If you’ve spent any time in Google Analytics, or any other analytics platform in the past year, you’ve likely spotted a pesky new “keyword” popping up within the organic traffic section. The keyword I’m referring to is (not provided), and due to several changes from Google and various browsers, the percentage of organic traffic being categorized under this term increased significantly in the second half of 2012.
So why is this new item appearing in your results and is there any hope to finding out what these users are actually searching on? Read on and you’ll soon find out…
In October Google announced an increased privacy setting for Google account users that created nervous anticipation among many SEOers. In order to further protect the privacy of Google users signed into their accounts, Google added a default setting that makes browsing done while logged in occur from an encrypted SSL (https://google.com). This privacy update blocks Analytics from providing some search data. If the user is logged in, queries/keywords resulting in a click will be classified as “not provided” in reports. Data from logged in users who select pay-per-click (PPC) ads will still appear in Analytics.
By Sam Oh, Marketing Technologist
Whether you use Google Analytics or Omniture for reporting, know how Secure Search will impact program measurement.
In May of 2010, Google launched its new Secure Search (or SSL Search) for public use. Users had to type in https://www.google.com (adding the ‘s’ after http) to reach Google Secure Search. By adding a secure option for search, Google created a way for people to protect their search queries and results from third-party sites or services, providing privacy. Learn more about Google Secure Search.
On October 18, 2011, Google made another change to make Secure Search the default when someone is logged into one of the Google services (e.g., gmail, google+, etc.). This means anyone logged into gmail who searches the Web using the same browser will be performing a Secure Search. However, there are still a few gaps. For example, if someone is logged in and searches using the browser toolbar, he or she is most likely not performing a secure search, as the toolbar was not setup with the https URL. In addition, searches that result in a paid link click will continue to report the original search query by the user.
So, how does this affect those who build and manage sites? Google’s Secure Search will no longer report organic (non-paid click) results in any third-party Web analytics tool, including Google Analytics. According to Google, this should affect less than 10% of overall search traffic. It may differ from site to site though. If your site uses Google Analytics, Secure Search will appear in keyword reports. If you’re an Omniture user, these searches will no longer be considered search engine traffic. Find info on how to report on Secure Searches in Omniture.
Providing relevant, accurate content is still the best way to get your site to rank well within Google. Moving forward, Google will continue to address user privacy and modify the way search results rank pages, and as online marketers, we must continue to adapt.
On Wednesday May 25 a new European Union privacy directive went into effect mandating that all websites targeting EU audiences gain consent before using cookies to track users for marketing purposes. Organizations that don’t comply could receive fines of up to $806,000.
We have already contacted our clients if we believe the directive could impact the work we currently do on their behalf. However, we wanted to send out this note to make sure that all of our clients are aware of the new regulation, share some insights into its interpretation and enforcement, and explain our plans for handling the changes.
Caveat: We are not lawyers. We recommend that everyone evaluate their own organization’s liability. That said, we plan to watch what happens with this directive and any similar legislation that gets passed in the U.S. in the coming months. As details are clarified and member nations determine how they will enforce the regulation, we will work with our clients to implement cost-effective, user-friendly solutions. In most cases we do not see a need to make urgent changes or stop web-based communications targeting EU audiences. Here’s why:
1) While the EU directive mandated that member countries put enforcement legislation in place by last Wednesday, only Estonia, Denmark and the U.K. have made any moves—and those moves have just been preliminary steps toward implementation. The U.K. governing body has stated that it will give marketers a year to comply.
How has the industry reacted? Based on our research and inquiries, it barely has. The European online media publishers we contacted ranged from unaware to unconcerned. Google let us know that while it is their Analytics cookie that tracks behavior, it is the advertiser’s responsibility to gain the appropriate consent. As always, there are a few exceptions—automation companies suggest that the directive applies to everyone and necessitates immediate action. Of course, it is also important to note that the leading automation companies hold a stake in the outcome of the directive since they have developed solutions to proactively gain consent (read about Eloqua’s “strict mode” in their linked article below).
For our part, we are keeping a close eye on the emarketing news coming out of Europe. We are advising clients and working with them to roll out appropriate updates guided by common sense. An online experience driven by the user’s privacy and informational needs builds trust, and trust builds successful relationships.
Posted by: Shannon Anderson, Project Manager
Social media marketing (SMM) is becoming an increasingly critical tactic in driving website traffic and staying involved in the conversation that surrounds a company’s industry. As you implement a social media campaign, it is important to track these efforts to see which sources are paying off.
Google Analytics now allows webmasters to see how users are interacting with a company’s website through the following sites:
To view this data requires Analytics add-ons, but once gleaned, it’s valuable in understanding what social bookmarking websites people are using to get to your site. Using this information, you can evaluate the target audiences of these sites and consider new ways to reach them. On some sites like Digg.com, you can even click directly to the users’ profiles who have bookmarked your site.