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Ooooh, Google!

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Google AnalyticsOh Google. What will you think of next? Now we all know that Google loves to think long term, and they make half of their decisions based on what will be the best for the future. For instance, they bought Zagat to better fulfill their local review requirements. Now they are withholding keyword term feedback for organic search for their analytics users. Most to all are confused and angry by their decision to only show keyword feedback for paid search and for those who are not logged into Google accounts.

Google claims that only very few people search while logged into their Google accounts, but over time, that may change as more people get used to Google’s services and start searching on their Google Phones. So why is Google withholding organic search keyword reports now? Well, for the long term, they know that this decision will force people to rely on the Google Analytics Enterprise program, which requires payment, in order to receive the organic search keyword feedback.

Google is adding features to webmaster central/tools like search query reporting, where you can get the organic search keywords that drive clicks to website. However, even with Webmaster, we cannot tell what the visitors did after they came to our website; we can only see what keywords brought them to the site. Basically, Google is moving towards keyword level reporting with Webmaster and Analytics, and in order to get Webmaster reports you have to go through the process of being considered a website owner through meta tags and html files. The verification method is needed so Google can be sure you are a legitimate person who can have that data. But the question remains, why is Google making this change?

Well, in short, Google can make more money with their enterprise program. From the point of view from our SEO master Dan Reno, “Its impact is potentially very large, and I think that in a lot of ways this is a step to steal market share from the Omnitures of the world.”  Is this the beginning of the end of Google’s friendly user-centric approach? Are we finally seeing the need to appease shareholders trump Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” mantra? We wait and see. Meanwhile we will go along with Google and recommend that our clients upgrade to the Enterprise version of G.A. After all, if you can’t see the data, then you don’t know what you’re paying your SEO team for.