Just over a couple weeks ago Google announced that they going to default to serving search results over HTTPS for logged in users. A consequence of the change is that the search query the user was performing is not passed through when the user clicks on a result. The SEO community had a bit of a hissy fit about this and we at Storm were worried that this would hamper our marketing efforts. However, panic ye not, as the reality is not proving to be the predicted end-of-the-Interwebs-as-we-know-it.
Today I stumbled upon a custom Google Analytics report tweeted by Avinash Kaushik which helps you measure the impact of Google’s change. You can try out the report by clicking here when you are logged into your analytics account. Be warned however, the % of visits metric shown on that report represents a % of all visits, not just search. So to determine the impact on organic search you need to do some manual work.
Armed with this new tool I thought I’d check out the impact on Storm’s site and a number of our clients. The results: unbelievably dull.
Just under 1% of searchers for Storm Consultancy were logged in and using HTTPS. If I exclude this blog from the data, that falls to 0.3%. Looking through some of our bigger clients the highest impact I could find was 1.5%. Not massively significant!
However, there is a caveat which is keeping these numbers artificially low for the time: The change has only been applied to google.com – so UK users going to google.co.uk are not yet being served over SSL. I expect that the majority of our clients and our client’s clients fall into that group.
It’ll be interesting to see what effect there is when the change comes across the pond and then over time as Google+ grows.