer is it?


 10:28 am on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Referral data is 100% required if you’re going to attempt to attribute advertising spend to revenue. I track user activity and session starts in a proprietary database (including referral data). I use persistent cookies (including the Flash type) and “stitch” cookies together using GeoIP, email address, IP, browser type, referring URL…everything including the kitchen sink. Why? Because it provides competitive advantage.

My dataset goes all the way back to 2003 for one of my sites. In a recent analysis of sales attribution I found that GA was incorrect more than 63% of the time. GA was correct to the point of its limitations. When examining the click behavior of a typical purchaser I often see 5+ organic searches, referrals from non-search engines, 3-7 PPC terms, a Facebook referral, and interactions with dozens of newsletters. I had a sale today where the user first visited our site in 2004. Long ago we thought that our sales cycle happened inside of 30 days. The average is 182 days. Knowing the click path and the length of the cycle is so important because it impacts strategy.

Referring URL is a key element in my analytics system. Without it, I have a colossal loss of insight. More sophisticated analytics provides better controls on spending. I find that I’m able to keep campaigns going that I would have otherwise turned-down for high CPO. And not just PPC campaigns. My model gives me a much broader advertising budget. It supports SEO, SEM, off-line, content generation...

The loss of referring URL is going to hurt my organic, e-mail, and “other-e” advertising buckets. Other-e in my book includes spend on blog seeding, link development, social, link bait, SEO, and anything where I don’t control the physical link. My ability to calculate and ROI on these investments will be lost.

The loss of referring URL will likely further my reliance on external tools like Hitwise, ComScore and the like (where the data is gathered from ISP click-stream data) – tools only available to those who have big budgets. It will also spawn a new breed of click stream providers that step in to provide actual referring URL data (the new gap). This will disadvantage smaller sites. In my book this is not such a bad thing because it is a barrier to entry and will help me defend my market space from pesky “one-man” knock off sites.

The loss of referring data will likely concentrate reliance on GA when and if they make changes. In my opinion, GA is not very good at attributing sales to the origin of advertising/spend over long periods of time – for another thread. Right now, GA is as affected by this change as any other web analytics platform. Amusingly, Google could make the click-through information available in GA, since it captures this information via the redirect it uses on the outbound links from the SERPs. I predict that they’ll do this at some point in some limited aggregated way. We’ll still know that the referral came from Google because they’re using a non-secure redirect that has the query parameter value removed from the redirect URL. It will be interesting to see how Webtrends, Omniture, Lyris, etc. respond over the next year or so to fill the gap.

I really don’t get the privacy concern. I get that users inadvertently pass semi-private information in the referring URL (e.g. if a user browses from a #*$! site directly to my site I know about the #*$!). Do we marketers use this knowledge in a bad/evil way? Not that I’m aware. We don't have time to spy on users. We use data to help us be better marketers. That's it! Why take away referring URL now? Answer: it hurts SEOs who manipulate the SERPs.

There is huge overhead in the SSL handshake. Is anyone smart enough to calculate the added cost of performance needed to handle SSL vs non-SSL? My guess is 5-10x. This means at least 5x the cost in server/SSL accelerators. We’re talking big money. How big? The larger the cost to Google the bigger the opportunity for Google. No business spends without thinking about the return. This change has nothing to do with end user privacy. I’m offended that Google is so dishonest. If this is about thwarting SEOs who manipulate results – just say so. No doubt, this is about Google making more money aka providing more relevant and less manipulated SERPs.

The roll-out globally was expected.


 11:23 am on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Amusingly, Google could make the click-through information available in GA

Perhaps this will be a premium service, or you'll have to trade more personal information for it?

Why take away referring URL now? Answer: it hurts SEOs who manipulate the SERPs.

Does it really though? Aggressive SEO techniques will always prevail, and I see this hurting others more.

One of the major points in Brett's 'Successful site in 12 months' thread was "there's gold in referral logs". When you can't see your referral data, you can't reverse-engineer your site and come up with new content ideas to please your visitors better.

This drives a huge stake right into the heart of the whitest of white hat techniques, and Google's oft-repeated mantra: Build Your Site Around Your Visitors. HOW? When you can't tell what they were looking for?


 12:23 pm on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hmm could it be that this new new thing is just to battle competition advertising companies, so they can not deliver the right banner to a publisher site, but google can when they come from https google, be cause it has nothing to do with our privacy be cause that dont exist on google. If it will be a problem for other ad companies that will not be well received in the media once again.


 3:36 pm on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

It hurts SEOs who manipulate the SERPs.

I made no distinction between white or black hat. ;-> A loss of referring URL is going to make our jobs a wee bit more difficult. You could be right. The black hats don't care much about referring URL... they just cloak, pay for links, keyword stuff, farm, link SPAM, blog spam, scrape, etc. The referring URL means nothing.

GWT will still have organic KW data. And so will the click stream providers. So data will still be available.


 3:03 am on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

And ofcourse adwords advertisers still have all the data they could ever want. Very 'secure' Google.

I wonder what the real intent is.


 12:48 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Looking at this from the angle that Google is only thinking about its' users, perhaps they're finding people aren't sold on the idea yet of logging in for better, more personalised results. So Google is upping their game and using security as an additional motivation.

Tell people that surfing is more secure if they log in and the average surfer will take that at face value and may be more inclined to log in, even though they don't know what the security issues are.

Lots of websites offer additional services or benefits to people who log into their account such as a quicker and easier checkout process. There may be benefits to the webmaster but generally the aim is to provide a better service to the user in the hope that will engender more loyalty.


 1:20 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Im not that sure that many will log in be cause, almost every Month there is something negative about google on television here. We all know this has nothing to do with user security, I think its related to ads and keep the data from users to themself.

Another thing, they always say better content bla bla, but how can we build better content when we dont see what people have searched for on our site.

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