Like most data junkies, I’m as angry as anyone for Google’s recent decision to hide keyword data in Google Analytics for users who are logged-in to their Google accounts. Basically, all searches by logged-in users will be in https://www.google.com rather than http://www.google.com as a secure way to search the web. Instead of reporting the keywords that these users typed to find your website, you will see (not provided).
So someone searching for “analyze niche” last week would appear as so:
While a Google user searching for “analyze niche” this week would appear as so in Google Analytics:
At first I thought this would only have a significant impact on websites in the tech niche or blogging niches, but I’m already seeing an impact on sites that typically have low-tech visitors.
Here is a screenshot of the (not provided) visits in the first week of the change:
To be completely honest I didn’t expect to see any impact yet, but even in a non-techie niche I’m seeing an impact. Granted it is less than 1% of all keyword traffic for the week, but if the number continues to grow I will get concerned.
If you are like me, you are signed-in to Google virtually all day long. And with Google+ and Gmail growing in popularity, this could really be a significant change for everyone. This is going to have a significant impact on blogs in every niche.
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Avinash Kaushik is the web analytics guru at Google and has already posted a tip on how to measure the impact of this decision. He promises to continue to guide users in the future on this topic.
Rand Fishkin posted an emergency Whiteboard Friday session over the weekend that should help as well.
Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land has some thoughts as well.
Start tracking your (not provided) keyword results and see how much the data is impacting your ability to analyze the data. If you are seeing a significant impact, then look at the data from Bing and Yahoo search results. The keyword break-down of those search engines could really help put the Google data into perspective. If you see some keywords missing in Google, you might want to see how you are performing in the other engines and check your SERP rank.