Today, Rand looks at Google’s new way of serving keyword referral data, breaking the hearts of white hat SEO’s everywhere. Basically, if a user is logged in to Google, and they complete a search and click on your link from the organic results, you will not get the keyword data. The keyword will come up as “not provided”. However, if they click on a paid listing, then you will receive the data. If a not logged in user completes the search and clicks an organic link result, you will still get that data.
Google says they’re doing this to protect user privacy, which is strange as they already provide options for people not wanting to pass on their search data through the SSL search. Ian Lurie posits that the actual reason may be that Google wants to leverage their ability to be the only ad network that is aware of search behaviour. This will block out other providers.
What you can do
Measure quantity/percent of lost keyword data. Do this by taking the number of not provided and divide by total visits from Google. Track this!
Leverage your internal search query data, Bing, Yahoo! and remaining Google data.
If you feel strongly, tell Google how you feel. Blog, or write to your congressional rep and your Adwords representatives.