Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why the Google Changes? Ooh Ooh - I get it!

 Stripping out "+" in searches and not providing keyword referrals in analytics
Last week I posted about Google's announcement to stop reporting on referring key terms in Analytics, and I have been keeping up to date as much as I can with all the news around it since then.

2 Days ago Barry Schwartz posted an article to SEL about the changes in how we search on Google. Google has removed the ability to use the "+" in our advanced search.

Google themselves said:
"We're streamlining the ways you can tell Google to search for the exact keywords you type, whether it's an exact phrase or a single word, by focusing on the functionality of the quotation marks operator. So, if in the past you would have searched for [magazine +latina], you should now search for [magazine "latina"] to get the same results."

So it hit me this morning...

Since the launch of Google+ several months ago, as an SEO, I have at times found it difficult to search for "Google+" or even the "+1 button". I am sure that since the launch, Google themselves are having trouble seeing referring key terms. In the past the referring URL would have "+" in between the terms. So if someone searched "Google+" then the referring URL would strip out the "+" and those monitoring the referring terms for Google+ would just see "Google" as the referring term. So their question would be: Did people search "Google" or "Google+"?

With Google+ itself being under a microscope after the dying "Google Wave" and "Google Buzz" I can see someone saying to the powers that be that this needed to get fixed. Otherwise they couldn't accurately decide if Google+ is going to succeed.

The next step in this process is to strip the referring URLs of their "+" in between key terms. This unfortunately directly affects analytics as companies won't be able to accurately see referring search terms anymore.

So now Google just needs to fix the tracking of referring terms somehow. Google doesn't want to miss out on that data any more than we do. So be patient, it will come back again...