Keyword analytics have always been among the most important resources in the digital marketer’s tool belt. Knowing the specific keywords or search terms that led visitors to a given website has proven to be invaluable knowledge, allowing savvy marketers to develop thoughtful and effective content strategies.
Back in 2011, Google announced that users with Google accounts (Google+, YouTube, Gmail, etc.) would receive more privacy through encrypted keyword searches. This meant that each individual’s unique keyword search would be hidden, or “protected,” from the public domain. For marketers, whether using Google Analytics or otherwise, the terms would appear as “unknown keywords,” having been searched over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
While effects were minuscule at first, the number of Google accounts (and the consequent marketer frustration) quickly grew. If you are one of the many good marketers that eat, drink, breathe, and dream about analytics, you may know the frustration first-hand:
It now gets worse. Search Engine Land recently reported that…
ALL organic keyword searches are to be encrypted.
(Not ad clicks, though. PPC is alive and kicking.)
And as much as some stubborn marketers would like to reassure themselves by acknowledging the existence of Bing and Yahoo, it is hard to avoid the fact that Google.com has about 67% of search market share.
Search Engine Land made a couple of educated guesses about the reasoning behind the change, referencing fairly recent accusations of Google cooperating with The NSA and the obvious ad sale potential.
How should we view all this?
Is the extra privacy a good thing? Were marketers just spoiled by all the free information?
No matter the case, marketers should do what they do best: roll with the punches and see this as an opportunity to get ahead of the curve.
The internet is at the eve of yet another major change. With less focus on specific words, marketers will instead find themselves creating compelling, high-quality content. They will find themselves investing time humanizing their brand, building genuine fan bases, and creating undeniably unique communities. They will find themselves in a better Internet.
Who am I kidding? We’re all screwed!