Search marketers are aflutter with the announcement about Google’s secure search. Basically, the party for easy access to your visitor’s organic keywords has been given a last call, analytics reports will be harder to run. However, for those who really follow this stuff, it’s nothing new. Seeing ‘not provided’ for keywords in Google Analytics has been increasingly common over the past few years. If this ruins your SEO career, you didn’t really have one, because we’ve moved past it. Keyword obsession is a dangerous thing, most sites are not at the level where it truly matters. It’s often used as a way to pad out billable hours, unfortunately.
My personal thoughts on the motivations for this change are fairly obvious, Google wants you to advertise with them. What they’re doing falls under the label of “evil” in my book, but that’s a personal rant for another time.
Day to day I do not foresee this change as affecting SEO, at least for white hats. Google webmaster tools will still give you a good idea of what searches come to you, there are also many other tools out there and available to us.
This is going to be a hey day for Yahoo! and Bing, because they will finally matter to marketers – even just a little bit more.
Competition is a good thing in my book, especially because marketers are the winners of that battle. We will not shed a single tear for this loss, in fact we celebrate the fact that the game keeps changing. SEOs are like sharks, if they sit still they suffocate and die. Relying too heavily on SEO for any one key term is lazy, because the more important metric is to increase overall organic search. We can still do keyword ranking and fight the good fight for SEO. We can still tell what people do while they’re actually on our site.
We suggest the following tools for measuring search:
There will be a day when Google sells this data, I’m sure of it. But until then, head to webmaster tools or the many alternatives. 🙂