Google: please stop before you do evil…

evil pumpkin by Riv @ flickr
This could be Google (image by Riv @ flickr)

Will Googles new secure search page be evil? You betcha!

If Google make their search and serps pages load on a https (or SSL) URL, then any analytics software (with the exception of their own, natch 😉 ) will be next to useless. Why? Because visitors landing on your non-https site from a https site will NOT have a referrer URL. Which means, you’ll have no idea where they came from, what their raw search term was or ANY of the cool stuff associated with a referrer URL.

PPC will still work and things on the querystring URL will be OK, so you’ll know exactly where the users came from. Google will also know everything about your visitors and so their analytics platform will still work as they’ll be able to track you and your underlying click.

This is a big problem and is causing a little bit of worry amongst those companies that compete against Googles analytics platform.

How can this be mitigated? Well, you could make all sites on the web secure. If you go from one SSL site to another, your referrer will be intact (assuming the certs are OK). Google could also append querystring parameters to any outbound click from an organic serp (?referer=google.co.uk&rawSearch=used+badgers).

Who knows? I’m interested to know what Google will do as this, to me, feels like they’re about to do something inherently evil (unless they’re planning on buying ALL companies that do analytics, or use the referrer for anything meaningful!)

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