Thursday, July 31, 2014

Search Privacy is Making it Difficult to Judge What Web Visitors Want

Of late, there were many privacy requirement from companies. That means, information about what people want or searching is now hidden from web masters. I thought such information would not infringe on users browsing, after all no personal information were divulge. The search keyword terms is useful as it shows what the web visitors interest, and yet Google is now hiding this. Without this information, there is now no way to know to what extend how people found your website.

You can only guess in very broad terms based on the landing pages of your website, but not knowing what keywords they were using in the search. For those planning to set up a website and trying to figure out how to market their products, this blocking of keywords from Google makes it harder to look for new customers.

Although I'm just blogging on a general basis, I do get a kick out from visitors coming to my website base on some keywords even though I didn't optimised my website as such. I suppose Google is trying to weed out webspam and blocking keyword query is probably one of their strategy.

Many of us bloggers are just scraping by trying to earn a little side pocket money from the hardwork of blogging (yes, blogging is not easy thing to do, especially if it requires research and accurate information, etc). The Pandas and Penguin algorithm has killed many goods sites in their attempt to weed out webspam. Call it collateral damage, chemotherapy if you will, where good cells are killed along with the bad cancer cells.

Search privacy keywords unavailable

Looking through my web analytics, there isn't any meaningful data on what specific topics is bringing in the web traffic. Though I could guess somewhat from what was being written, so in broad terms, somebody wants to know about something but not quite what exactly.

Generating web traffic now cannot solely rely on web search. Now you have to use other strategies to get your web traffic. For big companies, they do so by requiring a mandatory opt-in sign up if you want to read their articles, and later send out newsletters to keep the visitors returning. Additionally they also need a mixture of social networking pages such as Twitter and Facebook to keep the users coming back.

Although the small single person web master could do that too, but it will much more effort due to limited time and resources. After all, who got so much time for doing so many things?

Anyway, Google search belongs to Google, and they can do whatever they please to their search program. The nearest contender right now is Yahoo and Bing, and they are still way behind in terms of people using their search. When Google started they were giving quite good accurate search results, but with all the hacking at their search algorithm, I'm thinking maybe Bing or Yahoo might give me a better search results. Nowadays I'm using a bit more on Bing to search. The results and relevancy varies somewhat between Google and Bing, but at least I've got a choice to choose between the two results when looking for something online.

There is no exact way to know what kind of information that people may be interested when deciding to write about something. Even with keyword research, your article may still bomb on you. At least it with keyword research it gives you a direction to aim towards rather than groping in the dark. And this seems to be what's happening when Google blocks off the search keyword query in the analytics.

[update 30/Oct/2014]

Finally found a way to overcome the search privacy issue. Apparently Google can't share the data with other 3rd party app unless you allowed it. Because of the privacy concern of sharing user data, practically such information are not shared for your security.

Since I prefer using Statcounter over Google Analytics as the information displayed in Statcounter is easier to read, you can allow Statcounter to import the keywords from Google Analytics for your own understanding of search traffic coming to your website.

If your Statcounter keyword analysis page display this message "Replacing Keywords Unavailable", there is a link "automatically import" to show you how to do it. Click it and it explains the procedure. Just a matter of adding a restricted user in Google Webmaster Central granting Statcounter access to the information.

The importation is not perfect or up-to-date when viewing in Statcounter, but if your preference is to view the web traffic information in Statcounter as oppose to viewing it in Google Analytics, this is the way to do it.







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