HTTPS & Google search

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I was talking to colleagues during the week and thought it would be timely answer the question, what does Google moving search click-throughs on to HTTPS mean for PR people?

  • We have less data to use as part of a scientific approach to developing messaging as HTTPS moves inbound search words private. For non-mainland Chinese audiences we are reliant on Google advertising keyword data rather than what has been working driving traffic to their site. For instance, when we think about how we use websites, what might work in a sales situation, may not work when we are looking for information or customer support
  • When creating content for websites, there needs to be a greater focus around the quality of the content rather than the classic focus on keyword density, since there are less clues on organic searches with HTTPS. This is a key advantage for PR people over ‘content marketers’ who have focused on creating content that is just good enough. We can still see which posts are the most popular for traffic coming from Google and then look to infer what works by looking at commonalities across the pages: content themes, likely audience intent etc.
  • HTTPS reduces intelligence. Inability to draw conclusions whether our content has an effect on consumer behavior, which keywords were used to reach the intended website, and the penetration of our messaging in the public lexicon when they search and arrive at the specific site.  For example, a campaign to promote the ‘Bold washing powder’ causes a rise in searches for “Bold washing powder” to arrive at the P&G UK website, now we no longer able to draw this conclusion. In essence, it is much harder to prove online behavioural change from offline PR activity
  • A move towards increased link building for client’s websites; blogger relations and responding to posts becomes more important, since there is less of a focus on keywords
  • Client spend on search advertising is likely to increase as it becomes harder to prove the ROI on tactics used to bolster organic search traffic

More to think about HTTPS here. More on Google here.