SEO News – Google Announces They Are Limiting Keyword Data For Analytics Users

Category: Industry News

Instead of the usual recap, I’ve decided to focus recap efforts on a HUGE stir in the SEO community currently happening. On the 18th of October, 2011, Google announced that in the interest of privacy, if you are signed into Google while conducting a search query, the actual keywords will no longer be available to analytics users. This goes for all website analytics products, including Google Analytics. The analytics programs will still be able to detect referral data from the search engine, but it will not be able to show the keyword from Google signed-in users. The exception to this rule: search queries through AdWords (paid search) traffic.

Needless to say this, in the eyes of many, seems like hypocracy, which is to guess why the SEO and Webmaster community is up in arms about it. Concealing data from users that was there previously under claims of security, yet this does not apply to people who pay for it? I will remain objective in this post, but again, there are glaring logical inconsistencies that has hundreds if not thousands of people in an uproar. Below are official statements given on Google’s blog and the Google Analytics blog.

Shortly after these posts went out, backlash saturated the comments sections of these posts, and website and blog owners went on a tirade explaining the inconsistencies and errors with this drastic decision. Below are a few of the posters that have something to say about this change.

And not so coincidentally, SEOMoz, who historically have been big Google fans, has this week’s Whiteboard Friday with a bigwig from Bing, Duane Forrester.

It is hard to tell the ramifications of both this concealment of logged-in user data, and the backlash that will come of it. Website owners and agencies alike are not liking this change as this takes away data they can use to develop long-term strategies. This dislike could potentially cause a trickle-down effect to other users of search engines as well. Now would be a good time for Bing to capitalize on this concern and start taking a bigger share of the search market.

Alan Bush

Alan Bush

Director of Strategy
Internet marketing strategist working on Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing campaigns.


  1. Nick Stamoulis
    October 24th

    While internet marketers obviously don’t appreciate the change, the average Google user will appreciate it or probably even have no clue that the change happened. This change doesn’t affect a search, so people aren’t going to defect from Google and switch to Bing.

  2. Peter Zmijewski
    November 3rd

    Hey,Really A great Post!!!!!!
    Looking forward for more post like this!!!!!!
    Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!

  3. It seems as though Google has undergone a major shift in its business philosophy. Apparently, user experience is no longer one of their goals.

  4. Vinjay Patel
    December 8th

    It seems like a push to only focus on the things that make them money (ie adwords). Why would you spoil the whole user experience when people doing SEO will most likely support their campaigns with SEO. If they didnt have so much traffic i honestly would love to move to a different traffic source.

  5. Chuck Ferraro
    January 13th

    Thanks for the info! You really should be charging for this!

  6. Money makes the world go round once again. I thought this a quite interesting Search Engine Market share split although there is no date on specific devices used. I think with the progression to mobile search there is a progressive requirement for security. Although when there is a winner someone has to loose?

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