Most companies would use SEO to gain more customers. There are a lot of things to consider in doing this, and knowing who your users are is a big factor. However, Google made a huge change on this last week. Companies who offer SEO are greatly affected by this change and here’s why:

Google is currently encrypting searches if the user is logged on to through a secure connection. This means that the sites that your users visit will no longer receive “referrer” data which reveals what they’ve searched for.

Google announced this huge change on their blog, stating: “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”.

Will This Update Affect Everyone?

No, the change will only happen on and only to those who are already signed in at Google with a secure connection. According to Google software engineer Matt Cutts, only a single-digit percentage does this.

Will Blocking Referrers Impact SEO?

In a way, it will affect your SEO efforts. See, more than encrypting search sessions, web browsers usually reports “referrer” data when someone visits one web to another. The data shows us how the destination site was found, whether it was from a link, or search terms that were entered on a search engine. However, in Google’s new system, referrer data will be blocked, which means site owners will lose important data that they depend on for SEO. This data is usually used to understand how their sites were found by a user through Google. Yes, you can still tell if they came from a Google search, though you wouldn’t know what the query was.

Don’t Panic?

Yes, you don’t need to panic, because Google said that it’ll only impact a small number of searchers. Those users who aren’t signed in to Google will still send referrer data with search terms in them. However, yes, search referrers are declining.

So, if you need any help in increasing your visibility online, let us know and we’ll be happy to help you out.

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