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Important Google Analytics Update!

Google Analytics Announces A Noteworthy Change To Site ReportingToday, Google announced that they will be disabling search query data in Google Analytics, for searches performed by users who are signed into a Google account. In this announcement, Google also stated that SSL search (searches conducted at the URL will be the default searching environmnent for signed in users.

Google’s reasoning behind these two changes is to promote greater user security for conducted searches that can be associated with Google accounts and the private user data contained therein, as Google focuses more on the personalization aspect of their users’ experience within all Google properties.

What This Means for Google Analytics Users

When Google users are signed into their Google account and visit your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google’s, will continue to recognize the visit as a Google search, but Google Analytics will no longer report the query terms that the user entered into Google in order to reach your site.

Google is reminding Analytics users that for most of the websites in their index, this change will affect a negligible minority of site traffic & traffic measuring methods, but the effects can reverberate through to other tools and resources site owners have at their disposal, Google Webmaster Tools being one of the most prominent. There’s also already been some blowback within the SEO community, noting that PPC/Paid Advertising traffic is being left unaffected & that it suggests “user security” is not the primary motive for this change.

Google is also reassuring website owners that they will still see unchanged aggregated query data, including visits from users who aren’t signed in and visits from Google’s Pay-Per-Click platform, known as AdWords. The most notable differences in search query data will be for individual searches, performed by signed-in users.

What Google Is Doing For Site Owners & Webmasters

In the announcement, Google is noting that site owners will still be able to obtain reporting for all SEO traffic and promises that site owners will still be able to measure such metrics as conversion rates, market segmentations and more. The cheif difference will be where Analytics users once were able to see the search queries used for every visit to their site that originated from Google, site owners will now see the token “Not Provided” in place of the search query used by signed-in users.

What This Means For Crest Media & Our Clients

As most of our clients who are well engaged with their marketing campaigns can expect, this makes analyzing the effectiveness of an SEO campaign somewhat more challenging. We are however, researching all facets of this story and are working dilligently to continue providing our Internet Marketing clients clear, thorough and accurate reporting on their campaigns.

We are already in the process of developing alternate strategies to help provide our clients with the most accurate information on the performance growth of their websites. We are confident that when comparing new Analytics reports with overall ranking reports, the “blanks” created by Google’s changes to Analytics can still effectively be “filled in” by our thoughtful and logically inclined SEO representatives.

Check back soon for more developments on this story, as well as our advice and opinions on what site owners can do to best analyze traffic sources and market growth of their respective websites, as well as expert campaign improvement strategies. Let us know what you think about Google’s changes to Analytics in the comments section, below.

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