Instead of the usual recap, I’ve decided to focus recap efforts on a HUGE stir in the SEO community currently happening. On the 18th of October, 2011, Google announced that in the interest of privacy, if you are signed into Google while conducting a search query, the actual keywords will no longer be available to analytics users. This goes for all website analytics products, including Google Analytics. The analytics programs will still be able to detect referral data from the search engine, but it will not be able to show the keyword from Google signed-in users. The exception to this rule: search queries through AdWords (paid search) traffic.
Needless to say this, in the eyes of many, seems like hypocracy, which is to guess why the SEO and Webmaster community is up in arms about it. Concealing data from users that was there previously under claims of security, yet this does not apply to people who pay for it? I will remain objective in this post, but again, there are glaring logical inconsistencies that has hundreds if not thousands of people in an uproar. Below are official statements given on Google’s blog and the Google Analytics blog.
- Google Blog Post – Making Search More Secure
- Google Analytics Blog Post explaining how this impacts Google Analytics.
Shortly after these posts went out, backlash saturated the comments sections of these posts, and website and blog owners went on a tirade explaining the inconsistencies and errors with this drastic decision. Below are a few of the posters that have something to say about this change.
- Google Invests In Privacy For Profit
- Dear Google, This Is War
- Google Turns Off Keyword Referrer Information For Logged In Users
- False Privacy Claims
And not so coincidentally, SEOMoz, who historically have been big Google fans, has this week’s Whiteboard Friday with a bigwig from Bing, Duane Forrester.
It is hard to tell the ramifications of both this concealment of logged-in user data, and the backlash that will come of it. Website owners and agencies alike are not liking this change as this takes away data they can use to develop long-term strategies. This dislike could potentially cause a trickle-down effect to other users of search engines as well. Now would be a good time for Bing to capitalize on this concern and start taking a bigger share of the search market.