Is Google Analytics still good for SEO analysis ?
In last month, Google quietly made a change aimed at encrypting all search activity. — except for clicks on ads. Google says this has been done to provide “extra protection” for searchers, and the company may be aiming to block NSA spying activity. (see http://searchengineland.com/post-prism-google-secure-searches-172487 )
What does it mean ? it mean that in the Google analytics, when you go to find “keyword”, “Organic” section, the keywords that normally people search in Google will be replaced by “Not Provided” (see picture below)
(the Number 1 “Not provided occupied 3,733 search out of 5,929 search, occupy almost 63% of search, meaning Google hide 63% of the search keyword data.)
We look this in 2 ways, Firstly, Why Google need to do that ? is it really because of to provide “extra protection” ? Secondly, Is it still worth for us, as a SEO specialist, using Google Analytics to analyse the performance of the keywords?
The first question has been answer by Danny Sullivan from Searchengineland.com . If Google really want to provide extra protection, why the data in “Paid” keywords (Google Adwords), this “protection” has been taken out ? It seems that Google indirectly force the users to use Google Adwords in order to get precise data for analysis.
The second question, Since now the most keywords have been “hide” from Google, how do we know the keywords performance after I implement SEO ? We have tried using other statistic analysis tool such as Statcounter.com but the outcome is not satisfying.
Luckily, we have found 2 solutions, the first one is we setup a “second dimension” table for the organic keywords, choose “landing page” , Google Analytics will give us the search volume of the keywords vs landing page. Although we still could not see what are the keywords, but from the “landing page”, we can “reverse engineering” and learn what are the keywords that the user typed to get to the said landing page. With this tactics, we still can draft a performance analysis of the keywords.
The Second solutions is go for Google Webmaster Tool . With this tool , we can learn what are the keywords that people search and found our website, as well as the CTR (Click Through Rate). But Google Webmaster Tool has its own limitation, it only show the latest 2,000 search per day and the data for past 90 days.
My conclusion is , we are still rely on Google Analytics, only the analysis job now becoming hard.