Wednesday, February 4, 2009

is google becoming evil? they are breaking website keyword tracking

Googles moto says not to be evil. But a change to their search page is going to be very evil for a lot of web site owners.

Normally when someone searches on google and clicks a link in the search results, the website owner can determine what you searched for that brought you to their site. This is very useful since it makes it easy to figure out what people are interested in and can be extremely useful for websites that make money off of ads on their webpages. For example, if people who search for 'tires' come to my page a lot, then someone who sells tires would probably be more interested in buying ad space on that page then say someone who sells cookies (unless they are cookies shaped like tires ... mmmm...cookie tires). 

However, a new change google is starting to push out will break this. This means a LOT of web site owners who depend on this information are going to suddenly find it missing. This is information that is basically a web standard for all search engines.  The ability to track keywords is something that works with all the major search engines.

You can tell if this is happening the next time you do a search by looking at the url after you submit your search term.

If the url looks something like this:

Then when you click on one of the links in that search result, the website you go to will know you searched for 'dogs'.

However, if the url looks something like this:

And you click one of the links, they wont know what you searched for.

Hopefully google will reconsider deploying this new change, because it's going to hurt a lot of websites out there.