What’s up with Google and search-queries?
On October 18, Google announced on their blog that they would be rolling out a new change that would effectively encrypt search query data in order to make search safer.
Unfortunately for them, nobody’s buying it.
Google has long been an advocate for secure Internet, having offered Gmail users the option to elect for the HTTPS (S for secure) version of the site and for its other web applications.
Now, the company has decided to make that security setting the default and any search conducted while a user is logged into Gmail (read: all the time) will be hidden.
That metric will fall away from Google’s own widely used Analytics program.
The Google faithful are outraged, as evidenced in this comment by Steve Mapes on Google’s Blog:
Wow, this is a massive mistake. Receiving search data per user is really important for business analysing their keyword, for SEO, for rendering a site or page best suited for the user especially on a shopping cart site.
If I have an exact match on the item you are searching for I will most likely want to take you directly to that page and decrease the clicks needed for the user and thus increase my conversions.
By removing this you are taking away this as well as limiting the actual keyword and phrases that users are searching on.
If Analytics gave all the results everyone ever needed it would not be an issue but, frankly, its not a tailored solution and in the case of my main employer, its not able to cope with the design of the platform so using it for keyword performance analysis across all of the dimensions that we need to produce is impossible.
Seriously, this is the WORST decision you have made in a long time.
This is a major blow to young Search Engine Optimization (SEO) companies who use keyword research to determine campaigns and demonstrate the efficacy of their efforts to clients.
And Because SEO is new and clients are unsure of what it is and what it can do, this change will likely scare them into the arms of PPC, Google’s bread and butter.
The move is being marketed as an initiative that will make search safer, but all it does is take away a paramount metric from SEOs, and a helpful tool for webmasters.
Because there doesn’t seem to be any real application for this change, many are theorizing that Google is attempting to siphon SEO revenue into PPC.
Schmidt’s high profile hearing with Congress earlier this year resulted in an order for Google to refrain from promoting its own services.
This likely put a damper on Google’s profits and some say this move is a ploy to boost 4th quarter revenue.
Another comment on the Google blog reads, “…is this really a move for Google to get everyone using Adwords so that we can get the referrer data? And they can get more money out of advertising spend?”
It’s the sentiment of a lot of people and Google has yet to respond.
Luckily, companies whose web marketing strategies rely on email marketing, on social media or on PPC will remain unchanged.
Large SEO companies operating at the enterprise level are dealing in such a high search volume that they too should suffer only a minor setback – instead of reporting hard ROI figures to clients, they will have to report a limited range.
The consensus is that this is an uncharacteristic step backward for a company as progressive as Google – and if it is not somehow changed, the company stands to lose some of it’s most fervent supporters to competitors like Bing.