This will be another year of change at Google and they’ve indicated the overhaul they have in store for 2012 is far greater than previous years. Two notable changes will be how website owners market themselves online and the amount of free analytics Google will provide.
The first notable change starts with Google designing a new method for websites to structure data so that its crawler can better pull information. Marketers and webmasters are working to update their websites for Google's early 2012 launch of a new user view for direct question search queries. For search queries that are direct questions, it will no longer be necessary to click through to a website. These new searches will provide fast access to internal website pages and relevant search related content. The focus? Data incorporation and direct information. The results will be similar to getting both the search results and the immediate result of the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button at once. Although great for end users, this poses problems for marketers who rely on the click-through process for value and analytics.
This change will make marketers and webmasters change SEO strategies. For the best SEO results, websites should use the documentation process found at www.Schema.org.
Another change this year will be the amount of FREE analytics Google will provide to website owners and marketers. Google is heavily promoting and trying to further monetize services such as Google +, AdWords, AdWords Express, Gmail, etc. Check your Analytics and we bet you find “(not provided)” as one of your keywords now. This started happening as Google recently released the https version of google.com. If someone is logged into their Google account and searching on https://www.google.com, any click on an organic link will not provide the keyword the user used to reach your website. Instead Analytics will show “(not provided)”.
Google claims they did this to increase “secure web surfing”; however many experts believe the reason is because they want to force companies to use their paid products (e.g. AdWords and AdWords Express). If secure surfing was the real reason you think Google would also do “(not provided)” for AdWords users; however this is not the case. There are no keyword restrictions in either AdWords or AdWords Express.
As Google continues to make changes throughout 2012, website owners and marketers will have to re-evaluate their current marketing plan with the search engine giant. If you want to be ready for Google’s next round of changes you better do your SEO homework and look closely at your AdWords Analytics.