B2B Inbound Marketing Success Blog

Google Exercises Monopoly Power: 100% Keywords not Provided (SSL Encryption) Has High Cost to Website Owners and SEOs. Where’s the outrage?

Posted by Kenneth Lempit

Oct 1, 2013 12:20:00 AM

I've been following blog coverage of Google's change to 100% keywords not provided (see select links at bottom of post) and haven’t found one yet that calls Google’s shutting the door on keyword SEO what it really is. Google is exercising its power as a monopolist to damage the businesses of its rivals and drive revenue to its core advertising business. There. It’s been said.

Blindfold SEO Google Keywords Not Provided Austin Lawrence BlogThe decision by Google to mask the keywords associated with all organic traffic it sends your Website is not good for you.  The idea that you should use indirect measures of success for your blog and other Website pages to gauge effectiveness of your content (the only recommendation that can be made by the helpless SEO universe) is in effect raising the white flag. All the expert SEO blogs I've read are saying that we as Website owners have to accept this bad behavior by Google as the way of the future (which may in the end be true but that doesn't mean we can't make a stink about it).

The weakness of the "indirect SEO" recommendations, beyond the fact that these techniques reduce SEO to a blindfolded guessing game, is that Google can continue to reduce the amount of data made available through analytic services it provides, effectively changing the ground rules at its whim.

The premise that Google’s behavior is acceptable and that we have to “get used to it” is nonsense.

What’s needed is antitrust action by a state or federal prosecutor who sees this for what it is: anti-competitive behavior. The way to help move this forward is for the same “leading lights” who have in essence condoned this behavior with their silence to instead castigate Google for its malfeasance. If a chorus of influential tech writers and bloggers took Google to task it would make a difference.

And don't be confused by the privacy concern smokescreen being put out by Google. If you are willing to pay for advertising Google is more than happy to give you all the data you want related to those queries.

Google leadership (Larry Page, Eric E. Schmidt and Sergey Brin) need to look to its original mantra of “do no evil” and see if it is any longer relevant. If they really want to be the good guys of the Internet, they’ll reverse this selfish and damaging move on the part of the search team.

Maybe we should reward Microsoft and its Bing search engine with a “switch to Bing” movement.

As web users, we can move our queries to other search engines. I can only imagine that Redmond would welcome such a grass-roots initiative with open arms.  What say you, Mr. Softy?

As business and Website owners, we can write to our members of congress and state attorneys general to ask for action.

A radical (and Quixotic) move would be for Website owners to block Google’s spiders until it reverses this policy (I know this will never happen, but it points to the essential truth that if Google didn’t have our content to index it wouldn’t have a business at all).

I realize that I am swatting at the proverbial (giant) bees’ nest here but someone has to start calling Google’s actions what they are. If you want to learn about antitrust the Wikipedia entry is a good place to start. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_antitrust_law

Concrete steps you can take to make your voice heard:

I hope you will join me in expressing outrage at the actions of Google to mask the keywords associated with Website traffic. I will be making a complaint to the US Department of Justice, and writing the Connecticut Attorney General as well as my representatives in Congress asking them to take action.

Here is where you can make a complaint with the US Department of Justice: 

http://www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html

You can easily find your elected representatives' information here:

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml 

I also recommend that you sign the Change.org petition here

http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/stop-google-from-implementing-100-not-provided-keyword-data-ssl-encryption-for-google-to-remove-the-ssl-encryption-from-searches 

You can also comment here:

http://keywordtransparency.com/

Other Voices and Sources of Advice on "Blindfolded SEO"

Below is a selction of blog posts and other articles which recommend “semantic” approach to SEO – worth a read to see general SEO recommendations and apologias being proffered. None call for Google to revert to providing this important data. The fact is that most people who write for the Web do not have the ability, resources nor time to create content over and over again to improve its performance.

http://blog.hubspot.com/google-encrypting-all-searches-nj 

http://moz.com/blog/100-percent-keyword-not-provided-whiteboard-tuesday 

http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/google-secure-search-reacting-keyword-not-provided-031946593.html

http://www.brafton.com/blog/keyword-not-provided-measuring-for-bigger-seo-wins

http://www.contentstandard.com/industry-insight/google-switches-to-secure-search-no-more-keyword-data/

http://searchengineland.com/100-not-provided-is-not-the-end-of-seo-experts-offer-thoughts-on-googles-move-to-withhold-data-172890

http://marketingland.com/100-percent-not-proved-59679

Topics: SEO, website traffic, inbound marketing

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