Aaron Walls subject matter is about google versus webmasters. He touches on a number of points. I like to look at these issues in terms of our own sites, our own experiences, and our own numbers.
In a different thread I referenced a methodology we've used to analyse the effectiveness of our seo and ppc efforts. In that the sites are local we have regional campaigns with finite borders theoretically capturing both the total volumes of impressions on a keyword phrase and then in our own analytics we can see how many total clicks we get.
I looked at data for one important phrase for us from a before "not provided" and before IOS6 was blocking all search traffic and then from a recent perspective. I also know that roughly over that time we've had very similar visibility in google for that phrase. It was strong a couple of years ago. Its strong now. Basically over those years we've had a #1ppc position 24/7, an organic result above the google PAC, a number 1 position in the map Pac...and the map itself showed either only our business or it shows us at the top of a PAC.
Mobile traffic percentages and totals have grown a lot in the last few years. In mobile the visibility might be relatively stronger. With smaller screens all that relative dominance gives us even bigger percentages of the mobile screen. There are some other elements to mobile. both the ppc ads and the PAC version have prominent CALL buttons..which we like. If a user hits the call button off the ad, we know it and can track it. If the user hits the call button off the PAC location we don't track it. ( I think if we add event tracking we can capture those calls from an analytic basis.
We actually track total leads separately and internally. Fortunately leads are going up.
But our base analysis of comparing all clicks against impressions in the region just doesn't work like it did. Huge volumes of not provideds from google and until the last few days Directs via the IOS6 in mobile simply distort and change the hard data.
Pre not provided days with that strong visibility we were seeing 60, 65--up to 68% of the impressions hitting our site. Jeez that is a lot. The phrase is a local discovery phrase for the service--> service/city we also have checked it for variations on that search phrase: city/service and service in city; we had similar visibility for the same phrases and similar stats. We have plenty of other long tail and geo phrases that hit the site but that is a big one and fortunately for us an effective one.
I looked at the same phrase from Jan 1 to July 31 this year. All that desktop, mobile and tablet traffic. On mobile we see over 50% came in as DIRECT. that is Apple's doing ...not google. But jeez. Before the IOS6 we were getting 70-80% google search traffic so that makes that analysis virtually worthless. On the desktop/and tablets...well over 40% of our organic google traffic was not provided.
the net result was that of search phrases I could count....for that phrase we saw about 34% of impressions...not the 60-68% we were seeing before all this SE and IOS6 blocking. Of the 34% a large part of that is ppc.
Without context or understanding...the whole thing looks to me like Google PPC is REALLY HUGE and vital roughly worth about 1/2 of all that traffic.
But its only with context and history that I know its not. When I back out all the not provideds and all that Apple Direct traffic...it looks to me like google and apple blocked my access to in depth information of about 35% of all the traffic on the site...and well over 40% of the probable google traffic.
The visibility of these keywords is very close to the screenshots we have from it from prior years...when there wasn't this kind of data blockage from google and from apple. On a mobile it seems to me to be more prominent.and with more prominence comes more clicks and calls.
But we can't measure results on this important phrase like we could as little as a year ago and longer. Google and Apple blocked us...and Apple just stopped...but google stepped in immediately to block that data.
To me these hard numbers support Aaron Wall's claims. Its google versus webmasters. Possibly it always has been as Bobb referenced above...but its more pronounced in a more insidious way...with a side effect being that google is simultaneously more aggressively pushing ppc/adwords....and frankly the only data you have access to gives them even more credibility.
I just keep going back to the same thought process. Go-ogle is a big monopoly--too big for everyone else. The EU should hit them hard, imho, the US gov should hit them hard, Canada should hit them hard, etc.
at least that is my $0.02