Google Privacy Decisions Frustrate SEO Analysts and Car Dealers


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Google just made a big change in how they will track organic visits to your website. If a consumer is logged into their Google Account and does a search in Google, and clicks on your link, you WILL NOT be told which keyword they used.

This has a major impact in keyword optimization and web content strategies. Google will still show referral website traffic but not the keywords used in search to arrive at your site.

Some blogs are estimating that only 10% of web surfers are logged in but I think the number has to be greater. There are 300 million gmail users and 550,000 Android phones are activated a day so this is a big issue.

Here is the official announcement from Google:

As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, particularly for signed in users, we believe that protecting these personalized search results is important. As part of that effort, today the Google Search team announced that SSL Search on will become the default experience for signed in users on (see the Official Google Blog post to learn more).

Protecting user privacy is important to us, and we want to take this opportunity to explain what the Google Analytics team is doing to help you continue measuring your website effectively in light of these changes.

How will this change impact Google Analytics users?

When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google “organic” search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site.

Keep in mind that the change will affect only a minority of your traffic. You will continue to see aggregate query data with no change, including visits from users who aren’t signed in and visits from Google “cpc”.

What is Google Analytics doing about it?

We are still measuring all SEO traffic. You will still be able to see your conversion rates, segmentations, and more.

To help you better identify the signed in user organic search visits, we created the token “(not provided)” within Organic Search Traffic Keyword reporting. You will continue to see referrals without any change; only the queries for signed in user visits will be affected. Note that “cpc” paid search data is not affected.

Our team continues to explore ways that we can surface relevant information, like search query data, to help you measure the effectiveness of your website and marketing efforts, and as always, we welcome any feedback or comments that you have.

Thank you for continuing to help us improve Google Analytics.

What do you have to say about this change? This is another example of why dealers need to keep connected with changes in Google because it seems like MANY things are changing on a regular basis.

I setup a text alert system when Google makes changes that will significantly impact your dealership. To signup, just text: PCGTIPS to 75674

Of course, this is also a reminder why you need to attend 2012 DMSC in February. You can save $300 if you register this month. Details are at:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Brian Pasch
Brian Pasch is an 20+ year veteran of the direct marketing industry. His career has spanned both management and technology roles. He is known for his expertise in consumer data warehousing models as well as digital marketing strategy. He is the author of four books on marketing and his latest book is entitled "Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing."


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