Today, Google announced its plan to continue tightening up privacy around search query data. SSL, or secured sessions, will be applied to paid search data. This change, according to Google, will remove the query from the referrer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on Here are a few quick bullet points to summarize what is and isn’t changing:

– 3rd-party platforms will no longer receive search query data

– Dynamic content generated by URL parameters will no longer work without SQ data

– Function of Valuetrack parameters shouldn’t be altered

– Search query information WILL still be available within AdWords

You may not feel the impact of this change greatly if you keep your search query analysis within the AdWords interface. But if you use a 3rd-party tool to manage your campaigns, and search queries are analyzed within that platform, you’re going to have to make a change.

Call me crazy, but could this be an impetus toward the upcoming announcement on April 22? What could removing search query data in paid search foreshadow for the future? I guess we’ll find out. They may be completely unrelated. But I doubt it.

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  1. Matt Gillooly April 9th, 2014

    Call me crazy, but I think a major change us brewing. My guess is that keywords will become less relevant as you imply. I think Search audience Demographics will be the big change. We have already seen some hints begin to surface in the AW interface for ecample HH income as a geo target option. Currently we look at search intent for KWs Ithink we will be talking about the identity and demo of users a lot more very shortly.

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Joe Kerschbaum
joined 3Q Digital in April, 2013. Even though he has been working on SEM campaigns for almost 10 years, and he has worked with hundreds of clients in almost every vertical imaginable, Joseph loves that he learns something new in this industry every single day. Joseph is a regular contributor to Search Engine Watch, Website Magazine, Visibility Magazine, among others. Joseph is also the co-author of the Wiley/Sybex book, “PPC Advertising: An Hour a Day.” When Joseph isn’t at home hanging out with his awesome wife and amazing 2-year-old daughter, he is a regular speaker at industry conferences such as SMX, SES, OMS, among others. Some might say that Joseph is a rare bird in the sense that he works in the SEM industry and he is a published poet and spoken word artist.