Unpaid links from Google search results once yielded website operators vital information on the search words that led users to their sites.
But since August, a major security change at the search engine giant began to shut down the feedback that was once given. Site operators could see which words users typed into the search bar before being given the results which ultimately led users to their websites.
The feedback was used to measure the success of tactics aimed at pushing websites to higher prominence on the search results, increasing their marketing value, said David Coats, a director specialising in search engines at Sydney marketing firm Reprise Media.
But now all but paid advertising has had drops of up to 80% in keyword feedback, according to a post on searchenginewatch.com, and the site reported that the figure is due to hit 100% on November 14.
“Without a doubt, Google’s recent changes make performance reporting less accurate. SEO professionals and marketers no longer have the raw data that we once used to measure SEO results,” said searchenginewatch.com journalist Ray ‘Catfish’ Comstock.
In a feature to be published tomorrow on SmartCompany, business owners and professionals in the search engine optimisation industry say the changes have pushed some websites down the rankings.
And Google has not yet responded to questions put to them on whether their changes have unfairly impacted website owners who don’t advertise.
Evelyn Kao, product manager at the search giant said on Google’s blog that, after the changes were made, “we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users”.
The full story will be published tomorrow on SmartCompany.