Google Analytics Changes — Should We Freak Out?

by Brad Campbell in SEO

I stumbled upon this article the other day:  Making Search More Secure

In a nutshell, big G says that going forward, they’re not going to show keyword data for visitors who landed on your website while logged into their Google account.

This change stems from a privacy concern, although I’m totally clueless as to how this helps maintain privacy.  I mean, it’s not like before I could see the name and location of a user who reached my site form the search engines — all I could see was the phrases he or she used.

Anyways…

What this means is that when you log into Analytics to examine how search traffic is landing on your site, you’ll now lose at least a small portion of data that tells you what keyword phrases those searchers used to find your site.

Apparently, you will still be able to tell these visitors came via organic search, but they’ll be grouped under a category designated “not provided”…

I have to admit, upon first reading this I was pissed.  Since I’m an SEO guy and can’t stand paying for traffic, this is the one main area I rely heavily upon Google Analytics for.  Each morning I log in to my Analytics account and take a look at all my main websites’ traffic data from the prior day.

Being able to see what keyword terms are bringing this free search traffic is HUGE.

Naturally, pretty much every other webmaster immediately freaked out as well (some of the comments left under that article were quite entertaining).

Is Google Guzzling Hatorade?

I mean, it’s easy to get angry at God (oops, I mean Google) and accuse ‘em of constantly sipping that ‘HATORADE’…

(By the way, according to the Urban Dictionary, Hatorade — for those that don’t know — is defined as an imaginary beverage that one sips or drinks to become someone that hates others, typically of a specific group.  In this reference, the common complaint is that Google hates affiliate marketers.) 

… but the more I thought about this change, the more I began to realize it’s really not that big of a deal.

First off, you have to remember that this is only for users who’re logged in while searching.  The biggest niche this would affect would have to be Internet marketing, since most of us use the crap outta Google and their many tools, like Adwords, Gmail, Google Docs, etc…

But for most non-IM niches, I can’t imagine there are many users who’re logged into their Google account while browsing the web.

So for the typical webmaster, I honestly don’t see this having much of an effect at all on your Google Analytics data.

Even if you disagree and think this is a huge hit to your SEO research, consider the fact that this is just another step towards the direction that has only top tier sites ranking well.

Here’s what I mean:  let’s say this is the start of a trend that has Google slowly taking back all the search engine keyword data that’s been so readily available (for free) for so long.

Although it’s hard to imagine a world where you’re forced to actually KNOW and UNDERSTAND your target market — and not just rely on software to tell you what they’re out there searching for every day — I’m welcoming that challenge with open arms.

In my opinion, a movement like this would help eliminate spammy little websites that are built solely because of a good “keyword opportunity” and it’d only strengthen the success of REAL marketers who run REAL websites that cater to their end user (as opposed to being 100% keyword-based).

When you know and understand your market — either because you yourself are a credible expert or you’re not too lazy to do a little research and really get inside the head of your ideal website visitor — it’s pretty feakin’ easy to determine what they’d be typing into the Google search query to find your site.

So my final conclusion is this:  guys, this ain’t that big of a deal and if you’re a legitimate marketer, trends like this will only help you by reducing the amount of spammers out there competing against you… and rewarding you for doing a little due diligence and knowing what’s going on in the minds of your target visitors…

Don’t freak out and become a victim like everyone else.  Google can be a bit of an a-hole, but name one ultra successful person or company that’s not ;-)

At the end of the day, I’ve built an incredible Internet business thanks largely in part to big G, their phenomenal search engine and some of the other tools they provide.  And for that, I’m forever grateful…

Next, watch this video to see how I earn six figures online (good stuff).

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