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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