Should you worry about keyword (not provided)?

11th October 2013 in SEO

What the heck are you talking about (not provided)?

As SEO practitioners, we’ve been dealing with an issue now for a couple of years that has been causing an increasing amount of concern and difficulty with regard to monitoring the search terms that bring people to our sites.

A bit of background

Google, of course, is the biggest search engine. It deals with the vast majority of search traffic, and provides the de-facto standard ‘Analytics’ package with which most site owners monitor traffic to their sites.

It also provides a multitude of other free and costed products such as Gmail, Adwords, Google+,  and let’s not forget, the Android mobile OS. Most of these services require the user to have a Google account and be logged in to get the best from them.

So…. free stuff, what’s the problem?

A couple of years ago, Google Analytics started concealing the keywords that were used by searchers who connected to Google over a secure connection, which by its nature meant all those searches carried out while users were logged into their Google accounts. As more and more people acquired accounts the percentage of search key phrases which were concealed started rising. As of 23rd September 2013 Google made an update and started rolling out a system whereby ALL search traffic is done over a secure connection. Meaning no Google keyword data in Analytics will likely soon be a reality for most site owners.

As a site owner (or a marketer) it’s of great value to know what search terms are sending traffic to your site - it lets you know what your customer wants, and allows you to tailor your site offer to your customers… thus getting more traffic…. (not provided) hides this information.

So should you be worried?

There are many theories as to why Google have done this - is it to sell an enhanced analytics package? To sell more advertising? No one seems to know, and certainly the reasons stated (privacy) don’t seem to hold too much water… whatever the reason, which will no doubt become apparent in the future, it’s important to note that there are other ways to get valuable information relating to customer behaviour and acquisition.

As an agency we use a wide array of tools to help us, not just Google products, and we’re always researching what’s the best tool for the job. So relax, don’t worry, we're on it!

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