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Google SSL now available on regional domains

Since this article was published secure search has taken over Australia as Google moves towards protecting user privacy. These changes mean that Australian marketers have less visibility over the keywords customers are using to find their website. Click here to learn more about (Not Provided) and it’s impact on your business.

Australia could well be next for secure search

Google have quietly announced the introduction of Secure Search for regional domains but as yet, SSL has not been rolled out to Google Australia in what is merely a stay of execution for organic search marketers. The introduction of SSL last year caused a storm of controversy in the world of online marketing and the latest development would suggest that Google is undeterred by the discontent amongst the Search Engine Optimisation community.

Featured somewhat discreetly as one of thirty changes in Google’s latest Inside Search announcement is the availability of Google SSL on regional domains such as Google UK, Google Deutschland and Google France.

As we all know, Google SSL has been the default search engine on Google.com for signed-in Google users but SSL wasn’t previously available on other country-specific domains. Until now! Google searchers in the Britain, Germany and France can now search through SSL on respective secure domains https://www.google.co.uk, https://www.google.de and https://www.google.fr.

At this stage, Secure Search is an opt-in for searchers in these countries, rather than a default setting similar to the .com domain. However it’s likely to only be a matter of time before the SSL version of the search engine is the default for signed-in users. This will inevitably play havoc with the efforts of internet marketers and may affect Australian businesses that compete in these markets.

Does this affect Australian marketers?

Now that Google has released SSL in these prominent global markets, expect Australia to be next on the SSL radar. It hasn’t happened yet but it’s only a matter of time before we see google.com.au on a secure domain.

As we have already seen with google.com, SSL has a significant impact on traffic data for web marketers. Website marketers engaged in predominantly organic SEO as their main marketing channel will see their data seriously compromised by the dreaded “(not provided)” and are effectively forced into making less-educated business decisions.

For businesses engaged in PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, the “(not provided)” issue is overcome to some extent by Matched Search Query data but unless you are running a comprehensive online advertising campaign, that data is by no means definitive of user behaviour.

So far, SSL has accounted for anything between 0% and 30% of web traffic for Google Analytics users. At roi.com.au, the average thus far has sat at slightly over 1% but that figure is likely to change significantly when Secure Search comes to the .com.au version of Google.

Australian marketers have the luxury of not being the first to be drastically impacted by “(not provided)” data and can use the introduction on google.com as a reference point. However the pending introduction of SSL here in Australia illustrates the need for marketers to make full use of data available to them to help build a profile of their target audience.

It also underpins the notion that relying exclusively on SEO as a marketing channel is likely to get more difficult and a comprehensive mix SEO, PPC and social media marketing is likely to be more effective in the long run, even it does cost more.