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Online Advertising: Google Makes Secure Search Changes

online advertisingMany marketers who rely upon keywords to guide and plan their paid online campaigns have been holding their breaths for months now, afraid the drought of organic search information that hit non-paid users would soon affect them, as well.

Well, the inevitable changes have come to paid search, sort of. It looks like you can relax, as the news isn’t as bad as most had feared, at least not for the time being.

Google recently announced on its developers’ blog that it is enacting secure search restrictions on ads. “We are extending our efforts to keep search secure by removing the query from the referer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on,” the blog post read.

Since details have been skimpy, there is still some confusion about exactly what these changes will mean for advertisers. But from what we can glean from studying the minimal information that Google has released, advertisers will still have access to plenty of useful and valuable data via their dashboards. As an example, you can access detailed information in the AdWords search terms report and the Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries report.

The AdWords API Search Query Performance report or the AdWords Scripts Report service will both be helpful in generating reports or automating keyword management with query data. If you want to customize landing pages, you can look at the keyword that generated the ad click, not the query. You can then use the ValueTrack parameter in your destination URLs to identify the keyword and match type.

The big takeaway for not, though, is that this isn’t the earth-shattering crisis that many had feared. Advertisers who access their data directly via their Google Analytics dashboard probably won’t notice a big impact. Those who access their data via a third-party service may need to check with their vendor to see if there will be any affect or if any of their settings need to be adjusted.

For assistance with all of your online advertising needs, remember that KEO Marketing handles these tasks for many of our clients.


With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.