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Recently,  I spoke on the Adapting to Secure Search panel at MediaPost’s Search Insider Summit, which discussed how marketers and brands can best respond to the changes after Google’s decision to encrypt all searches. This panel looked at how these changes in secure search are continuing to affect companies and what they are doing to adjust. Some of the key takeaways from the panel included:

The Problem

  • The changes in secure search led to massive data loss for brands and marketers. Facing an average of 80 percent loss of data, marketers were forced to look for alternative approaches.
  • Not just a Google problem.  Google isn’t the only one who has changed search defaults and posed challenges to marketers trying to retrieve organic search information—Bing, FireFox and Yahoo! have all made changes over the last few years that have forced marketers to re-evaluate how they analyze and leverage data to understand consumer behavior.

The Impact

  • Brands lost understanding of customer intent. With the loss of keyword data, brands lost insight into customer intent—i.e. why people are coming to the page. This can also negatively affect the customer because they might not be getting the most optimal results for their queries.
  • Brands combined leftovers to make a whole picture. These changes decreased the visibility for marketers by taking away key data that had previously been used to fuel content, forcing them to use various data sources to try and fill in the gaps. While not a perfect solution, by combining data from other search tools as well as making manual data adjustments, marketers are able to create a bigger picture that helps  inform their strategies moving forward.

An Optimistic Future

  • SEO becomes a larger part of the conversation.  The challenges of adapting to secure search have raised the profile of SEO importance within many companies and has made it a more prevalent part of the strategy. Now, companies are creating back-up plans to address the current and possible future changes to search.
  • Focus on creating better quality content. The changes in secure search have also introduced new opportunities. By taking away the obsession on keyword data, these changes have realigned the marketing program’s focus on creating better quality content and overall content strategy.
The changes in secure search have fundamentally changed how companies leverage SEO data. However, this challenge has also given companies an opportunity to shift their marketing strategies accordingly and look for other ways to target consumers. Watch the full panel session here.