Google Hiding Keyword Data for Google Users - by Benjamin Spiegel

Posted: October 20th, 2011 by Benjamin Spiegel

So on Thursday October 18th the Organic Search Community had a moment of silence and then complete Panic, google announced in a blog post ( )that it will stop showing the Search query from users logged into Google as well as all users using the secure search option (  )

We have been answering a few panic calls from clients, so I decided to write up this quick info sheet.

So to understand the impact a bit better, let’s look at the current flow of events.

  1. Users a search Query using Google’s search page or toolbar
  2. Google Displays the results page (at this point the search term position and following action are saved in the Google Webmaster Tools – and also inserted into Google Analytics)
  3. Upon click google redirects the user to the final destination page

So what has changes?

On the frontend it all still looks the same, besides a cute ssl logo the average user will not notice a difference. ON a technical site the queries CTR rates and all related transactions are encrypted and more safe (not really sure why people care) but they seem to do.

So what does that mean for the organic community?

  • You will no longer be able to see the SERP positions / CTR in Webmaster Tools
  • In Analytics it will say (not provided) instead of the actual keyword
  • You will no longer be able to track organic performance on a keyword level
  • No more goal or e-commerce data on a keyword level

Who does this apply to?

  • This only applies to Organic searches (paid is still getting that data)
  • This for now only applies to users that are logged into their google account (so all Google+ / Gmail / Adsense / Adwords users)

Does this affect me?

  • One of the hardest hits is against anybody provided services in the internet sector, such as web development agencies, SEO companies and any web service related companies. Why? It is because most of the internet development and marketing community is using one or another google tool.
  • If you target for example Google+ and any other Google Product users, this applies even stronger to you


Why aren’t you worried?

  • Based on our current numbers (we checked in Google Analytics) only 0.12% for the organic traffic was marked as (not provided)
  • People who are logged into google, getting a custom search experience and SERPs anyway, and therefore not a good measurement of performance as it is.
  • We have a strong believe in Whitehead tactics and think that google does these changes to improve quality for the SERPs and as long as we produce quality content and follow the clean guidelines

We will keep an eye on the Analytics for our web properties and keep you updated on any developments or changes.

UPDATE: After some technical feedbacks, we can confirm that when you leave a SSL site such as google Secure SERPs and go to a non SSL page, no referring data is transmitted which means its not just google being mean, it’s a technical challenge!


Update #2: Google just confirmed it in this Article ( ): In Webmaster tools and Analytics you still can:

  • View the top 1000 daily search queries and top 1000 daily landing pages for the past 30 days.
  • View the impressions, clicks, clickthrough rate (CTR), and average position in search results for each query, and compare this to the previous 30 day period.
  • Download this data in CSV format

Are you worried? Why not get a Free SEO Audit?

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The importance of email timing - by Benjamin Spiegel

Posted: December 20th, 2010 by Benjamin Spiegel

Following up on last months article regarding the importance of Newsletters i decided to write another article describing my latest findings. (Keep in mind  i am not a writer, so i may get off track here ;) )

Today there are many  tracking system, analytics and all other kinds of cool toys out there, but most people forget the basics of a good email delivery -> TIMING!
And what i mean by this is: When you send out a batch of emails, they are getting delivered over a period of time, depending on the length of your email list it can take many hours. And many people just do not think enough about that!

Based on experience, here are some scenarios, lets say the delivery of my entire list takes 4 hours:
NOTE: This target group here is professionals with Internet access at the work place, of course if you business is in something different, this does not apply to you, but based on my experience i have a lot of data, so just ask ;)

Delivery Time Reason
Early Morning Delivery (3 AM)
Open Rate: VERY LOW
People get to their work place, or check their email in the morning before work, their inbox is filled with Spam, Updates, Automated emails etc, the chance of them opening and engaging into your email is very low!
Morning Delivery (9 AM)
Open Rate: Low
People finished sorting trough the spam and automated emails, and getting ready to start their work day as your email arrives, in most cases they have too much on their todo list, upcomming meetings, follow ups etc to really engage into your email, they may not delete it, but in will move down in the inbox below the fold rather quickly!
Noon Delivery (1 PM)
Open Rate: Low
Most people are either on lunch or just returning from lunch, when people return from lunch they have already some work emails in their inbox, and are less likely to enjoy yours, people who are leaving for lunch, you know how that goes.. ;)
Afternoon Delivery (4-5 PM)
Open Rate: Good
This is one of the top times for Newsletters and Customer Mailings, the reader is about to leave for work, is doing some browsing, and mostly already checked out of work, its also the perfect time for gift shopping etc!
Night Delivery (7+ PM)
Open Rate: Risky
This one is open to debate on a lot of conferences and has very opposite views, for some business night mailings are best, for other they produce almost no returns. It is risky but for the right business a gold mine, some of my clients had higest conversions at the late night hours.

The second item many people disregard is the send order, my client XYZ recently hired me to improve the performance of their email campaigns, their basic logic was
Select from all my customers that want to get email and send.
This client started his emails at 4 PM, and got some medium returns, his problem was that the delivery of his email list (150.000) took about 5 hours, so when his system started his campaign, it just blindly selected members in the order that the entries where created in the list (most system do that), the problem here is that the oldest members got them email at the best time 4-5 PM, while the newest members got the email between 9 and 10 PM.
When looking at the analytics for this we can see that most of the email traffic was created between 4 and 5 PM.
So for the next day, we changed the list order to something like this:
Select all from my customers and then sort it by last logged-in or visited date , and see what happened

We archived an improvement of 50% since then i has been a steady improvement of %10 percent every day! So this has gotten a bit longer then i thought but bottom line is:

  1. Make sure you send it out at the correct time of day (depending on your target audience)
  2. Make sure you email first the active users / customers so they get it in the right time
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The Importance of Customer Emails - by Benjamin Spiegel

Posted: November 10th, 2010 by Benjamin Spiegel

Since my earlier Article regarding The Importance of Ranking i did some more digging into conversions, time on site and user quality, and i came across another very interesting and long forgotten fact:

The importance of Customer Emails and Newsletters.

While looking over the stats for one of my clients, i was trying to filter out some bad Affiliates and low quality sources, in order to improve CTR and CPM rates. So a ran the usual analytics and metrics and took as the main quality factor the pages per visit.

Once i finished fine tuning the filtering options (minimum 50 visits this week, no ad traffic etc) i was left with a very interesting result:

The importance of Emails

As you can see based on this Google Analytics output, the most pages per visit this week where generated from users that have clicked on a link in their webMail accounts, unfortunately for some reason it does not show gmail, but even just looking at this, it becomes obvious that great traffic, maybe even the best traffic comes from your existing members, old clients and Newsletter Subscribers. I am confident that if we would show gmail it would even be a much larger number!

So no matter what type of business you operate, get a newsletter, Custom thank you email, any kind of LEGIT email out to the people you know, and i can guarantee you, that this is going to produce similar results.

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