On October 18, 2011, Google announced it would block keywords from natural search results for users signed into Google products such as Google+ or Gmail. Google said the motivation behind the decision was to protect the privacy of personalized search results. This motive is bogus for two reasons:
- Google has NEVER provided a keyword search result tied to a specific individual.
- They are still providing the keyword search results for someone signed into a Google product if it is PAID search traffic.
Now, our Google Analytics for the Weise Communications website, weiseideas.com and for clients’ websites returns, “Not Provided” as the highest or second highest keyword result.
As someone who creates Internet content, I believe hiding keyword search referral data from unpaid search results impairs my ability to deliver high quality content to my audience and my clients’ target markets.
By creating a black hole of keyword results, I also predict that some websites will turn to black hat tactics to compensate for the loss of data.
However, we send major props to Avinash Kaushik for his post about five steps to Smarter Data Analysis of Google’s https (not provided) change. I have not seen anything close to adapting to Google’s decision and improvising a solution.
What Avinash proposes is not easy to do. Quite frankly, I don’t know any clients that would be willing to pay for this analysis today to improve SEO. However, “not provided” is only at 10 – 18 percent, Google wants that to be as close to 100 percent as possible. I reserve the right to revisit that statement as more and more keyword results are hidden from companies and they feel the pain of not knowing what people are searching to reach their website.
Unless they pay for the privilege.