Google announced on Tuesday that it would be removing keyword query data from Google referrals for searches performed by users logged into their Google account. The reason given by Google was to protect user privacy. “ Protecting user privacy is important to us” states Amy Chang or the Google Analytics team, on the Google Analytics blog post announcing the change.
However, Google is NOT protecting the privacy of those logged in searchers who click on a Google Adwords paid ad. Their keyword data will still be transmitted to paid advertisers’ Google Analytics accounts. Aaron Wall wrote a great post on the hypocrisy of Google’s ham-handed PR.
The bottom line is that businesses will no longer be able to see all keywords that are bringing visitors to their website. The amount of data effected, I assume, will depend on what percentage of Google searches are done by logged in users, and I didn’t have a good feel for that number initially (according to Matt Cuts it will be in the single digits).
I took a look at the stats for this website (http://www.pleasantonwebdesignblog.com/) and saw a new search term named “(not provided).”
So for the three full days for which I have keyword data that is marked (not provided), slightly less than 4% of my total keyword data was effected. Not a big deal to me. So while there is potential for Google Analytics to lose it’s value over this issue, I’m not seeing it right now.