All I Want for Xmas Is My Search Data Back | Encrypted Search & SEO
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All I Want for Xmas Is My Search Data Back

Posted in Search & Social — December 8, 2011

OK, Google, what the h-e-double hockey sticks? You give, then you take away. You say you’re cool with SEO, then you kneecap us. Seriously, where is this passive-aggression coming from? I can understand you hating on Google Hates Christmas and Childrenspammers. You should. We’re with you on that one.

If it’s all about making a the Internet more accessible, and ensuring searchers get what they’re looking for, well, come on, help me help you. My job involves helping our clients show that they’re relevant to people searching for their products or services. If I can’t see what they’re looking for, and where they’re finding it, how can I help my client give them a better experience?

Hook a brother up?

Background data for those who don’t know what I’m blabbering about: On October 18, 2011 (Black Tuesday), Google announced that it would henceforth encrypt searches done by those signed into their Google accounts (Google+, Gmail, etc.). This means that the keywords used in those searches and any attendant data is invisible – it shows up in Google Analytics as “(not provided).” Google has framed it as a step toward protecting user privacy, and the move has actually been lauded by the ACLU and other defenders of online privacy. Strangely, these defenders seem to look the other way when it comes to paid search – AdWords clients have full access to search data. In addition, what privacy are they protecting? I suppose there is, somewhere, some twisted individual who would compare Analytics data against their server logs, then connect the IP with a host/address and, wait, I’m getting lost – what would they do then?

Matt Cutts played it off as no big deal, claiming that encryption would, at most, affect a single digit percentage of user data. Try again, big fella:

Google Encrypted Search Data

That data was taken from activity concerning a representative cross section of our clients, ranging from international B2B to ecommerce, over the past thirty days. Even though a Client #6 was strangely untouched (a seeming anomaly – I have my suspicions as to why this is happening but can’t share them due to respect for their privacy (IRONY!)), we’re still averaging out at just under 20%. One-fifth.

One-fifth is significant. If I lost one fifth of the fingers on my right hand, well, that’d suck. If Google executives suddenly lost one-fifth of their salaries, I bet they wouldn’t be cool with it. If Google had to pay 20% of their profits in corporate tax (instead of absolutely nothing) heads would roll. Literally, people would be decapitated.

I’m calling BS, ya big Grinch.

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