Back in late October 2011 when Google first started blocking organic keyword data for people who were signed into their google emails while searching, Matt Cutts said something to the effect that this total of blocked keyword data wouldn't exceed 10% (or something to that effect).
Google's so called reasoning to block keyword data was to protect the "privacy of users". Meanwhile complete keyword data was provided to users of adwords.
Today of course as everyone has realized that 10% threshold has been passed long ago. In fact I see posts today announcing the "not provided" percentage has passed 50% for many websites.
I took a look at one of our small smb sites that focuses on local search. What is our experience?
During November and December 2011 Not Provided represented about 15% of organic traffic.
During 2012 we ranged from a low of 20.5% in January to a high of 32% Not provided in one late month.
This year Not Provided has been respectively starting with January:
and this month running at 58% with this last week running at 73%
Of course this huge bump coincides with Google's hyper efforts to get people signed into google + every which way.
Organic keyword data is being lost.
Back in the early part of this CENTURY in the early 2000's when I first became acquainted with the power of the web...I was completely ignorant about all these things.
We only knew we had put up a couple of business websites starting in the late 1990's and by the early 2000's we started noticing how people were finding our businesses on the web, using built in contact forms to get a hold of us instead of callling us....and this entire web thing looked increasingly more powerful and important.
I became the in house expert on this phenomena. I recall the three earliest extraordinary learning points.
A) Google was becoming the dominant search engine
B) From business journals I learned that google's algo's for high ranking depended on links
C) There was keyword data available that told you what phrases people used who clicked on your site.
That last piece of information was both stunning and illuminating. We had run some local businesses by this time for close to 20 years. They depended on various forms of advertising including print, local radio or tv, the yellow pages and various and sundry other local media opportunities.
The fascinating information was that keyword data, of a sort that had never been available before now gave you insights into what worked for your business.
It was widely spread among the professional advertising world and to all the major advertisers. Keyword data was an extraordinary insight that had never been available before in any method.
As long time users of the Yellow Pages, an advertising venue that, in our cases, was accompanied by high conversion rates, this information was likened to a gift from the heavens. We had unusual types of businesses that didn't fall into existing narrow Yellow Page categories. We were forced to spend on a large multiple of categories covering many YP books covering a large regional territory.
It was expensive. But it worked. For those consumers that took the time to search and look for you in the YP's....they already had a stronger predisposition to purchase than finding us in other media sources.
From our perspective Search Engines were the great big Yellow Pages. People used search to uncover items or services or information in which they were interested and/or were interested in purchasing.
In our particular cases keyword data cleared up all the mystery connected to our usage of keywords. Certain phrases and categories worked for our odd-ball businesses and other phrases didn't. So we hugely valued this keyword data. It was available via the web, there were services that provided this information, albeit most of them at the time cost something.
The information was incredibly valuable to us and the cost for the businesses(es) was minimal compared to the value. Ultimately google purchased a keyword data provider and converted it to free usage as Google Analytics. In doing this they also severely damaged and hampered the pay for keyword data providers. They also made the weak keyword data tools provided to hosts irrelevant and weak. Google Analytics's data was rich compared to that of all the other free data providers.
Effectively Google killed the keyword data business.
Down the line Google decided to kill free keyword data for websites. They started in late 2011 and in so doing promised this change wouldn't effect but 10% of traffic. In that way they probably muted opposition to their changes at that time.
Now keyword data is hidden at some level near the 50% range. This effects every website. It effects the individual webmasters and it affects every single element of the economy let alone every non economic entity in the world. It simply effects much and most of what drives economies and much of life around the globe.
And google holds the lions share of all that data while everyone else and every other entity has been deprived of that information that was available when the web first developed and continued to be available up till late October 2011.
It frankly irks the hell out of me. I simply see it as the unbridled power of a monopoly and the dangers and problems associated with any kind of monopoly environment.
I could go on ranting...but I'll stop here.
What do you think???