Google: Analytics Under Attack

This post was written by Internet Marketing John on October 27, 2012
Posted Under: Google

About this time last year, analytics under attack was one of the main subjects of concern throughout the Internet.

Google announced that it would cease providing referrer information in some instances.

In the official Google blog, Evelyn Kao made the following post:

“When you search from, 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.”

This change initially affected people logged in to Google accounts and people who were using which according to Google’s claims was only a relatively small percentage of searchers.  However, according to Google’s own blog entry (below) this will likely change.

“As we continue to add more support for SSL across our products and services, we hope to see similar action from other websites.”

The following example shows what Google has actually done.

When you conduct a search for “car insurance” both logged in to your Google account and searching on, and not logged in to your Google account and searching on here are the landing page results for both searches..

  • Referrer When Not Logged In And Clicking On A Natural Link:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=8e7fa2636e8b849&biw=1680&bih=947

  • Referrer When Logged In And Clicking On A Natural Link:

The main difference between the two searches is that when not logged in, the query for “car insurance” is available in the referrer for Analytics to pick up and use.  It provides the site owner with needed information they are looking for.

When logged in, the query for “car insurance” has been stripped.

A website owner is completely clueless about why Google sent the searcher to that landing page on their website.

When logged in, that referrer is actually a lie.   The previous page visited was not the one in the referrer at all.

The search was actually conducted on and not on

Although this seems like a small change, it has some very large consequences for website owners.

Regardless of what analytics package you use, reports showing keywords become much less useful.

When Google removes keywords from referrer data, then all of the great keyword ideas, keyword techniques and keyword attribution models commonly used in SEO are no longer possible.

So much for making our websites better for users!

The ethical balance that once existed between searchers, search engines and website owners has been upset by Google’s move.  By removing referrer information Google has apparently produced an unethical result.

Alan Perkins broke it down as follows:

  • Website owners can no longer easily optimize their websites to better match the searcher’s needs.
  • Site owners, instead of being treated with dignity are being treated as being “not trustworthy”.  In addition, site owners are being denied a piece of essential information that Google and the searcher both have, (the search query that resulted in that searcher finding their site).
  • This move by Google does not promote the “common good”.  Google gains and the web site owner loses.
  • This move clearly prevents full participation of site owners in something they have had available to them since the earliest days of the Web and something upon which  the Web was built.  Referrer data was provided in the HTTP 0.9 specification and has been there ever since.
  • Google’s move alienates website owners and destroys the spirit of cooperation and teamwork among site owners and Google that had previously existed.  Google’s entire service is built on the content that site owners freely provide.


The patronizing spin that Google put on their announcement;  “Making search more secure: Accessing search query data in Google Analytics” would have been more truthfully stated,  “We’re removing site owners’ ability to pull keywords from the referrer”.
Google originally suggested that the change was positioned to make searching more secure particularly when using insecure Wifi hotspots, however a couple of things don’t jive with this explanation.

Google still strips the referrer when users visit secure Web sites even when it isn’t necessary to do so even though they don’t do it on their Encrypted Search.  It simply isn’t necessary.

When searchers click on an ad instead of getting a natural result, searchers’ referrers still contain keywords.

You can tell where Google’s mind is at from their following blog post:

“we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users …  [but] … if you choose to click on an ad appearing on our search results page, your browser will continue to send the relevant query over the network to enable advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and to improve the ads and offers they present to you”
In short, advertisers who pay Google get treated one way, while the site owners who pay Google by providing the content their service is built on get treated differently.

Clicking on a paid ad instead of a natural result provides the following link in example number three:

  •  Referrer When Not Logged In And Clicking On A Natural Link:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=8e7fa2636e8b849&biw=1680&bih=947

  • Referrer When Logged In And Clicking On A Natural Link:

  • Referrer When Logged In And Clicking On A Paid Link:

Again, advertisers who pay Google money get treated one way, site owners who pay Google by providing the content the whole Google service is built on get treated a different way and searchers’ privacy is not really protected.

With Analytics Under Attack by Google, there is not much site owners can do about it except use other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo search.

Both as of this date do not remove referrer data from their search results.

You can also make better use of social media.

If constructive use of social media can lead to regime change in Egypt, surely analytics under attack by Google should not pose much of a problem.

Reader Comments

Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article.
Thanks for supplying this information.

Written By bouncy seat on July 30th, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

Excellent post! We will be linking to this great post on our website.
Keep up the good writing.

Written By identity theft insurance on July 30th, 2013 @ 10:49 pm

Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with
SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success.
If you know of any please share. Appreciate it!

Written By philips headphones on July 31st, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

Make sure you put your keyword in the web page title, first paragraph
and once or twice in the main body. It’s easy to use a fake IP address on i – Phone and i – Pad, but you need to know what you need the fake IP for. Therefore it’s better
to always do the intelligent point and take these tips.

Written By online form generator on August 3rd, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as
long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My website is in
the exact same niche as yours and my users would really
benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if
this okay with you. Thanks a lot!

Written By Tiffani on August 6th, 2013 @ 12:47 am

Why visitors still use to read news papers when in this technological world the whole thing is existing
on net?

Written By medical terminology on August 10th, 2013 @ 6:09 am

Hi there, just wanted to say, I liked this article. It
was practical. Keep on posting!

Written By Agnes on August 13th, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

Thanks for finally talking about >Google: Analytics Under Attack <Liked it!

Written By on August 20th, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.

Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve
been trying for a while but I never seem to get
there! Cheers

Written By on September 5th, 2013 @ 11:54 pm

There’s definately a great deal to find out
about this topic. I really like all the points you’ve made.

Written By stretch mark on September 10th, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but great
topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
Thanks for excellent information I was looking for this info for my mission.

Written By best early pregnancy test on September 12th, 2013 @ 1:03 am

I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog?
Its very well written; I love what youve got to
say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
people could connect with it better. Youve ggot
an awful lot of text forr only having one or 2 images.
Maybe you could sace it out better?

Written By airsoft pistols low price on September 13th, 2013 @ 9:43 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on analytics under
attack. Regards

Written By jetpack joyride hack on September 21st, 2013 @ 10:49 pm

Great post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this
topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little
bit further. Appreciate it!

Written By Veterinary Technician training on September 23rd, 2013 @ 12:24 am

Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your website by accident (stumbleupon).
I have book marked it for later!

Written By Deandre on September 30th, 2013 @ 9:34 am

Hi terrific website! Does running a blog like this take a lot of work?
I have very little knowledge of programming but I was hoping to
start my own blog soon. Anyways, should you have any suggestions or techniques for new blog owners please share.
I understand this is off topic but I just needed to ask.

Written By on October 18th, 2013 @ 10:58 am

Hello! I’ve been following your website for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Humble Texas!
Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic work!

Written By カードケース 安心 on October 30th, 2013 @ 1:44 am

The ubiquitous commercials and magazine ads for movies and new music releases are
put together by talented advertising professionals through entertainment firms.
Sportwetten has made it possible for people to bet when viewing their favorite games.
There is Fastext and Teletext, plus DVB subtitles so you can get more out
of your movies.

Written By ryan williams Entertainment 29 on October 30th, 2013 @ 5:53 am

You have made some decent points there. I checked on the
internet for more information about the issue and found most
individuals will go along with your views on this website.

Written By Janis on November 16th, 2013 @ 9:35 am

Great site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find high quality
writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people
like you! Take care!!

Written By Phillis on December 3rd, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

Thank you, I’ve recently been looking for info approximately this subject for a long time and yours is the best I’ve found out so far.

However, what about the conclusion? Are you sure about the

Written By Le'sasha Hair Dryer Ls Professional Power 4 Plus Hot Air Styler - Mesella Cosmetics - Buy Makeup And Perfume Online on December 7th, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

I’m not positive where you’re getting your info, however great topic.
I must spend some time finnding out more or figuring out more.
Thanks for wonderful information I used to be on the lookout for
this info for my mission.

Written By Margret on December 8th, 2013 @ 7:58 am

My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different web address and thought I should check things
out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking over your web page for a second time.

Written By ECGADGETS on December 11th, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found
something which helped me. Thanks a lot!

Written By Kitchen Accessories on December 19th, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

Fantastic website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can
get feedback from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest.
If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

Written By casino royale soundtrack review on January 1st, 2014 @ 11:21 pm

Try the Warrior Forum.

Written By Internet Marketing John on January 3rd, 2014 @ 11:56 am

You made some good points there. I checked on the web for more
information about the issue and found most people will
go along with your views on this web site.

Written By Adeline on May 28th, 2014 @ 12:59 am

Add a Comment

required, use real name
required, will not be published
optional, your blog address