Eilene Zimmerman of the New York Times had an interesting post on NYTimes.com the other day regarding how Google’s recent search changes could negatively affect small businesses. In case you missed the announcement, Google has decided to switch all searches over to encrypted searches, which means that no more keyword data will be passed to site administrators. This move expands upon a similar move Google made two years ago which restricted the search information site owners were able to gather from users logged into Google accounts. This type of information is vital for any company attempting to the develop a search engine optimization marketing plan, so news of the change has implications far and wide for small business owners.
In order to delve a bit deeper into exactly how these changes will affect, Zimmerman set up a Q&A session with Louis Gagnon, chief product and marketing officer at the online marketing company Yodle. The two discussed a number of different topics, and Gagnon had some great insight into how this change will impact the everyday small business owner. In response to the question of whether or not there will be any other way business owners will be able to access search term information for their site now, Gagnon said:
Yes — you have to pay for it. You will have to create a Google AdWords account and an ad campaign. Paying for AdWords allows you to access that string of search words, but it’s related to the number of people who click on your ad. If no one clicks on the ad, you won’t see any information. That means there is an incentive to spend more and for a longer period of time, to test keywords.
Ah ha…it’s all starting to make sense now.
Google is instituting these new changes under the guise of security precautions (in a 2011 statement from their official blog, Product Manager Evelyn Kao said, “As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver.”), but it seems like their might also be a bit of shrewd fiscal considerations afoot as well. Successful search engine optimization is as the world continues to shift towards an internet-based marketplace, so it only makes sense that Google would want to capitalize wherever they can.
Whatever the reason, it’s sure to make life just a little bit more difficult for small business marketing teams everywhere.