Marketing November 20, 2013 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,020 Reads share

The Google Encrypted Search SEO SMACKDOWN

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Recently, four know-it-all SEO professionals from four competing SEO firms came together for the ultimate showdown. The question: Who of the four is best equipped to handle the Google roadblock known as Google Encrypted Search (aka Google Secure Search, or Keyword Not Provided).

What happened

What happened when these four competing SEO professionals got together in a very small room to prove who has the best solution for SEO clients in regards to Google Encrypted Search? Tension? Intimidation? Fisticuffs?

Not at all. The four SEO experts were in remote locations, not in the same room. Though we did find out too late that one of our panelists was only one-half mile away from our office. So he could have shown up at our door and who knows what trouble could have ensued. Anyway…

What really happened

What really happened is this: The group had a nice, polite, friendly, informative conversation about Encrypted Search in the safe confines of a Google Hangout.

HubShout CEO discusses Keyword Encryption with panel of SEO experts

HubShout CEO discusses Keyword Encryption with panel of SEO experts

A few weeks ago, we reached out to our peers in the SEO industry with these questions:

  • What are you doing to compensate for Google Encrypted Search (Keyword not Provided in Analytics)?
  • Google is moving toward 100% encrypted search (keyword not provided). No longer will SEO providers have insight into the keywords that are referring traffic to clients’ websites.
  • We’re looking for SEO providers’ reactions. What are your concerns?
  • Do you think this will hurt people in the SEO business?

Why it happened

We did this because we felt that we in the SEO business exist in an SEO bubble of sorts. We communicate in comments on industry websites, like this one, in forums, and at the occasional industry conference. We analyze every scrap of information Google (Matt Cutts) is willing to share with us. We take the information, hunker down in our offices and come up with our own solutions to overcome the latest Google updates.

When Google announced that keyword encryption would soon be 100%, we talked about it at our agency and put out our own blog about how we think Google encrypted search will affect the industry. We made adjustments to our dashboard and added numerous new products to help our resellers and their customers break through and surface at the top.

It occurred to us that it might be nice to talk directly to people who are fighting the same battles we fight everyday. So we reached out and connected with some really great people who have come up ways to compensate for Google Encrypted Search. Technically, we’re all competitors, but so what. We can learn from one another!

We decided it would be nice to meet face-to-face. We set up a Google Hangout and discussed what we’re all doing to adapt to Google Encrypted Search.

The Panel

Our panelists:

  • Our guy, Chad Hill, CEO, HubShout
  • Collin Jarman, SEO Technician, Click Optimize
  • Christine Rochelle, Integrated Marketing Manager, lotus823
  • Brett Snyder, Director of SEO, Nebo

The hangout

Each of the panelists described how they continue to provide their SEO clients with solid SEO campaign reports, despite the reduction in keyword data. To recap:

Everyone agreed that SEO providers who have been paying attention to the constant stream of Google updates and adjustments saw this coming a long time ago and are prepared for life without keyword search data. Now, it’s just a matter of educating the client on how the metrics are changing.

We can still see organic traffic landing pages – we can focus on landing pages rather than keywords. We still have plenty of information to help us make data-driven decisions about marketing strategies. We can correlate search query and top pages data from Webmaster Tools with organic landing pages in Google Analytics.

Tracking lead generation is more important now than ever. SEO providers should be proactive in measuring leads and other actions people are taking on the website. Clients should be educated on the importance of measuring leads, and that includes phone call leads.

Watch the video in its entirety here.


In the end, the group parted as friends. There was no drama. And the guy who’s one-half mile away from our office? As I write this, he and Chad are meeting for coffee at Starbucks®. Seriously.

Image:  ”The search color text on a white background  /


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Ellen Gipko

Ellen Gipko

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