The Web commnity is still debating the onset of “Google Keyword Armageddon,” in which Google (GOOG) recently made the decision to encrypt the bulk of the keyword data from logged-in user searches. It’s not as bad as people are making it sound.
Yes, a vast amount of keyword data that was once available to people who wanted to analyze traffic patterns is no longer available. This is not to be ignored. But there is still plenty of data about user search patterns. There are ways to work around it.
Intially, upon discovering this news, the Web community went ballistic, tossing accusations of “evil” Google’s way. One guy even called Google a “whore.”
But in digging into the story for CMSwire.com, I found that many of the professionals impacted the most, including Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Web analytics consultants, said the hysteria has been overblown.
Why should you care? Google is an incredibly influential company. It’s safe to say that the bulk of Internet traffic moves through Google’s search engine, though that’s changing as social channels become more influential. For this reason, even subtle changes that Google makes in its policies can affect millions of businesses. Take the infamous Panda and Penguin updates to its search algorithms. These changes to the search algorithms can have huge affects on Web traffic patterns, altering the direction of millions clicks. Some companies even claim that a Google update can put them out of business. More Google has made more changes by introducing something called Hummingbird.
And now there’s keywords being taken off the table. Google says the keyword encryption move was made to add to security and privacy of search. Although Google has made some disengenous statements about the move (such as saying it would only effect less than 10% of searches), generally I buy the reasoning. There’s already to much “open” keyword data floating around the Internet, and encrypting a loggin-in user search, on the face of it, actually makes sense.
The development is no doubt dramatic, just because Google keyword data has been part of the fabric of the Internet for so long. But it’s not a disaster, and I do not think Google had nefarious intentions behind the move. They are trying to improve the search experience. Don’t buy into the hysteria! Read the story on CMSwire.com, and decide for yourself. It’s clear the Web industry is already adapting by using a plethora of alternative Internet traffic tools.