A couple of weeks ago Google announced a major change to their Analytics services. This is not a game changer completely, but it’s big news. SEO specialists better pay attention.
You will no longer be able to view search query data in Google Analytics for “signed in” users.
When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google “organic” search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site.
The number of keywords you see sending traffic in your Analytics account is going to go down. In some cases it may even go WAY down.
So why the big change?
There’s the official reason and there is the conspiracy theory.
Officially it’s about user privacy.
Unofficially it’s about profit. As Google is one of the most profitable companies in the world it must get more and more difficult to grow those profits.
“Gee how can we reduce 3rd party ability to optimize for keywords and increase PPC revenue?”
Think I’m just a nut with a hunch? Check out what this guy has to say. He’s more pissed than I am.
You’ve done this for one reason, and one reason only: To shut out competing ad networks. By removing this data from the referring query string (oh, you didn’t think we’d notice?!) you’ve made it far harder for third-party ad networks to measure and quantify traffic quality.
Plus, you no longer have to justify ranking results, OR Adwords data. Personalization already scrambles the crap out of them. Without accurate search query data, we have no way to check your math on Google Adwords search counts. I guess we have to trust you. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Cough. Sniff. Sob.
Pretty intense stuff eh? There is a lot of anger and confusion out there.
I’m disappointed I won’t be able to uncover as many “money” phrases as I used to. I love logging into Analytics on a high sales volume day to see which keywords sent the traffic for that day. Then I’ll bust out those phrases and either make new pages targeting that phrase of tweak existing pages to optimize.
Those days aren’t gone but they’re sure as hell not the same.
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