Google to reveal less keyword data for Analytics
Google have posted an entry on both their main blog and Analytics blog about new changes which they say will improve browsing security but will also have a significant impact on many website owners and Analytics users, as it will be harder to track the performance of specific keywords used in a search engine optimisation campaign.
What changes have been made?
Logged in Google users will now be redirected to a secure version of Google, rather than the regular Google site (https://www.google.com instead of http://www.google.com). Using this site will mean that all search queries will be encrypted and data about keywords used to find sites will no longer be available in Analytics.
Website owners will still be able to see that they received visitors organically through Google, but they will not be able to see which keywords a person used to reach a site if they’re signed in to their Google account. This means analysing how successful keywords have been will be much harder, as even though Webmaster Tools will provide an aggregated list of the top 1000 queries that drove traffic to their site in the last 30 days, users will no longer be able to see every keyword which has been used.
What does this mean for Analytics users?
On their official blog, Google say that it will only affect a minority of traffic to websites. 260 million people all over the world use Gmail and there are hundreds of millions of users of YouTube who also now have to have Google accounts. If all these users stay logged in at all times that means keyword data won’t be available for them.
However, although organic search engine optimisation will be affected, PPC won’t be as keyword data will still be sent over when an ad is clicked on. This move is quite controversial – to some it seems like Google is saying “we’re concerned about your privacy…until people want to pay for the data”. There is speculation amongst the SEO community that the data might be available on the newly launched paid-for Analytics Premium.
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