More Not Provided Data in Analytics
It was just a matter of time when other search engines followed Google’s lead about “not provided” data in Analytics. Yahoo Secure Search launched in January. I’ll explain what the switch means for consumers and online marketers.
What is Yahoo Secure Search?
Yahoo Secure Search refers to the data collected (like search phrases and referring websites) by search engines. This data is available via Yahoo Web Analytics. Several years ago Google began making this change and finalized its implementation in September; they cited consumer privacy as the main reason. You may recall the news stories about the NSA using cookies and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and bolster surveillance.
According to press statements, Yahoo announced that it is “moving towards using https as the default for searches.” They will “encrypt all information that moves between our data centers and offer users an option to encrypt all data flow to/from Yahoo by the end of Q1 2014.”
The Yahoo Secure Search change represents protection of potential data gathered by entities like the NSA or private third-parties. Consumers will see “https://” in the URL which represents that a secure server is used to process a search request.
Before the encrypted search, marketers could see what search terms brought visitors to their website. In Analytics you won’t see which sites are referring traffic (like Yahoo or Google); it will be replaced by a “direct” notation.
With this change has Yahoo lost its competitive edge with marketers? According to MarketingLand, Google made the encryption change but not to the actual search term itself. “As a result, Google continues to be accurately measured by marketers in terms of how much aggregate traffic it sends them, even if they are left in the dark about the exact terms used.” Google continues to pass search terms via loophole… to its advertisers. So, if you’re willing to pay for AdWords, you get this critical information.
So what about Bing? They made a similar change but rolled it out differently. As a user, you can choose to use the secure service. The default hasn’t changed.
What’s your opinion about Yahoo Secure Search?
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