An Important Change to Analytics SEO referring Keywords

Published 19 Oct 2011

Author: Search Engine Marketing Team

A change is being made to the Google search interface that will soon start effecting what you can see in your Google Analytics and other analytics programs as far as referring keyword data from when people perform searches in Google and then arrive on your website.

Google is changing their search results so they run through and appear on a secure page (https) rather than an un secured (http) page.

The negative impact of this change for website owners is that you will no longer get the very useful data appearing in your website analytics about what keyword a user searched on before hitting your website due to the secure pages not allowing this information to be passed through to your analytics package. This will effect SEO results only whereas paid ads (Google adwords) referred users will still display the referring keyword.

This change will affect ALL analytics packages, not even Google's own analytics package is immune.

The one positive is that Google Analytics recently started displaying SEO keyword click through data to your website from the recently updated Google Webmasters interface. But this does not break down to individual user, so you cannot track what they did afterwards, you will just have impression and click data, you will not know  what SEO keywords lead to a conversion after they have clicked through.

This is a real shame and something that has astounded many in the online marketing community and something I think many are hoping Google will find a work around for, but don't hold your breath for now.

We at Gossipnet always use keyword referral data in our clients SEO reports. So ongoing we will have to report the information straight from webmaster tools. We will still be able to provide overall conversion numbers related to SEO, but just not what keywords actually provided the conversions.

We will continue to monitor this situation for possible work a round's.

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