You may have already noticed a change to the way Google Analytics reports incoming search traffic. In the past, Google Analytics would send you data on every keyword that sent traffic to your site. Much to the dismay of Webmasters and SEOs around the world, some of that data is no longer available.
In October, Google announced that it would stop passing along keyword information from searchers that are logged into their Google Accounts. Instead, this search traffic will appear as “(not provided)”.
Publicly, Google says they are trying to protect the privacy of their users… but that doesn’t quite make sense because you can still access keyword data through an AdWords account. So what they are really saying is: “We want to protect user privacy unless you’re willing to pay for it.” They may also be trying to push alternative ad networks out of the market by cutting a portion of their data.
According to Google, this update will affect about 10% of keyword data, and from what we’ve seen in our Google Analytics accounts, this seems to be roughly accurate. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s definitely an inconvenience. Hopefully, the slew of negative comments on Google’s official announcement will make them change their minds.