To hear that Google is putting users’ search privacy on top of their priority is quite impressive, but to see a price tag attached to it is nothing but disappointing. When Google announced that they will begin encrypting—sealing, hiding, coding etc—searches and outbound clicks by default with SSL search, it sounded like a death bell for regular users. Being clueless about the referrer data that exposes what people use to search—except with ads—is like being blind on your own website operation. Referrer data are valuable date for every site owner, and having it blocked means being incapable of understanding and having a knowledge how their sites are found through Google.
Is Google being rude? A price to privacy, a major dilemma
It can be a fatal blow to Analytics as well, because it’s function and capabilities are somehow limited compared with its past capacities. According to Google Analytics’ blog, “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.” (Italics mine). 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.”
This only shows that even though website owners can still track organic/free/SEO traffic in general, those who do conversion analysis in a very technical and detailed way (meaning, down to the keyword level) will be needing a guessing sharpness just for them to fill in the missing pieces in the search data, which is the query term or the phrase users used to reach your website.
However, referrer blocking doesn’t apply to ads, for the advertiser will continue to gain and obtain it gets from the old school search. Technically—and clearly—this move isn’t a fair one, especially to those who are relying heavily on free services, needless to mention the new, nascent and start-ups.
Google is fair. At least for paying advertisers
Checking their blog, it seems like Google is engineering things so that things will still word for the advertisers—for the paying entities—but not for those who are not. Looking at the simple, unwritten law of advertising, which is fairness to all, to all members and part of the buying market (consumers, advertisers, etc), this recent move, is one blatant violation. Well, perhaps in the etiquette side of the equation.
If their move concerns not only the log-in users—meaning, everyone—then this can mean that they are concerned not only with the money they can get from the paying advertisers but with the entire idea of delivering security and privacy to everyone.
Or, if Google laid some options so that everyone can choose whether they want to obtain this privacy thing or not, or, if they had a survey asking what really people feels about it, then everything will be considered a fair game and not a shocking news.