Google has long been criticized for its invasiveness. Just thinking of thousands of Google servers housing all of the search queries associated with our user names is, on face, concerning if not outright alarming. This lack of privacy, however, has always been the trade-off for receiving search results customized to our preferences and ads tailored to our perceived interests. For many, what we give up in privacy is worth the service that Google provides.
Recently, however, Google has made a change to the way that it reports our search history to companies that use Google Analytics to access viewers’ habits. As of October 18, Google will no longer be reporting the keywords used by those logged into their Google accounts. This means that if a user is signed into Google and organically searches using a specific keyword, this keyword will no longer be reported to Google Analytics users. Instead, the keyword will be reported as “not provided.”
Although Google is touting this change to its services as an increase in privacy for its users, one has to dig a bit deeper to uncover Google’s true motivation. In this case, Google’s motivation is simply its bottom line. Those paying for Google Adwords will still receive information about the keywords used by signed in users. What does this mean? Google is willing to invade users’ privacy as long as this violation is paid for.
How does this change the way your company is using Google Analytics? Google claims that only a minority of data is generated by users that are signed into Google accounts, but I beg to differ. With 193 million gmail users alone according to CBS news, the number of existing google accounts is vastly large. Losing information from those logged into these accounts is certainly going to impact the reliability of Google Analytics data.
How can you combat this data loss? Talk to AndPlus about some search engine optimization strategies that take advantage of the data Google is still providing to its users.