If you’re into inbound marketing, then you probably heard the big news: Google intends to encrypt all keyword referral data that is normally sent to a website. Yes, you read right, you will no longer have access to the keywords and phrases your visitors use to arrive at your website. Well, unless the users are signed in, of course.
While it is true that Google began making the search private two years ago, that wasn’t such a big deal since the encryption affected around a quarter of the organic searches.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough and webmasters – particularly those who rely heavily on keyword data – are probably shaking their fists in anger right now. GOOGLE!
Google’s point of view about the encryption
According to Google representatives, the encryption was done in the name of protecting the users. From whom? Well, here’s the weird part. The bearer of bad news, Search Engine Land, offers an interesting theory and suggests that Google is actually attempting to obstruct NSA’s unjustified spying activity.
Considering that they were accused this summer of providing private information to the NSA, you can understand where this all is coming from. However, don’t you think that blocking everything except the ads click is somewhat strange? More importantly, why did they implement such a big change out of the blue?
The potential outcomes of the encryption
Those who are not too keen on conspiracy theory have a more logical explanation for this action. To put it simply, similar to any other legit businesses out there, Google is just trying to increase its revenues by promoting paid services.
Following are three potential scenarios you might see in the near future:
PPC will explode
If you’re desperate to get some insight on the fruits of your labor, then all you have to do now is spend some cash in Google’s AdWords. With just a few bucks, you will gain access to an invaluable treasure of keyword data.
Not only will this leave you coming back for more, but there are also high chances that you’ll reconsider your marketing budget by adding more cash every month. Let’s not forget that your competition will also need the same keyword data for the exact same reasons as you!
You could be charged for data specific to your site
Even though PPC campaigns might not be your piece of cake, don’t forget that you still need to know the keywords that work best for your inbound marketing strategy. Moreover, you can’t run a successful online business without knowing how to name your pages, can you?
In today’s tough market, possessing this kind of info is like owning the Holy Grail. Therefore, since they already have the expertise, all the data they need and are the one who set the rules, Google could consider starting a consulting service with the keyword data.
So, what can you do about it?
For the time being, it is too early to draw a conclusion about how this change will affect bloggers and site owners. In case your SEO strategy is highly dependent on the keyword data, then it might be time to reevaluate your options.
For webmasters and marketers who put in a lot of time and effort into their SEO strategy and don’t rely solely on the analytic data, there are still some methods to measure and use the search data:
- In spite of the fact that you’re unable to identify the exact keywords used, you can ballpark it. Afterwards you can correlate your efforts and optimize your website accordingly, using content that can appear in organic searches.
- Even though Google doesn’t provide this data anymore, don’t forget that there are other search engines as well. Granted, Google owns quite a big percentage of the market and is very popular with users. On the other hand, analytics websites could still offer you valuable information regarding the rest of the searches. Individually, search engines like Yahoo, Bing, AOL or Ask.com don’t give you much, but together they account for approximately 33% of searches.
- In the event that you decide to try out PPC, then it is important to connect your AdWords account to Google Analytic, so you can actually use the data for effective keyword research.
- Last, but not least important, Page Rank will continue to play an important role for Google, so you could use PR to measure the SEO results and the effectiveness of content creation.