new-google-logo-knockoff

POV: Google Secure Search to Block Queries on Paid Search

After a swarm of rumors, Google has officially announced that it will block search queries from the referral on paid search clicks.  While the move is hardly unexpected – it was seen as the next shoe to fall after they announced the same thing for organic search last Fall – it has caused a fair amount of speculation and panic.

Google’s stated reason for this change is pretty straightforward – it keeps what someone types into the search box “secure” from being detected by anyone else.

So what exactly does this mean?  Simply put, Google will no longer send the keyword or phrase that the user typed into Google.com when they forward a click from the ensuing ad.  This means advertisers and technology companies that support paid search won’t be able to match the query with the paid keyword for analysis.

This doesn’t mean that advertisers and technology partners won’t have access to individual keyword-level data, just that that they can’t match that to the query that led to it.  So most of what advertisers rely on will continue to work, including keyword level data.

The biggest drawback, however, is it removes much of an advertiser’s ability to use third-party, unbiased search query data to refine their keyword lists by identifying queries that are matched to broader and/or more expensive keywords in their campaigns or to create negatives off of queries that lead to unmonetized clicks.  Instead, advertisers are being sent to Google’s own reporting for this insight, which leads to the next issue – transparency.

This change pretty much leaves Google’s matching algorithm inside a black box, with no external means for validating it.  It will require advertisers to trust that Google is matching queries properly.

So what can an advertiser do? While much of the micro-level data and verification won’t be available, marketers can keep an eye on the macro, by watching CPC trends as well as percentage of traffic going to different match types.

After a swarm of rumors, Google has officially announced that it will block search queries from the referral on paid search clicks.  While the move is hardly unexpected – it was seen as the next shoe to fall after they announced the same thing for organic search last Fall – it has caused a fair amount of speculation and panic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *