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How Will Secure Search Change Small Business SEO?

Google has started redirecting people who log into their Google accounts before searching to a new, more secure form of Google search. The difference is a small as an s: it’s https://www.google.com instead of http://www.google.com — but the effects the change has on the searching process are profound to everything except the searcher.

If you run a search on the new secure Google, you won’t notice any difference at all — but the owners and users of first- and third-party applications ranging from Google Analytics to Market Samurai will. Those applications take information from Google’s database of searches and use them to tell various people about your Google searches. The new secure search prevents those applications from ever getting your data.

If you’ve got Analytics, for example, and someone uses Google to get to your site, you’ll learn that they did so — but you won’t get to see what search term they used to get there. If you use Market Samurai, you won’t see the missing data, but the data that you don’t see will be incomplete — because whatever small percentage of people that are using the secure search don’t have their data counted by MSam’s keyword research module.

So what does this have to do with small business SEO? Pretty simple: even if all your doing is basic local internet marketing, you still need to know which keywords to target. As secure searches become more and more common (and Google has said outright that this is one of their goals!), obtaining the information you need to properly target keywords is going to get more and more difficult.

That said, this isn’t something that should be blown out of proportion. To a degree, local internet marketing isn’t ever that hard — if you sell martial arts supplies to a small down like Aptos, CA, the keywords “sparring equipment Aptos” or “Aptos ninja gear” are always going to be safe bets. It’s only for the long-tail keywords, particularly pay-per-click marketing long-tail keywords, that will really suffer — making PPC an even worse bet for small businesses than it is today.