When Google moved to secure search in October 2011, it was a blow to publishers, who began losing data about the search terms used to reach their sites. It also opened Google up to claims of hypocrisy, in that advertisers continued to receive the terms. Now, Google says it’s reexamining the issue and seeking a better solution.
Will clicks on non-paid listings go back to passing along search term data again? Will ad clicks have that withheld? Google didn’t say either way, and there could be other possibilities, as well.
Google Looking For Solution
The news came out of a keynote conversation with Google search chief Amit Singhalyesterday at our SMX West conference. I raised the issue of “not provided,” as it’s known as a short-hand term search marketers and many publishers in general.
I wasn’t really expecting much of an answer — in fact, I’ve written so much about the topic, with relatively little response from Google about the perceived inequities and hypocrisy, that I’ve felt like a broken record. I certainly got surprised. Singhal said:
Over a period of time, we [Google's search and ad sides] have been looking at this issue…. we’re also hearing from our users that they would want their searches to be secure … it’s really important to the users. We really like the way things have gone on the organic side of search.
I have nothing to announce right now, but in the coming weeks and months as [we] find the right solution, expect something to come out.
Here’s the complete segment. Note that references to “Sridhar” are about Sridhar Ramaswamy, who oversees Google’s ads.
Paid Clicks To Lose Terms? Organic Clicks To Get Them Back?
Google’s looking for a solution?” What’s that mean! After the talk, I saw people tweeting speculation that paid clicks might get terms withheld:
Or that organic clicks might get search terms back: