Will Paid Search Data End Up as “Not Provided” Too?
If you run a website and have paid any attention whatsoevah to the search results in your Google Analytics reporting over the past year, then you’ve seen all that beautiful, helpful keyword search data turn into a black hole of “not provided” results. Google made this change to protect the integrity of their anonymous searchers. However, if you paid to play the game, you still got to see search data via your AdWords campaign reporting, both via the AdWords site and thru 3rd parties.
AJ Ghergich reported earlier this week that Google may be expanding their “not provided” encryption to 3rd parties — even for paid search query data. It’s a short post, but definitely worth reading just for the comment stream below. Larry Kim of Wordstream is pushing for evidence & it’s getting heated!
Normally I don’t follow along or promote the this sort of back and forth, but it’s interesting to see the intensity of people’s reactions to this news/non-news story. What it tells me is that Google has way too much power over search right now. Brilliant insight, right? Seriously though, they continue to be the driving force in search, and every little wrinkle they intimate becomes fodder for obsession for those of us trying to keep up.
They should have just had some fun with this and released the letter on April Fool’s as a press release. I don’t know that the shareholders would have liked it, but it would have definitely stirred the pot.
Personally, I think they’ll sort of make these changes. I think 3rd party restrictions are likely to be stronger, maybe just better enforced, but they won’t eliminate the 3rd party keyword data altogether. What do you think?