It’s been a few weeks since secure search has been implemented across the board by Google so if you haven’t heard about it by now its due time for you to learn. Google has now made it impossible for a user to see what keywords are driving traffic to their site. Before I go deeper I must tell you now there are no loopholes or technologies out there allowing you to see this information. There are no consultants with magic wands or black-hat trickery about that will unveil Googles data. It’s Google folks. It’s not happening. This is the way it is now. You cannot see keyword data driving traffic from Google analytics. You can see it from Webmaster Tools, but in limited quantity, and its buggy. Deal with it.
Now that we got that out of the way I want to tell you I think this is a positive change. Sure it’s going to take time to adjust but in the end everything does. There are multiple reasons, but none confirmed, why Google would do this. Lets explore some of them –
- Make More money on AdWords – Most people seem to believe they are doing this to make money with their AdWords paid search portion of the business. Keyword data is s till available here and you can use the system to determine estimated cost per click values. You can track paid search to your website intensely. The change only effected organic search.
- Eventually they’re going to monetize it – Another rumor is that Google is going to monetize this information and has decided randomly that people shouldn’t receive it for free. This is possible, but not probable, as BING and other search engines still allow this data to be readily available. If monetization were the future of Webmaster Tools I believe Google would have let us know in advance to prepare.
- Improving the quality of search – a slim minority believe that Google is doing this to increase the quality of results and effectiveness of its algorithm. People might not be aware that Google changes their algorithm 500+ times a year. It’s not just Panda and Penguin. Taking away keyword information would allow people to focus on other metrics such as page quality and content, thus improving the user experience for a website.
Those who know me can guess which one I’m going with – it’s number 3. I believe this is a good switch that allows companies and publishers to focus on what should’ve always been the number one priority – user experience. How do you get a good user experience? You design pages appropriately for their needs and fill them with content catered to the users intent. This has always been my philosophy and secure search will help this (whether they intended to or not).
Without keyword data you can’t stuff keywords. Without keyword data you can’t spam attack other websites in comments stuffed with negative keywords. Quality will increase dramatically and pages will become more important.
So as always – get ready for a new web experience. I think we can call this one 4.2. Just because we can.