The demise of the keyword
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Google has finally put the nail in the keyword coffin, rendering both your Natural and Paid Search reports (keywords and engines) largely useless. Irrespective of your analytics platform, you will no longer get any keyword data coming from Google – and the other search engines are likely to follow suit.
The latest announcement from Google confirms that the search giant will no longer be sharing search data with marketers. Last September they stopped sharing Natural search terms for “security reasons” and as of April this year they’re no longer sharing your Paid Search terms.
So, you will now have a gaping hole in your conversion analysis capability.
Brent Dykes, from Adobe, recently published an interesting article about the demise of the keyword, and likens it to “playing basketball against another team that calls all the fouls and timeouts, controls the scoreboard, and always forces you to play skins”. I’ll add to that by saying “and then taking their ball with them when they’re losing”.
A frustrating part of all of this in my opinion is the absolute apathy that marketers seem to have towards the changes. Google wants revenue. They want you to use Paid Search. They want you to use their tools. If marketers did a rolling blackout on their AdWords for a day per month, I wonder if Google would open it up again – because it has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with revenue.
But anyway, there’s my rant.
For Paid Search though, it’s not the end of the world. You can still get some data coming through if you use the AdWords TrackValue parameters. We’ve been using them for quite some time now, simply put them onto your links and use your s_code to look for those parameters and save the values into eVars. At least you’ll continue to have some visibility on things. But, it’s probably only a matter of time before the 5th Estate removes that capability too.
So, best to just ignore your search-based reports now; even to the point of hiding them in your menus.