Google has angered a lot of search engine optimisers and website owners by announcing changes to Google Analytics.
For a long time, Google has provided a very useful service to people who run websites. They’ve supplied anonymous referrer data via their free analytics package to website owners.
This allowed the website owner to see what keywords Google-searchers used to find their website.
Armed with these search terms, webmasters can refine their pages and create new targeted content that reflects what people are searching for. Because Google is dominant in search, this information can lead to many extra visitors.
But Google have now announced that they’re going to use encryption technology to “protect the personalized search results”.
This means that “websites you visit from our organic search listings will still know that you came from Google, but won’t receive information about each individual query.”
However, people who advertise through Google will still receive the referral data.
So many are interpreting Google’s security announcement as a monetisation of their analytics and gathered data. After all, if access to query keywords is a security issue, why are Google advertisers still being allowed access?
But there are other interpretations. For example, low quality content farms use the detailed keyword info to create a lot of spam articles that clogged up Google’s searches.
It’s a sign, a sign I tell you?
It’s Google’s party and they’ll charge if they want to. When Google change the rules, it becomes apparent that over reliance on Google SEO can and will hurt your ability to serve your target audience.
Conclusion: If you don’t have a holistic web strategy, a plan that extends beyond Google SEO, then you need to get one as soon as possible.