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Hello my friends, and welcome to another Smattering of SEO news. This week we have a bombshell of a story regarding Google and the data that webmasters, site owners and SEO professionals will be able to see from the search giant. Read on to find out all the news that’s fit to print!


Google News:

  • Google Moves to Encrypt All Search Data – About two years ago, Google began encrypting the web searches for users that were signed in, all in the name of “privacy”. This led to what many in the industry call the “not provided problem”, as an increasing number of these searches were becoming hidden in Google Analytics under “not provided”, robbing us of key data we could use to help our clients best target their SEO campaigns. Anecdotally, the amount of “not provided” data has increased over the past two years, as you can see here (this varies from one site to another, however). Well, Google has now moved to make all organic searches (except for ad clicks) encrypted, meaning eventually, “not provided” will likely reach 100% of data shown in Google Analytics. While Webmaster Tools will give webmasters, site owners and web marketers access to some of this data, it’s no substitute for the eventual losses we will see in Google Analytics. We’ll keep you posted as we find out more, but already many sites are covering this story, so it is definitely already making its impact felt.
  • Google to Potentially Replace Cookies with Anonymous Identifier – USA Today is reporting that Google is planning to replace third party advertiser cookies with an anonymous identifier, or AdID, that would make user information more secure. Advertisers would then have to agree to Google guidelines in order to use the identifier in their own advertising initiatives. While the cookie has been growing out of favor with both users and advertisers, the idea of a Google-controlled identifier might be even less palatable. More on this as we get it.
  • Study: Google+ Doesn’t Drive SERP Rankings – After SEO Eric Enge ran a study trying to find a correlation between the use of Google+ and rankings, Google’s Matt Cutts asked him to rerun the study with some guidance to help avoid potential problems. After much work, the results have been posted, and they determine that while Google+ drives both discovery of content and indexing, there was no evidence that Google+ also drove rankings.
  • Google: Don’t Pay to Have Links Removed, Disavow Them – In a recent Google Hangout, Google engineer John Mueller was asked whether website owners should pay a removal fee to webmasters with damaging links on their sites. Mueller said he would “recommend not going down that route” and that if you run into links such as these that require payment for removal, simply add those to your disavow file when you submit links to be disavowed by Google.



Other News:

  • Bing Launches New Logo, Redesigned SERP Interface – Bing has recently launched a new logo and a new interface for its search engine results page that strives to bring Bing in line with the “One Microsoft” vision outlined earlier this year by outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. The new logo definitely has a similar look to the logos for Microsoft’s online Office suite, which is nice and clean. The new search engine results page sports a new multi-column layout that’s cleaner than before, with more whitespace and easier-to-see links. Personally, I like it a lot.
  • Yelp Sues Law Firm Over Fake Reviews – Yelp has sued a small San Diego, CA bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm over what it claims are fake positive reviews written for the law firm. The head of the law firm in question claims the lawsuit is in response to his own lawsuit against Yelp over disagreements over advertising purchased from the review site. Yelp is asking for more than $25,000 as part of the “breach of contract” lawsuit.

See you again next week!


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