google encrypts user keywordsIn today’s Internet marketing world, companies must implement a broad portfolio of strategies to succeed online. Social media is rapidly accelerating in importance, while email marketing is still a reliable strategy. The huge industry that has developed around the online coupon craze –contenders like Groupon, Facebook Deals, and Google Offers–represents an increasingly effective way for small businesses to broadcast their brand across the online terrain. Pay-per-click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices can also extremely effective, but Google has recently made a move that affects several of these marketing strategies.

Citing user security concerns, Google decided to encrypt the key terms that deliver users to websites when these users are logged in to a Google account. Google has said this will affect a relatively small percentage of searches, but that percentage will likely grow as more people create Google accounts.

Previously, Google Analytics users could see the info surrounding the traffic flowing to their sites as well as the keywords people use to get there. With this information, website owners could build a strategy around those keywords. This made it fairly simple for users to consider where they should target their ads and how they could optimize for targeted keywords. Now that these queries are being concealed, website owners will be able to see that guests are coming to them from but not the keywords that brought them to their site.

PPC is another popular strategy to drive traffic and can be very effective when paired with other tools. With PPC, advertisers pay the website owner for every time someone clicks on their ad. The sponsored links that appear on sidebars and at the top of Google searches are another form of PPC. These companies pay Google directly. Google gets a lot of money through PPC and their decision to conceal queries will most likely be effective in directing more users toward PPC. It is not surprising that Google would strategize against companies championing methods used to capture organic search by legitimate means. Truthfully, it’s in Google’s best interest to not have the code of their search algorithm cracked. However, knowing the query terms that prompt a website to come up is just one of the many aspects of an SEO plan and this encryption of some keyword searches should do little to sway an overall SEO strategy.

Even though Google has made search queries harder to access, it is only a speed bump for SEO. Sure, some users who used to optimize themselves will find the process to be impossible without a roadmap. But any website that is using a professional SEO company shouldn’t experience too much of an effect.

Google’s move to encrypt search queries is certainly bold. It shows that Google isn’t afraid to flex its muscles under the guise of security concerns. While Google is not the only active search engine, it commands the highest market share by far. Despite Google’s disturbing move, smart companies can still succeed online using a comprehensive strategy that combines SEO, PPC, social media, online coupons and email marketing.