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Last week Google announced that Google Analytics will no longer always show which keyword searchers used to find your website. A strong statement indeed and sadly one that could make it harder to know where your traffic is coming from. This is not the case for all searches, I will explain:

  • Organic searches whilst logged into Google: When we mean organic we refer to the non-paid links in the main results section of Google. If the searcher is logged into Google and clicks on an organic search result Google Analytics will NOT show what keyword that searcher used to find your website. Instead is will say ‘Not Provided’ as the keyword.
  • Organic searches when not logged into Google: If the searcher is NOT logged into Google and clicks to your website from an organic result Google Analytics WILL show you the keyword(s) they used to find your website.
  • Adwords searches: These changes will NOT affect paid advertisement on Google using their Adwords system. It will not matter if the searcher is logged in or not you will have all the information on the keyword(s) they used to find your advert.
So why has Google made this change? The official statement from Google is that they have changed to use their SSL (https) website to ‘protect the privacy’ of the users. Using SSL Google will help with privacy so in that sense it is a good move by them. However there just might be another reason for this change.
There are many companies out there that have websites in very good positions in Googles search results who also sell adverts, I guess the competition to Googles Adwords. By making this change Google has made is very hard for those companies and the companies that advertise with them identify which keywords searchers are used. This will make Googles Adwords more appealing to the advertiser than using the competition.

Google logo

Our thoughts: It’s a real shame Google have chosen to go down this route, we agree with changing to SSL however if they can provide stats for paid results what’s the difference if the traffic comes from organic results? It does have the smell of Google using their power to push out the competitors. With the ever growing number of users of Google+ it will be soon that more people will be logged into Google than not.