So Long Google Keyword Data – What Happened and Who Wins

So long google keyword dataIt was bound to happen. Google’s now encrypted all keyword data. This means marketers won’t be able to get keyword data for searches conducted by users who arrive on their site from a Google search. To clarify it a bit, back in October 2011 Google started encrypting data from users who were signed into Google. Since then, keyword information was only available for users who were not signed in. That said, it was valuable information for marketers working to improve their organic search results.

It’s still possible to know how much traffic your website gets from organic search as a whole. You just want know the exact keywords used from a Google search. You’ll need to focus more on page views and knowing what content is getting the most traffic. In fact, it’s all the more reason to create great content that users actually want to see rather than play a lot of games with keywords.

I can’t help wonder who’ll win in the long run from the changes. The laws of unintended consequences will surely surprise us. In the short run, the biggest beneficiaries are:

  1. PPC Marketing – If you have a AdWords account and engage in paid search marketing, you can still get a lot of valuable search query data by linking your company’s AdWords account with your Google Analytics account. Future keyword research projects and PPC campaigns can generate a lot of insights.
  2. Bing and other Search Providers – Even though Google has around 67% of web searches, you will still be able to get keyword data from other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, AOL,, etc. I don’t think these companies will attract tons of new users because of the Google change, but marketers will certainly give them a second look for research and maybe advertising.
There’s a number of theories as to why Google made these changes. Google says it is to protect the privacy of its users. (Perhaps from the NSA.) The cynical among us think its to encourage more marketers to use Google AdWords (which is a great tool that just got more valuable). Either way, its a move that sends ripples throughout the digital marketing community.

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