Google announced earlier today that they have turned on SSL for users that are logged into their Gmail accounts. This feature that has been available for a couple months but is now by default to all users. Basically what this means is that Google will no longer show your data in Analytics to websites that you visit.

Google announced the big news on their blog stating:

As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users.

What does this mean for website owners?
You will no longer be able to see data from users who searched on Google, came to your site while they were logged into the Gmail account. When a person logged into Google searches for your site or a keyword that you rank for you will see that they came from Google but not see what search query they came from. You will still be able to get an aggregated list of the top 1000 search results to your website through Google Webmaster Tools but not through.

You should still receive visitors to your website so you shouldn’t see a drop off, just not the data about the terms that people are searching while they are logged into Gmail. You will still see the data from people that search query your site that aren’t logged into Gmail.

Google Analytics blog reported:

When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google “organic” search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site. Keep in mind that the change will affect only a minority of your traffic. You will continue to see aggregate query data with no change, including visits from users who aren’t signed in and visits from Google “cpc”.

To help you better identify the signed in user organic search visits, we created the token “(not provided)” within Organic Search Traffic Keyword reporting. You will continue to see referrals without any change; only the queries for signed in user visits will be affected. Note that “cpc” paid search data is not affected.

How much Data is being lost?

Reports are coming in that 30%+ loss of knowing what’s going on in the SEO world. This is a dramatic number to anyone or any company that is trying to prove their worth with SEO.

Why Does this Suck for SEO’s?

Across all my clients I have found that around 60% of clicks come when the person is in 1st position, 20% come if you’re in 2nd position and 10% when you are listed in 3rd position.  The remaining 10% are left to ads that are on the right hand column.  Now you won’t be able to attribute 90% of your SEO traffic.  Though I’ll still be able to see which keywords people are coming from though AdWords as I stated above, I won’t be able to see which keywords people are searching for in Google.  This sucks for SEO’s.

Why do I find this stupid?
Through my Google Analytics account I can no longer see the data that they have been collecting and still collect. And it also reeks of something deeper… that data wasn’t “personalized” to any individual anyway… so the argument doesn’t hold water. Adam Green stated: Google is doing it for some other reason. And when “some other reason” is used in an argument… that typically means “money”. Still confused? This is a ploy for them to get more money. They show you ALL this data through AdWords if you are paying for your clicks. So why wouldn’t they show you it through Google Analytics? It’s all about money, and it’s a smart move by them. It may piss a lot of people off like me but it’s a smart move to get people to spend more money with Google AdWords.

Google wants to make money and this is a good way for them to get more money. I can still see all the search query reports through my Google AdWords accounts but not through Google Analytics anymore. Google is trying to drive more people to PPC and this is another step to get them to do that. Do you think this will help them or hurt them long term?

John Rampton is a PPC Entrepreneur, Author, Founder at PPC.org & Blogging.org. Follow me on Twitter @johnrampton

Share your comment 1 responseTO Google’s Ploy to Make More Money by Dropping Search Query Data.
  • Reply
    on 21 Oct 11 at 3:35 am

    John, thanks for the great post.. It ‘ll be interesting to see where google goes with this. Keep us updated!

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