UPDATE: A previous version of this blog stated that Google Analytics "is essentially going to be scrapped" and replaced. This is incorrect and this blog has been amended to reflect that.
Big changes are on the way in the world of SEO, as was announced in September. Google Analytics is going to change considerably, scrapping the keywords metrics function. At present many businesses use Google Analytics to identify the keywords that are proving the most successful in order to use them as part of SEO strategy to drive traffic to their website.
Historically, most of these keywords are made freely available with only a few listed as 'not provided.' But Google is about to encrypt all keyword search data, which means that the number of 'not provided' keywords appearing is soon going to be at 100%.
This move shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anyone who has had one eye on the movements of the search engine giant over the past couple of years. There has been a definite shift in attitude towards encouraging the use of organic content that is genuinely useful and tailoring Google to provide advantages to those sites employing this method. On the flip side, the search behemoth has started a shift away from those sites that are basically useless but are constructed to attract people thanks to black hat SEO techniques. Removing the ability to see which keywords are working is probably a logical next step.
There are numerous reasons being discussed as to why Google might be doing this. For starters, there was all the furore over the company possibly revealing data to the NSA and introducing this new encryption would stop such accusations as it would block those kinds of organisations too. Officially, the line is that Google is trying to protect online users' privacy by encrypting this information.
Whatever the reasons for the move, the key question is how is this going to affect SEO as we know it? Whilst some people are freaking out over the change to Google Analytics, actually the situation really isn't that bad. It represents a shift to towards relationships between concepts becoming more important, instead of the simple matching of a result to a keyword.
Although there can be the odd strange keyword that works in an SEO context, most of the time the successful keywords are those that would appear organically in a website anyway - so they are probably already there. There are also many other ways in which the success of digital marketing campaigns can be measured that don't require the tools that are currently available via Google Analytics.
So, it's really not all bad, even though some in the SEO industry might be crying into their coffee over the fact that Google Analytics is getting a reshape. For smart organisations it is simply a case of shifting focus to new monitoring mechanisms and ensuring that content is of the fresh, organic and useful kind that Google will reward.
If you need advice on the new regime then MD Communications can help. We can provide a wide range of organic keyword rich legal content, as well as strategy and direction for how best to approach the changes - contact one of the team today.