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Google SSL Hurts Jewelry Keyword Research

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For all the free services Google offers, their Analytics service is probably the most important for all retail jewelry stores to use. From the first day you install it on your website you will see exactly what your visitors are interested in, how they navigate your site, and where they came from.

Inside Google Analytics you will discover what your "Audience" is doing, how effective your "Advertising" is, what "Traffic Sources" bring visitors, what "Content" on your site is most popular, and what the value of each of your "Conversions" are.

Traffic Sources can be very interesting to look at, and its here that we can see what search engines people come from, how many people come from Facebook, how valuable your Yellow Pages listing is, and if the link building strategies you are trying actually works.

It's also in the Traffic Sources that you can do some keyword research. To see this you have to log into Google Analytics, click the "Traffic Sources" button on the left, and then click on the "Sources" sub-option, and then click the "Search" sub-option under that. The Search reports will show you all the Organic and Paid search engine traffic.

It's the Organic report we want you to look at. In there you will find hundreds of keywords that lead people to your website after they typed those words into the search engines. The most popular keywords will be your store's actual name; you might even see your domain name.

The next most popular keywords in that report will probably be 3 or more words long, including some variation of your town name and some permutation of the most prominent products you have on your website. If you specialize in engagement rings then you will probably see phrases including that. If you have Pandora jewelry on your website then you probably will see Pandora related keywords in your top 20 list.

The keywords you find here will help you understand how effective you ate at attracting visitors to your on-site blog and all other content pages. However, it's not the full story, and the usefulness of this report is starting to diminish...

In October 2011 Google started encrypting the SERP page for all users logged into their Google account. When searching while logged into your Google account your SERP will be secured at https://www.google.com. When you are not logged into a Google account your SERP will be located at http://www.google.com.

Notice the difference between https and http?

That extra "s" indicated a secure connection using an SSL certificate. This is the same type of security you need for your own website when you have e-commerce. Google uses the security to guarantee your personal information stays private. This is especially important since they have merged so many Google services, including search, into the Google+ social network.

Google is not alone with wanting to secure their social network and its services. Facebook announced their SSL security in January 2011, that's 9 months before Google.

Now that we've explained Google SSL SERP, let's get back to Analytics and see what affect the https has on your keyword research.

As part of the built in security of SSL, your web browser will not pass the search phrase (i.e. keyword data) to your website, which means the keywords can't be tracked. Of the billions of people using Google Search every day, Google says that the percentage of people logged into their accounts is less than 10%, but we're currently tracking about 12.5% here at jWAG.

Take another look at the Organic page in Analytics and you will see the #1 keyword phrase says "(not provided)." This is the big ouch that the secure SERP hits us with. That (not provided) is Google's way of displaying all those visitors that were logged into their account while searching.

This number is creeping higher and higher. As Google+ gains popularity we expect that eventually the majority of users will unknowingly use secure search. Once this happens we will all have to rely on other paid tools for keyword research instead of our own, actual data.

The bottom line of today's Daily Golden Nugget is to illustrate how to use Google Analytics for keyword research, but also to show you that this method of research is at the beginning of the end of usefulness.
AT: 05/08/2012 06:34:15 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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