There have been some pretty sensational articles written about Google removing some data that they used to feed sites within Google Analytics. See (Google ended Free Data for examples) The data Google used to provide was the actual keyword someone typed to reach your site. For example, my site is often found when someone searches “Google Adwords” in the CT area. This is of course very helpful data, and gives me immediate feedback on the success of my posts.
So, Why did Google remove this data? According them, it’s to make search more secure. Here is where we see a “BIG” secret that the average user doesn’t know. For years, I’ve been able to see the exact search term you type up here in your browser if you visit my site:
So, when a user visits that typed “Google Adwords”, I can set a filter and see how long they were on the site, how many pages they read, and if they filled out the contact form or not for example. I can then match that entry up if I wanted to with my contact forms, and probably figure out who typed this term. Does that scare you?
If it does, get ready… Every site that uses google analytics can do things like this. BUT, it is all done in the aggregate. There is no personally identifiable information given, so I can’t figure out who searched what without a whole bunch of extra legwork. This becomes even more difficult when you have hundreds of visits under the same keyword.
What did Google change? (Understanding Impression Data vs. Visit Data)
Keyword Visit Data
Google simply removed the keyword term from your visit in my analytics data, which is fine! A good search engine optimization strategy relies on getting ranked for terms that are searched frequently, and we can still see data like this in webmasters.
So, what used to be here in Google Analytics: Acquisition>Keywords>Organic covered the keywords actual visitors used to reach the site.
Impression Data (Where your site appears in Search Results)
What I find more important, especially when writing content is where your site appeared in Google’s search results. This can be found here: Acquisition>Search Engine Optimization>Queries (after you link webmasters to analytics)
So, as you can see in the pic above, I appear in search results for all sorts of things. Managing this data is actually much more important in the big picture because it is further up in “the funnel” If you’ve hired a search firm, you should be talking about impressions and search rank more often than visit data. The most important part of content creation is making sure you write about things that help your product, service, or brand.
The bottom line: Don’t Panic! Write the best content you can, and the clicks will come as users share and comment on your posts.