Understanding Google’s Keyword Data Changes

November 17, 2013 by Mike

Google has announced the news that we have been expecting here at Leon Media for a while.

They have announced that they are going to encrypt all organic search activity. The most recent announcement means that analytic tools can no longer report on keyword terms that are driving visitors from Google to your site, instead it displays the data as “not provided”. Google have decided to make this change as they have a responsibility to protect their users and want to provide them with extra security and privacy.

Google started this change in October of 2011 when they decided to protect the privacy of users who were logged into their Google accounts. This meant that any searches performed on Google by these users were shown as “not provided” in analytic tools.

They are doing this by automatically redirecting users to a secure page for their search activity (https://ww.google.com). Google is not the only browser to do this Firefox, IE10 and Safari is also putting procedures in place to mask keyword referral data.

The new Google changes means that the following metrics are no longer available: Year-Over-Year brand SEO traffic by keyword tag, conversions by keyword/keyword tag, keyword traffic patterns by URL and long-tail keyword traffic patterns.

For example; if you have a Florist company and your site was optimised for different types of flowers by using analytic tools we would have been able to provide information on which flowers were the most popular (based on which flower keywords were clicked on the most). Due to the added security for Google users, the specific keyword information is no longer accessible; therefore we will not know which flower or even if they searched for a specific flower to get to your website.

Going forward when researching keywords different data sources will have to be used, these include; Pay-per-click and third party tools (such as: keyword discovery and word tracker).