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Google to stop giving referral data - by moving to SSL
Donna




msg:4376144
 7:49 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

[googleblog.blogspot.com ]

Is it me or does it means that we no longer will be able to use our server based tracking tools to get google referral data from search ? GA love anyone ?!?! Please correct me that I am wrong.

When you search from https://www.google.com, websites you visit from our organic search listings will still know that you came from Google, but won't receive information about each individual query.


From the look of it for the past couple months Google have officialy declared war on all webmasters.

 

Swanson




msg:4376903
 3:05 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Or, you are actually sharing the data between departments.

And you create algorithms that define your business in line with that - and you don't tell front facing staff.

Or you don't and your algos are basically so flawed that you could become the next alta vista.

I know which option I would take.

wheel




msg:4376905
 3:06 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

And then they say, they are re-positioning themselves to work outside of Google - i.e. social media, non-google traffic. One even said - they see a future without Google and how to look at working a business that doesn't need them.

I'm fairly conservative and I'm still making a living from Google. But I see the day when that changes. I figure I've got 5 years left riding Google's back, at most. So I need a new plan before then.

Not sure what that plan is yet, but developing a plan is in my thoughts.

It may be just integrating into the online world outside of Google. It may be just doing something different - which would be a shame, becuase consumers then lose the ability to buy this stuff from me online and we're back to the 1950's again.

The problem still is that outside of Google, everything's too fragmented.

indyank




msg:4376907
 3:11 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

the jig is up....goog is just an enormous personal data sucking black hole that wants nothing more then the complete and total control of the net....and that means getting rid of ANYTHING they do not control, IE webmasters that run websites. Every single move they do is to erase something and replace it with "goog this"


I don't disagree with you on it. However, like every other change that we had seen so far, Google has done this for its users. Yes, they do benefit from each of those changes in a number of ways. But "doing it for the users" is the theme they always prefer to stick to when releasing any change into public domain and it makes sense. This change isn't any different but why are people surprised at this?

Leosghost




msg:4376908
 3:18 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

But monks didn't run a multi-billion dollar business.

Oh but they did ..the monks were just the little guys at the "front counter" to plead poverty to the "marks"..you've seen the Vatican and it's fortunes and its holdings and lands all over the world and it's private banks..and P2 etc ..and its website with all the tracking cookies ..more money than Apple, G and MS combined ..just squirreled away down the ages..

And influence and influence peddling and meddling that makes Google look like girl scouts..and still doing all of it ..

[edited by: Leosghost at 3:20 am (utc) on Oct 20, 2011]

Swanson




msg:4376911
 3:19 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I totally believe the likes of Pierre far when he says Google is trying to give users what they want.

I just don't believe that there isn't a "joined up" view of organic + adwords somewhere higher up the chain that Pierre isn't aware of.

It's just not common sense to create complex algos that don't take into account up to 50% of the real estate on the page - you have to know what else is on the page to get an idea of is influencing clicks etc.

That is what Google is telling us about our sites!

Swanson




msg:4376916
 3:26 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Leosghost, so in that case Google is that powerful and flawed in way that it will and can do anything it wants to do to maximise it's influence.

I am sure it does - and there is the problem.

But in any case - there will be people that debate Google and people that move on from Google.

We are seeing a real natural selection now - how can winners move on from Google, and to be honest those real winners aren't on this forum talking about it.

It was interesting, I was speaking to a CEO who said we are seeing a modern Darwinism scenarion - survival is more important than anything else.

Forget anything else, ethics etc. - the winners will survive by doing everything they need to do.

[edited by: Swanson at 3:29 am (utc) on Oct 20, 2011]

Leosghost




msg:4376917
 3:28 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

And you create algorithms that define your business in line with that - and you don't tell front facing staff.


I've always considered them to be a business that is also involved in social engineering ..the two go hand in hand and are most definitely not mutually exclusive..

Just like the Vatican ..a business that is and has been involved in social engineering ..only in the last 2 centuries or so has it become active in the charitable part and that initially as a PR move so as to allow the rest of the real aims to continue with some public goodwill for the charitable front..

Swanson




msg:4376918
 3:34 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yep, and that is what I am saying.

Either they aren't social engineering and therefore the algo won't work as two departments only get 50% of the data.

Or they do share and filter misinformation down the tree.

Either way it's not going to work in the social web that is happening without them.

Leosghost




msg:4376919
 3:37 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some make time to be here ..and do lots of other stuff elsewhere , at other times..

A new business with social engineering at its heart

so in that case Google is that powerful and flawed in way that it will and can do anything it wants to do to maximise it's influence.

yes.. definitely..money helps you shape thinking and society ..

As someone said ..( and as it is near 05.30am here I'm not going to go trying to search who it was ..so I'm paraphrasing ).."the most dangerous person or organisation is one who genuinely thinks they are doing something for you for your own good and with the best of motives " ..and I'm sure that many of them do have the best of motives ..and it may not actually be dangerous to all of us ..

But they are interesting to study and observe ..and I don't depend on them ..although this referrer issue is annoying and will mean some extra work if it is not reversed ..I'm not entirely dependent upon either them or MS or the internet ..thankfully ..

Donna




msg:4376920
 3:41 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

The only way to show your point around is when you hurt their pockets, and that's Adwords, I have already canceled all my activities there.

P.S. That insta search crap is back again online.

[edited by: Donna at 3:43 am (utc) on Oct 20, 2011]

Leosghost




msg:4376921
 3:43 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Either way it's not going to work in the social web that is happening without them.

I suspect that they will try to adapt to that ..but their efforts to date have been very clumsy and too late ..but that is because their inner circle are too far removed from the mentalities and the cultures of those who are using "social"..with the possible exception of whoever has been running youtube..the demographic that use youtube is intersecting with the same "set" ( I forget the zen diagram term :) as facebook et al ..

Google+ is not their way in ..and coercion to use it and give it all ones data will only work partially, if at all and only for a short time ..so they will have to learn new tricks if they wish their experiment to continue and to have the revenue stream and influence it needs to do so ..

Interesting times heh :)

indyank




msg:4376928
 4:00 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

So are Google saying that people using their adwords links aren't users who deserve privacy and protection?


But you should also remember that ad publishers are bound by this.

AdSense publishers must have and abide by a privacy policy that discloses that third parties may be placing and reading cookies on your users' browsers, or using web beacons to collect information as a result of ad serving on your website.


Any user clicking on an ad is supposed to be doing it with the knowledge that some privacy info. is being collected.

When you click on an ad, you are supposed to be interacting with a business that has placed the ad and businesses need your information to sell things to you.

tedster




msg:4376973
 7:47 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Agencies are now learning the platform and working out how to deliver immediate ROI and also create large Facebook and Twitter followings as well as increased email subscribers.

Then those agencies are behind the curve. Social media marketing has been an important evolution in online marketing for many years now... and the email subscriber angle is much older and more mature.

As far as I'm concerned, these are all viable traffic sources to develop. And you don't need to "cut off Google" to do it. If you think keyword data can be fuzzy and distorted by Google, just wait until you try to calculate ROI on social media campaign expenses or get anything like an accurate open rate for an email newsletter.

I say we need to at least monitor all potential traffic sources and work the ones that provide decent ROI. How much of any budget can go to Google efforts depends a lot on how Google behaves. If Google stops sharing important data, then they just lost more advocates. Pragmatic marketers will still take whatever they can get, however. The whole affair doesn't need to be like a lover's quarrel, unless someone had some misplaced affection toward Google in the first place.

I've got to agree, what Google has said so far doesn't make sense. If they really have a security issue in mind with this move, then they need to explain it a lot better than they have so far. And with the mood in the online marketing community, they'd better get out in front of the issue pretty darned fast - and not with spin, but with straight talk.

Gorgwatcher




msg:4377002
 10:01 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

welcome to the era of paid google analytics :)

Swanson




msg:4377014
 11:14 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

tedster, of course larger agencies have always been at the forefront of new media marketing.

I would like to bet that you as an SEO don't do facebook advertising or Youtube or Mobile or International/Asia/Europe.

But many old school SEOs are now doing just that in the UK now and shifting from being an "SEO" - and you have to burn large amounts of cash to find the ROI pockets.

I am talking about the smaller agencies that are moving from being SEO to a more full service. You can not find an SEO agency anymore, they are all becoming social media.

And of course they don't "cut off" Google - but they do spend less and less time and advise their clients that trying to rank in Google is a waste of time and resources. But that spending time increasing brand visibility via PR, facebook, apps, mobile, twitter etc. will create the eventual uplift in Google.

And yes email is old school - but there are guys integrating it with facebook and social in new ways that is nothing to do with SEO yet it is done by traditional SEOs.

For example - do you have an email signup box on your facebook page? Massive missed opportunity - Facebook owns your page and your data and your fans, you need to convert them to your customer not facebooks.

I for one struggle to find good SEOs that understand how social really fits in with email and marketing. SEOs are not good at pure marketing - marketing is about people and language, SEO is technical and all the talk on these forums is about the technical implications.

I find most SEOs are inadequate at language and understanding marketing (this forum highlights that point).

All the articles and blogs and stuff talked about by traditional SEOs turned journalists is fluff and so superficial as to be not relevant.

I mean, I looked at the article by Vanessa Fox on Search Engine Land - "Taking a Closer Look at the Google’s Panda 2.5 “Flux”. The whole article is non-information, it's a basic version of the 23 points that Google themselves told us months ago. The last bullet point is "Working on engagement" listed like an after-thought - to SEOs on the ground that I speak to that is the fundamental issue and is the only thing that will help you avoid Panda in the long run.

The content duplication/quality thing is misleading and won't get you out - you need to be a brand and you can only be a brand by being social.

Swanson




msg:4377018
 11:24 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

In 2008 Eric Schmidt said

"The internet is fast becoming a "cesspool" where false information thrives."

and

"Brands are the solution, not the problem, Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."

In 2011 Panda was the result of work done since this point.

It's as simple as that.

Stopping referral data is an attempt to own the data and only give it to people who give them money.

It's basic business and I am fine with it - anyone who thinks it is anything else really needs to stop sucking up to what the Google PR machine says.

Leosghost




msg:4377019
 11:33 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I mean, I looked at the article by Vanessa Fox on Search Engine Land - "Taking a Closer Look at the Google’s Panda 2.5 “Flux”. The whole article is non-information, it's a basic version of the 23 points that Google themselves told us months ago.

Almost all SEO is like that..charging customers for the blindingly obvious stuff that if every one did it would mean they'd all have to be number 1..

Or reading what others say , waiting a month or so and re-wording it or spinning it out as the SEO consultants own invention or insight..That has happened a huge amount with Panda..

But as almost all the "big guns" in SEO know all the others, and they all speak and lecture and give paid talks at each others events, and "guest" on each others sites and blogs etc . whilst the marks pay to hear what they could have figured out by themselves by their own observation..pointing out that the emperor either has no clothes or has recently taken them from someone else's washing line gets frowned upon...

added ..Swanson ..a resounding yes! to your last post re Erics remarks and Panda ( it was indeed f"lagged" long before it arrived ..and some tests were run , if one was watching simultaneously closely enough and in a wide enough spread of "niches" and especially yes !
to
Stopping referral data is an attempt to own the data and only give it to people who give them money.

"Privacy theatre" ..and they just announced more of it
[webmasterworld.com...]

Swanson




msg:4377020
 11:40 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Leosghost, thats a good point.

I think what has opened my eyes is the difference between what top SEOs I speak to are now saying versus what the "public" SEO speakers say.

They work with so much data that they have real insight rather than conjecture.

One instance is that they have proven that links from sites affected by Panda causes a reduction in rankings for the target site if too many of their links come from these sites. Now that has been debated by SEOs on here for ages. These guys don't need to debate it. Brands of course have a diverse link profile and so aren't affected like smaller sites.

They also gave me insights into how using Adwords can increase rankings in organic - now, that has been debated for ages but used correct it works and have seen cast iron examples. The simple reason is it create traffic, buzz, engagement, usage data for Google, facebook likes, tweets, social buzz, bloggers blogging about you etc.

Thats why the focus on "content" is a mistake - the content has to be interesting to your target market in a way that would make your users engage or people talk about you. The focus on amount of words, duplicate, thin etc. is wrong - if a 100 word piece of content inspires a blogger to write about you causing tweets or social interaction, that is what google wants to see.

J_RaD




msg:4377085
 2:39 pm on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)


"Brands are the solution, not the problem, Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."

In 2011 Panda was the result of work done since this point.

It's as simple as that.

Stopping referral data is an attempt to own the data and only give it to people who give them money.



back when we 1st all started this... the little guy could get right up there and complete next to the big guy, sometimes the little guy could beat the big guy.

all goog is saying is that those days are over and the big guys run the show now... and the little guy has a slim chance in hell of getting up there with them ever again.

Leosghost




msg:4377124
 3:57 pm on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

They work with so much data that they have real insight rather than conjecture.

I think a diverse spread "niches" or "verticals" of where that data comes from is also important ..as is having the ability to conduct experiments and "leave stuff out there" ( like "control subjects" or "control groups" in lab experiments ) to see what Google or others including "social" spheres make of it and how they react to it..

Having all ones eggs in one basket or being entirely dependent on search or even the web means every time G makes a move which affects one adversely ..one then has to either panic or react ..

I have things ( sites or pages within sites ) "out there" in many diverse areas now ( didn't when I first joined here ) that get very little attention from me normally..they are just there to alert me to the pre-cursory movements that signal G is looking at something in a particular area..the rustling of the tiny breeze in the leaves that sometimes comes before the storm...hosting and names are so cheap the "outlying" are like placing trip wires in concentric circles around others that are valuable so as to be able to protect them or consolidate them before trouble hits those around them..

That requires being alert ( ands especially not listening only to one area or watching only one vertical )..or as you say having access to a lot more data ..all the time ..

There is a thread here calling for "data" ..but those reporting are mostly too close to their own specialised "niche" to know what is relevant and what is not ..what is peculiar to their niche and what is part of a larger underlying shift..( Plus there are so many people here since Panda sowed "the panic" and "pandamonium"* ( using terminology incorrectly or words that they have heard / read that they don't really understand..or whose meanings they actually have all wrong ..even to the point of the most bizarre spelling of important terms and concepts in web and search and other areas ) that they are confusing each other..

Not counting the pure rants which occur repeatedly in each thread and always from the same quarter and which disrupt any train of thought of those reading who are looking for information to try to save their "bread and butter" sites rankings..

--

One instance is that they have proven that links from sites affected by Panda causes a reduction in rankings for the target site if too many of their links come from these sites.


Should have been obvious to anyone for years that who links to you and what Google's assessment of them is ,is critically important ..it was after all the basis of pagerank..
--
Now that has been debated by SEOs on here for ages.


Should never have been the subject of debate ..it was obvious that it was important ..even if Google claimed it could not harm you ..that would have negated the premise upon which they founded Google ..
--
These guys don't need to debate it. Brands of course have a diverse link profile and so aren't affected like smaller sites.


And if more here stopped to think about their position and ranking has to be based upon who links to them and how the linking sites fare and are lowered or raised by panda, they would also have realised that it is not the quantity of links you have it is the quality and weak and crap ones will one day bite you from behind and drag you down if the waves get violent..it would also let them understand that they will move sometimes violently up or down during or after Panda runs, and it may have no relationship to what they did or did not do ..only to what happened around them ..or what happened to those who link to them...or who link to those around them..Panda is more "a result of the cumulative effects of everyone else's site and Google's perception of them" in the way it affects sites in each run than anything Google have done to present date..so they cant run it so often .or so widely at each time..even though they pulled resources from elsewhere in their system to do it...
--
They also gave me insights into how using Adwords can increase rankings in organic - now, that has been debated for ages but used correct it works and have seen cast iron examples. The simple reason is it create traffic, buzz, engagement, usage data for Google, facebook likes, tweets, social buzz, bloggers blogging about you etc.


It figures..and as it makes G richer , it would be their preferred way of signaling "brand"..( mine too if I were them ;-) not the only one they would look at ..but definitely their preferred one..
--
Thats why the focus on "content" is a mistake - the content has to be interesting to your target market in a way that would make your users engage or people talk about you. The focus on amount of words, duplicate, thin etc. is wrong - if a 100 word piece of content inspires a blogger to write about you causing tweets or social interaction, that is what google wants to see.


As someone who has a number of single page sites doing very well in very competitive keywords and niches .through panda and prior to it and in some cases only 200 words on the site ( not the page ..the site ) ..( saying that really brings out the hostility from the same ranting quarter..but ..it is true so why should I say different..and anyone can do that..but the 200 words and the links to the site /page have to be really tightly focused and good ) "interesting to your target market" is exactly the point ..Each of my single page or small sites can be read in "preview" or at least enough can be read or seen for people to click through to the actual page..the message is clear ..the call to action obvious ..and the engagement easy..but only when they have clicked through..and as soon as they are "engaged" they are there long enough ( what is there that they couldn't read or see before is "interesting" enough ) so that even if they click back to Google..the "bounce" says "satisfied"..thus..

Google "likes" them ..:)
--
And fortunately the keyword(s) are so focused that if G insists upon this "no referrer" passing ..it won't matter too much to me as I already know why the people arrive ..
--

( on a few other other sites ..if they insist upon this ..I'll have to put in additional work so it won't matter )

Think of the diverse places that people go in real life, and what makes them go there, and what makes them stay awhile..and maybe spend ..be it bars, theatres, museums , shops , fairgrounds, what makes them read one magazine more than another, watch what they do and how they react, what works and what doesn't.

That is what Google does all the time on the web..that is the most valuable data there is on the web..which is why now they have decided to begin taking it away from you ..they would rather you didn't have it and had to ask them ..or better yet maybe one day pay them for a simplified version of it..after all they already sell a very very detailed version of it ..

And the first thing you have to do is make it so that what you do with Google is part of your life ..not all your life..don't depend on adsense for all your income..don't depend on Google for all your traffic..

sorry..couldn't resist the pun* da ;-)

Leosghost




msg:4377191
 5:37 pm on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well by pure "co-inkydink"..just as the webmasters were getting all het up over them and their SSL and "no referrer data for you my lad"..they release this
[webmasterworld.com...]

Of course as it is real time ..you have to stay logged in to Google to use it..so while you are finding out what is happening on your site ..they are finding out which specific parts of your site you are the most interested in..and if they strip out the referrers ( eventually from everyone that visits your site , not just the signed into G ones ) ..that all important nugget ..won't be in there..

But you'll be clicking around and interacting like crazy ..and they'll be logging what you did and crunching it for the data later..

smoke , mirrors and now beads and crystal meth.. anything to keep you signed in.

shazam




msg:4377419
 1:58 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

This has nothing to do with privacy as anyone with half a clue can see. Google is still collecting all this data and never deleting it. They are quite happy to 'sell' it to adwords customers. User data privacy hasn't been improved a single bit. Quite the opposite actually, they want people signed in and ID'ed, so they can track individual people and the exact searches they are making. An anonymous IP is not good enough for the spooks pulling the strings at goo.

It's back to the same old song and dance; Make organic an unworkable solution and force people to pay the extortionate prices for adwords. We've seen this again and again and will continue to see this. Push the organic results down, populate the page with goo, and now take away tracking.

They will continue, you can be sure of that.

mslina2002




msg:4377457
 3:22 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

To help you better identify the signed in user organic search visits, we created the token “(not provided)” within Organic Search Traffic Keyword reporting.


I started seeing this today (not provided) as the keywords in GA and couldn't figure out what this was. Just read this thread tonight and finally figured that this is from those visitors who were logged in. It's a small portion of the total traffic so hopefully it stays that way and not increase to become one big black hole.

deadsea




msg:4377618
 12:33 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Security and cryptography expert Bruce Schneier chimed in that it was a "good thing":
[schneier.com...]

He usually has well reasoned and approachable articles and posts. I'd like to see him expand his opinion in this case.

deadsea




msg:4377619
 12:35 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Remember when Google made a big stink about Microsoft using Google click through data in its algorithm? According to Google they didn't invent their own search algo, they were essentially just copying from Google.

I'll bet that the wheels started in motion for this change when that happened. Google execs put out a request: "How can we keep our search behavior data secret from our competitors?"

J_RaD




msg:4377671
 3:21 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

well its not like googs algo is getting any better.... if anything the more changes they make the junkier it gets.

so all we really need is a goog clone from 2 years ago if that, and one that isn't constantly trying to outsmart itself.


seems like everyday a goog they all come running to work screaming "LETS REINVENT THE WHEEL EVERYONE" HURAYYYYAA YYYYESSS

cybercamptv




msg:4377928
 3:20 am on Oct 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Seems that you can pay them for the data but as a webmaster not paying the search picture just got smaller! Not good for SEO, analytics or webmasters!

tedster




msg:4377931
 3:53 am on Oct 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, you can still get the aggregated keyword data in WMT - there's no fee for that access. You just can't hook 10% of it up to geographic demographics and the like... for now.

mrguy




msg:4377936
 4:19 am on Oct 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, you can still get the aggregated keyword data in WMT - there's no fee for that access. You just can't hook 10% of it up to geographic demographics and the like... for now.


In order to get it though, you have to use a Google product so you're still paying one way or another.

I use Piwik and will never use a Google product so that 10% is gone. If they change over to ssl for everybody signed in or not, then I'll just lose the Google referral data all together because I WILL NEVER use anything that benefits Google be it gathering data or actually paying them.

I have my sites running on auto pilot at the moment and have spent the last couple years working at creating my own brand that could stand on it's own without the search engines.

I saw Google's power grab coming the day they went public and it's just going to get worse.

J_RaD




msg:4378811
 7:07 pm on Oct 24, 2011 (gmt 0)


Establishing a secure SSL connection requires 15x more processing power on the server than on the client.


goog better be upgrading some data centers cause they are kicking themselves in the nuts with this one.

mindaugas13




msg:4383723
 1:14 am on Nov 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Looks like this is in full effect now. In the last 3 days, my stats show Google encrypted search (with no search query referrer data) is accounting for 31% of Google traffic (5,000+ Google visits).

Not quite the single digit % that was expected.

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