Google Analytics will no longer show search terms for logged in users

When I first read about this I assumed it meant that Google was doing away with the keyword tool, but it turns out to be affecting Google Analytics. This update will mean that organic keywords used to find a webpage will only be logged by Analytics if a user is NOT logged into a Google account, or in Google’s own words:

How will this change impact Google Analytics users?

When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google “organic” search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site. Keep in mind that the change will affect only a minority of your traffic. You will continue to see aggregate query data with no change, including visits from users who aren’t signed in and visits from Google “cpc”.

Does this make any sense? Google is arguing privacy, but it’s never bothered me that analytics tracks my keywords and I can’t imagine Joe and Jane Public cares that much either. I guess it will affect tech-focued niches more than non-tech as those users are more likely to have a Google account, but if Google Plus does take off then it could be a general problem of losing an important metric.

The answer? Switch to another analytics package that does provide the search data. I’m not going to make any changes until I’ve seen what impact it actually has on my niches.

Read “Making search more secure: Accessing search query data in Google Analytics” at Google Analytics Blog