We used to be able to see what people searched for when our websites appeared in Google, by taking a quick look at Google analytics. This keyword data proved to be invaluable for site owners looking to increase the amount of profit that their sites generated. Smart marketers would analyse the traffic that was coming into their site; and then make adjustments to their site, to target certain keywords that were bringing in a lot of revenue.
This week, Google put an absolute and total stop to it.
Google’s reason for withholding the keyword data was to provide more privacy for users that are searching for sensitive information. So by preventing all search terms from being found in Google analytics, they erase that security problem.
Seems like a good reason to withhold the data, right?
I’m not buying it.
The 3 Suspicious & Deliberate Loopholes
If Google really wanted to entirely prevent us from spying on sensitive search terms, they would make sure that there was no other way for us to see it, whatsoever.
But they didn’t.
The data is still being leaked in three ways:
1) Searches that are suggested through auto complete when you type a search into Google.
2) Searches that are provided to publishers through Google’s webmaster central service.
3) Searches that Google continually provides to anybody that is advertising on Google AdWords.
Google’s Plan To Take Over The World
Well maybe it won’t help them take over the world. But it will make them more money, that’s for sure.
One of the ways for us to keep accessing our site’s keyword data is to go into Google Webmaster Central. However, the keyword data is only saved for three months. We need to see data from a much longer time period before we can make accurate decisions and make site changes.
But Google has a solution! An extremely suspicious one…
They quietly released a new paid and organic report for anybody with an AdWords account. It allows us to store and analyse search terms that Google withholds or dropped out of Google webmaster central for longer than 3 months. (The time it takes for the search data to be deleted from the webmaster central entirely).
You don’t need to be a paying AdWords customer to access this, you just have to open up an AdWords account and dig through the data.
Hang on a minute. We have to access a paid ad interface to see information about our data that we aren’t paying for?
I don’t think these two changes happened within a month of each other, by coincidence. They are giving anybody that is actively marketing on the internet only one way of accurately analysing their keyword data.
So, anybody that wants to increase profit levels, just got forced into entering Google AdWords.
In case you didn’t already know, Google AdWords increases the profit levels for websites, when it is used correctly.
See the connection? Pretty smart, right?
A massive chunk of Google’s target market just got forced into the AdWords interface; many of them will do so on a daily basis.
I think Google are driving site owners towards their ad interface on purpose, to indirectly promote the idea of using AdWords.
But hey, I could we wrong. What do you think?