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Google to stop giving referral data - by moving to SSL

     

Donna

7:49 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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[googleblog.blogspot.com ]

Is it me or does it means that we no longer will be able to use our server based tracking tools to get google referral data from search ? GA love anyone ?!?! Please correct me that I am wrong.

When you search from [google.com,...] websites you visit from our organic search listings will still know that you came from Google, but won't receive information about each individual query.


From the look of it for the past couple months Google have officialy declared war on all webmasters.

deadsea

10:43 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It won't lead to more adoption of Google Analytics. The Analytics blog says that even Google Analytics won't be able to see the search terms.

The sole source of search term data will now be Google Webmaster Tools.

almighty monkey

11:02 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm willing to bet this is more to do with Google's lawyers than Google's engineers or product teams.

In the UK, there is the Data Protection Act, which generally dictates that any personal information must be kept 'secure'. I assume most of the world has similar laws on their books.

If Google are to track your search history, that could potentially include personal information, and Google would have a legal duty to keep that personal information secure.

I don't think they'd bugger up Google Analytics unless they absolutely had to.

frontpage

11:25 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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great for users


How? Google still retains your search query now in SSL format with 30 year cookie.

This offers no privacy protection for the end user as Google never deletes anything.

Pfui

12:17 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I wonder how long it will be before you have to long in to do a basic search.


Bingo.

deadsea

12:56 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I say that it is great for users. It doesn't protect your privacy from Google, but it does protect it from several third parties that can snoop on unencrypted http requests:

1) Your ISP (pretty much all of them monitor search engine queries and SELL the data from it)

2) Anybody snooping on a public WiFi network (super easy to do these days).

3) Owners of routers and trunk internet lines.

4) Anybody else that can get a man in the middle.

smithaa02

1:15 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If the data will be available to WMT, then I have to believe google will make this available for GA...just will take a little re-engineering to make it happen.

I don't why searches themselves need to be private. If I use google to find a bank, it's the bank I want to be secure...not the search for the bank.

deadsea

1:34 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If you search Google for information about what do if you think you might be pregnant but not married, then its more than the landing site that you want to be secure.

Leosghost

1:43 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Only if you are not using your own machine to search with and if the machine owner's minds haven't reached the 21st century yet..

In that case SSL is irrelevant ..it is the "browser history" that would bring down the wrath of the hypocritical bigots on your head.

This is "privacy theatre"..designed to distract the gullible and helpful only to Google.

It isn't like the website in the example you gave has the data now without SSL to ring up where you searched from and say ..Hey , you searched for "clinic" !..

And they are offering opt outs for schools..so kids looking for pron and finding sites that are not on the school sysads "block list" and using terms that the sysad doesnt know for their search..( and if you think you know or the school sysad or filter servce knows as many pron terms in as many languages, as your teenage or younger kids classmates do ..you are deluding yourself ).would still passing referrers and search terms data to the landing sites own stats program or their analytics..

Worth saying it's real name twice "privacy theatre"..don't be fooled.

loner

2:14 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



The point here is that Google will be able to analyze this data--You won't. It's all about separating you from information that has historically been, and would continue to be yours to evaluate.

pageoneresults

2:54 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.


Remember who said that? Eric Schmidt.

mhansen

2:57 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Lets be perfectly real here... If Google were doing this for the sake of User-Privacy, they simply wouldn't track the data to begin with.

J_RaD

3:09 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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^ right, but they aren't doing it for user privacy ....... they are drawing another line in the sand for webmasters.

I avoid all goog tools for a reason, and now im going to have to start using them again to understand how a goog user ended up on my site? *mad*


From the look of it for the past couple months Google have officialy declared war on all webmasters.


yes they have.... but at some point we've got to stop bending and playing by rules they create, cause if we keep doing that eventually there isn't going to be a game anymore.

walkman

3:12 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)



With this, Google has hurt a lot of people with many twitter followers. Google relied on quite a few of those useful idiots to ridicule and shut up those hit by Panda, but now they the useful idiots (or plain idiots) realize that feeding the alligator hoping it eats you last isn't such a good strategy. Their business is in jeopardy and now they will wake up.

Google loves black boxes because they can easily be manipulated: you don't know what you rank for at all so can't ask questions about declining clicks or bad non-converting clicks. Larry the visionary strikes again, I'm sure this will be one of those 'Google innovations' mentioned in a future Steven Levy book.

[edited by: walkman at 3:12 pm (utc) on Oct 19, 2011]

chicagohh

3:12 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



On many client sites we dynamically generate some content based upon captured search terms. We split test the different keywords to further optimize the user experience. Looks like this level of usability will eventually come to an end.

rlange

3:30 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)



walkman wrote:
Maybe they didn't read Danny Sullivan's excellent piece [searchengineland.com...] on this and his conclusion that this is not that bad [...]

How many people do this? Google software engineer Matt Cutts, who's been involved with the privacy changes, wouldn't give an exact figure but told me he estimated even at full roll-out, this would still be in the single-digit percentages of all Google searchers on Google.com.

Less than 10% doesn't seem like a lot, but even 9% is not necessarily trivial.

deadsea wrote:
The sole source of search term data will now be Google Webmaster Tools.

The sole source of search term data from logged-in users will now be Google Webmaster Tools.

--
Ryan

[edited by: rlange at 3:35 pm (utc) on Oct 19, 2011]

walkman

3:31 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)



@rlange
I was being sarcastic about that article in GoogleLand

rlange

3:33 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)



walkamn wrote:
I was being sarcastic about that article in GoogleLand

Right. I got that. I just forgot to quote the relevant part of the article before submitting. Sorry for the confusion.

--
Ryan

CMidd

3:36 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)



SSL "with out" refer data for Free Organic Search.

SSL "with" refer data for paid traffic.

isn't hard to figure out why.

User never asked for SSL Search Results LOL, but the impact of that switch will Google certain Google Product dominate, and increase it's market share, and revenue, at the expense of webmasters.

J_RaD

4:25 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



what if your site catches data from goog into an SSL page? would it still hold onto that data since its moving from SSL to SSL ?

Leosghost

4:30 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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G will be encrypting/stripping it etc, before your page gets it..

[edited by: Leosghost at 4:36 pm (utc) on Oct 19, 2011]

lammert

4:34 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Hey, the sky is not falling by this Google move :)

You will get keyword referrals from Google if you switch your site to be served by default over SSL. This will help you as a webmaster by getting back the keywords, as well as your visitors because their privacy is better protected.

The only thing it will cost you is a handful of dollars for a certificate, a 301 rewrite rule from the http:// to the https:// URLs and some CPU resources to do the encryption.

Leosghost

4:38 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Lammert , are you certain that the site on the end of the chain will be able to read the incoming data..even if it is SSL and "certed" .especially if G strip headers ....how ..

[edited by: Leosghost at 4:46 pm (utc) on Oct 19, 2011]

lammert

4:42 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I tested it last year when the first encrypted test were done by Google and at that moment referrers were sent to the website. Have to do some new tests to see if this is still the case. The referrer URL not being sent is mainly a browser issue which protects non-encrypted sites to receive information from encrypted sites. It is not something which happens at Google's side.

Leosghost

4:51 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



If they send referrers, not so bad..moving everything ( or most things that I need tracking on ..let us not be too hasty ..as it would take a while to do all of them ;-) to SSL and certs won't kill me , certs are not that expensive ..and re-jigging "the serving" is no big deal either as you say, and the "trust" factor for users seeing the "icon" would be a plus..

but that is.. if they send referrers ..I have the impression from what they have said,( maybe I made an inaccurate impression there ? I'd love for that to be so ) that they will be stripping them too, independent of the browser settings..

Panthro

4:55 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)



lol @ walkman in this thread

pageoneresults

5:10 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



SSL and certs won't kill me, certs are not that expensive, and re-jigging "the serving" is no big deal either as you say, and the "trust" factor for users seeing the "icon" would be a plus.


We've upgraded to EV Certs for certain clients. We use GeoTrust and they are not that expensive considering what other orgs charge. I can tell you from personal experience that the process of obtaining an EV can be daunting if you don't have all your paperwork in order. GeoTrust called the county to verify certain claims in our initial registration. Because this client did not have a particular document with a 2011 date stamp, we were declined. We acquired the updated docs and are now sporting the Green Bar.

There was a topic that I replied to sometime this year where someone was asking if switching their site to https would help with SEO. At the time, I was a bit skeptical as unverified SSL Certs are a dime a dozen, I think the cheapest I've seen is $4.99. I wouldn't put much trust in an unverified SSL cert.

But, I would put a lot of trust in an EV (http://EN.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Validation_Certificate) Cert. I know a bit more about the process. I know that folks who issue EV Certs are serious about their business. I know that Google and other entities look for strong trust signals. Just how strong of a signal do you think an EV Cert sends? I'm going to find out.

Leosghost

5:20 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I wasn't thinking of getting the $4.99 ones P1R :)

J_RaD

5:27 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member




Lammert , are you certain that the site on the end of the chain will be able to read the incoming data..even if it is SSL and "certed" .especially if G strip headers ....how ..


well how im reading this...which could be wrong is that G's SSL servers won't pass any info off to an unsecure server(common), so if your server is also SSL then they'd shake hands and pass data.

but its kinda silly they'd let their SSL servers pass the data to unsecure servers as long as they are running "ads"


I was a bit skeptical as unverified SSL Certs are a dime a dozen, I think the cheapest I've seen is $4.99. I wouldn't put much trust in an unverified SSL cert.


you can generate your own unverified SSL cert for free... for about 15 years now. Which now almost 100% of browser will pop up scary red address bars and dialog boxes..... but is it really just about the SSL security layer or making you jump thru flaming hoops getting a signed one.

if it was just about the data protection an SSL cert is an SSL cert and will provide the encryption.

THe only thing it really leaves to the unknown is if someone spoofed your cert. But its like like user ref info is like banking info.

indyank

5:32 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Yes the data is available for adword users but it is their property and they can choose to give this useful information to only those who pay them...

I don't see a problem in this as Google has long made it clear that users come first for them and not the webmasters.Why should they give out this data for free and let the webmasters game them?

It also helps them keep away this data from their bitter rivals Microsoft as googlers weren't happy at what they were doing. "We track data on all websites and how dare you track data on our property through users of your browser?"

netmeg

5:48 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Roughly a third of the traffic on many of my sites is mobile. And half of that is Android. I think it's an Android thing.
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