Goodbye keyword data

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MOH

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As of today, under the guise of improving privacy, Google are going to start using SSL by default for logged in Google users. Which means query details won't be passed through to the target website:
[url]http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/making-search-more-secure.html


[/URL]Google claim that aggregated keyword data will still be available through Webmaster tools, but given that's frequently a steaming pile of horse manure it's not a very comforting alternative.

I say under the guise of improving privacy, since referrer data will still be passed through from Adwords. Meaning the only way to get useful keyword information will be to pay up.

So much for "Don't be evil".
 

Tom

New Member
Interesting, that sure will mix things up. It is a bit biased how they want to protect user privacy by blocking queries on organic search results but not on paid results.
 

MOH

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My ranting is slightly based on the fact that I'd only just finished getting ecommerce tracking working on a new site yesterday evening, then about 2 hours later found out it may soon be pointless. :(

A fairly balanced look at the situation here. Apparently Matt Cutts is insisting this will affect < 10% of searches, but not sure I believe that. Plus even if that's the case now, it's a step in the wrong direction, who knows where it'll end up.

I also find it bizarre that privacy advocates seem to be so much behind it - OK, people on unsecured wifi connections may now be safe from random snoopers happening upon their search queries, and webmasters will no longer have access to the particular search term they user to get to the site - but Google themselves still have all the data, and will still be using it to target ads and personalise search results. Don't really see how that's a win for anyone except Google.
If they'd said "OK, nobody, including us, will have access to your search data" the privacy claim might have a bit more weight.

Besides, most people really don't seem to care about privacy online, outside of the IT industry. People give out massive amount of private information about themselves, use the same password everywhere, pass out their primary e-mail address to anyone who asks, including on chain e-mails where it'll get sent on to thousands of random people. Without media or corporate prodding, no one seems to give a damn.

It changes the search ecosystem too: Webmasters allow search engines free access to the content on their site, in return for which search engines send traffic and information about the source of that traffic. Google are now saying they're going to "pay" less, and there's nothing you can do about it.

It may yet turn out to be a storm in a teacup - maybe they've got some plans to further integrate Webmaster Tools with GA, and still provide keyword specific analytics that you can somehow link to conversion data, but I doubt it. And even if I do, it ties everyone to GA, and kills any other analytics options.
 

Tom

New Member
It might effect only 10% of searches now, but that's likely to increase over time especially as Google provides more services that require login etc.

I think they're doing it...

a) as a measure to help cover them from potential legal issues regarding customised search and user data, (the more security measures they take, the more they're covered)
b) encourage adwords usage (more money for google)
c) make it harder for seos to game the serps

The only downside in this for Google is pissing off webmasters and seo people (they've likely anticipated this and are probably hoping it will peter out after awhile). But they obviously didn't want to risk pissing off adwords users :) infact the move will probably drive more to use it in the long term.
 

MOH

New Member
Coming hot on the heels of Tuesday's announcement, it looks like long term Google might not be passing out keyword data to anyone, adwords or no:
http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/google-adwords-redesign-looks-beyond-keywords-135950

I
t's easy to see how if this takes off, Google could gradually force people towards the new kind of targeting.
Leaving them as the only ones with access to keyword info, and a huge commercil advantage.

Or maybe I'm just being paranoid - my attitude towards Google has fairly flipped on its head the last few days
 

MOH

New Member
For e-commerce sites: automatically add a 2% surcharge for any customers coming in with a (not provided) referrer. Display it as "Google tax", with a link explaining to people that this is due to extra charges you face in maintaining your business as a result of Google's actions, and suggest they use an alternative search engine.
Obviously not going to happen, but if everyone did it ...

Just read that second link to the end without realising it was Ian Lurie - I read his stuff all the time, he knows what he's talking about, and writes well, generally in a very light hearted manner. A rant like that is definitely not typical of him unless he's really worked up about something.
 
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