Say Goodbye to Web Analytics?
This announcement will not result in the end of web analytics but will bring significant changes. Many web analytics and SEO professionals already complained about it in the comments of Google Analytics’ blog post.
Google search goes secure
That result is actually the consequence of a decision taken by Google to make the search more “secure”.
Indeed, the search engine decided to now make SSL search as default search experience for signed-in users on Google.com.
Google that unveiled secure search last year said its aim was to “protect user’s privacy”.
Bad news for web analytics
The main consequence will be that Google Analytics, as well as any other web analytics, will no longer report you the query terms searched by signed in users to reach your website.
However, this will have no effect for visitors who are not signed in, as well as people coming from PPC (paid search).
Note that signed-in users that visit your website after an organic Google search will still be recognized as so. Conversations rates and other analytics data will not be affected.
Impacts on SEO
This move does clearly not facilitate SEO work. If your web analytics do not enable you to see keywords searched by users, you will not be able to understand how visitors access your website.
Google said that the signed in user organic search visits could be tracked via the token “(not provided)” within Organic Search Traffic Keyword reporting.
Please note that referrals will not be affected by this change. However, everybody would agree that this change would not help measure marketing efforts.
Promotion of Google Analytics premium version?
In addition to the release of a real-time web analytics, Google recently unveiled a premium version of Google Analytics enabling companies to access more resources, process a higher volume of data and benefit of 24/7 support.
If tracking organic keywords is accessible only to premium users, I think Google would have made a terrible move towards “standard” users.
Following this announcement, I still wonder why:
- Knowing the query searched by my visitors breaches any kind of privacy. I see neither the name of the person, nor his IP address in the Google Analytics reports.
- Google said it would affect only a minority of my traffic. I am not sure that the percentage of users making a search query while logged in on their Google account is so minor.
- Google did not give a choice to signed in users by providing them with an option for secure search.
- It is still possible to track keywords searched by paid search visitors. What about their privacy?
- Google is doing evil to webmasters while user experience has always been in the core of their business.
It would be very interesting to analyze whether this change has any impacts in terms of people using Google Analytics & Search.
I would be glad to hear your opinion about it. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.