Operation Internet Culling
Google no longer shares keyword referral data from Google users that are logged in. This only applies to organic traffic as the advertisers using Adwords will continue to receive data. Of course this is old news but I just wanted to mention a few things regarding this since a lot of what I’ve been reading seems to lack a few elements. You can look at this masterful move by Google in 2 ways. First is why they did this and second is why they are doing it in this manner at this point in time. I’ll tell you right now the first is reason is more money but lets start with the second reason.
What Google is really doing here is setting expectations at a very opportune time in order manage backlash and future backlash. They are also gathering data on how this goes in terms of execution and results. It is claimed that only 10% of users will be affected from this change. First of all I find that number is highly unlikely. If you are logged into Google for any of their vast amount of services like Gmail for instance then you are a part of the claimed 10% that is logged in. So you must ask yourself this question: Is only 10% of all people searching on Google using services like Gmail? Extremely Doubtful. Ok so lets just assume for a second the 10% number is real. No big deal right? If that is the case then why do it? Google will tell you its because of protecting privacy of their logged in users. Well actually that’s not even a half truth. They only protect the ‘privacy’ of a user’s keywords sent to the sites they visit, but for the Google advertiser they send out the data as they did before. Of course Google keeps and uses that information for themselves as well. Should that fact be ignored? This creates lots of room for spin, which is exactly what they have done. Here is my view of the spin machine as it stands now:
Affected Party = Mood ==> Google Spin
General Webmaster = Very Upset ==> “Only 10% of users! =) ”
General User = Huh? ==> “We’re protecting your privacy! =) ”
Advertising Networks = Very Upset ==> “Only 10% of users! =) ”
Congressional Hearings = Hmm… ==> “We’re protecting user’s privacy! =) ”
Google Advertiser = Hmm… ==> “Stick with Google! Business as usual! =) ”
So back to expectations. This is just a taste of whats to come. They will more than likely kill off all keyword referral data whether a user is logged in or not (at some point in the future). Mission one accomplished: Expectations Set and Data Gathered on Execution.
Ok so now its very apparent they will stop sending all referral data at some point (not including Adwords advertisers). I believe this move was planned very far in advance. They released the official news of this ‘expectation setting event’ at a very opportune time with the recent congressional hearings and also some algo updates. I’m not going to go into that here but it is not just a coincidence. The main point is when the full effect of stopping all referral data is official, it will not be a complete shocker. Depending on how this little exercise went will depend on how fast and how exactly Google will put a stop to it completely. When it does happen you will see the spin machine all geared up to make privacy the major concern here for the users and I’m sure Google will throw out something big for all the webmasters to get their feet wet (or go all in) with Adwords.
Show me the money.
Even when the referral data stops completely it won’t be obvious even then how big of a deal this will actually be. Basically, over time many businesses will be forced to spend money with Adwords.
- All search marketing activity will have to be funneled through Adwords in order to track whats working.
- Doing SEO and being able to tell whats working and what isn’t will become super difficult. Implementing SEO and proving how well its working will be officially dead.
- At some point Google will release algo updates that ‘shepherd’ in new advertisers at will.
- With almost all ‘businesses’ using Adwords to some degree, new compartmentalized level privileges will be introduced inspiring advertisers to spend more money from that point on.
- Google’s list of ‘undesirable’ businesses will get much shorter. Say goodbye to all firms affiliated with: SEO, Re-targeting, metrics, tracking, monitoring etc.
More advertisers, and advertising for Google = More Money. And that’s just the beginning…