We’ve all got used to the idea that we can find out exactly how people found our sites through the use of Google Analytics and other packages but Google has recently dropped a bit of a bombshell. Ostensibly for security reasons, Google will no longer be providing the search details of anyone that is logged in and has search and then found your website.
This means that all the search phrases of anyone logged in will not be available to you through Analytics – you’ll get them in an aggregated format in Google Webmaster Tools – but that really isn’t the same (or good enough!).
You might think – oh well, you’ve got to be logged in to Google to have your search data excluded. This is true, however bear in mind that Google is aggressively moving into the social media space with Google Plus. In turn this means many, if not most of us will be logged into Google on a virtually full time basis. What’s more Google has a habit of trying these things out on the logged in group of users before rolling it out quietly to everyone 6 months later.
How does Google benefit from not showing keywords?
Google have stated they are trying to make search more secure and by sharing less information about the individuals that visit your site they are providing greater protection to the individual, although I think there may be an element of this in it, however I can’t believe that the technological genius’ that sit behind Google couldn’t do something about this that didn’t involve removing this vital element. Personally, I believe this is all about increasing the revenues they make from AdWords – funnily enough they are still going to assign individual searching keywords when your visitor comes in from a sponsored link.
When I started working in the SEO business I was told that Google would one day go to a paid only service and although I’ve laughed those suggestions off, over the years I’ve started to think they may be coming true. Without the keyword data about what searches individuals will be coming in from it will be much harder to determine the ROIs from SEO, as such it will force marketers to turn their attentions to PPC where ROIs can easily be quantified and attributed.
There is much talk on the internet in the SEO community about this being an attack on SEO. I don’t really believe this, it’s not about the SEO industry, it’s about increasing Google’s Paid advertising revenues and decreasing the importance of the organic listings, a trajectory Google has been on for years now.