Google revenue growth may have been benefited by some changes made by Google in the past few years. First it was the famous “(not provided)” listing that kept keywords hidden at Google Analytics. Now it is the Keyword Planner that replaces Google Keyword Tool. What’s next, Google Finance mobile stock portfolio?
Is Google revenue going to increase because of the death of the Keyword Tool?
Judging by the result that “(not provided)” had on Google revenue, I doubt it. But let’s take things from the beginning.
In 2011 Google launched SSL search (Chris Crum recently reminded that to us), which might mean nothing to you, but had a big impact in Webmasters’ lives. People kept visiting the websites, yet webmasters gradually lost track of the actual search terms that brought the visitors to the sites! And that was because most people had logged into their Google account when doing a search at Google.
In simple words, webmasters did not have a clue what their visitors searched for! And that is a big deal if most of the traffic comes from a search engine. And usually, that is the case.
At first the effect was unnoticeable, but today, according to Jessica Lee, sites experience a hefty percentage increase of “(not provided)” incoming traffic. “(not provided)” accounts for 60% of all organic visits for SearchEngineWatch this year up from 47% (June – December 2012). That is the website her article was published at.
Just a week ago Google shut down Keyword Tool and had it replaced by Keyword Planner. Webmasters were using that tool to target specific keywords when they published new articles, in order to achieve better ranking at search results. A tactic that is widely known as SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization.
Writers and bloggers like myself have been using that Keyword Tool to improve our posts’ success. There is no point in creating the most perfect article if it is not going to be read by anyone. Hence, online content writers do need to use some kind of SEO, so that their work is sought after and stays popular.
What is wrong with Keyword Planner? Ginny Marvin wrote recently about the death of the Google Keyword Tool and apparently the mixed results prove that people either love it or hate it. I myself am with the latter. I still have trouble migrating to the new tool of Google and even considering using other keyword research services and products.
Ok, now that you have an idea of how these Google changes have affected the online industry, let’s see the consequence of the “(not provided)” implementation at Google revenue. Before you take a look at the Engadget image below, I remind you that the encrypted search began more specifically in October 2011 (Q4 2011).
Google revenue did grow in Q4 2011 in comparison with Q3 2011. But that is not the way earnings reports and revenue stats are compared in finance. We need to look back at Q4 2010 and Q4 2009 for meaningful conclusions. Here are the stats from Greg Sterling of MarketingLand.
From 6.67B dollars in Q4 2009, Google revenue grew 26.5% in Q4 2010 bringing home 8.44B. The revenue growth for Q4 2011 in relation to the 2010 figure was 25.4%. Thus, Q3 performance was better than Q4 in 2011.
Maybe the “(not provided)” impact was more long-term?
With the latest earning report having been announced in July (Q2 2013), I combined all the above graphs and stats to plot the revenue growth change for each quarter as a percentage. Of course, I have omitted Motorola’s share of revenue.
Revenue growth in fact peaked in Q3 2011, right before the “(non provided)” change. The revenue of that quarter was 33.4% better than Q3 2010. Since then, Google revenue growth pace has been slowing down, except for Q4 2012.
Has “(not provided)” affected Google revenue positively long-term?
Well, maybe. Although if it has indeed improved Google revenue, imagine how much slower the revenue growth would be without that! Now, go back to the Engadget image and note that, excluding Motorola’s share again, revenue has remained about the same during the last 3 quarters!
Will Keyword Planner make such a significant impact, so that revenue begins climbing again for Google? I strongly doubt it. SSL search must have been a much more significant change compared to the shutdown of Google Keyword Tool. And given it didn’t speed up revenue growth, I can’t see how the new Google tool for keyword research will do just that.
But what about the Google stock price?
More revenue for Google has attracted more investors to buy Google shares. Stock price, once seemed to have met resistance at $700, is now trading around 900 dollars. The resistance level was penetrated in September 2012, in the end of Q3, and was later confirmed during the pullback in November (here is a trading system that predicted the reversal), before the Google stock (NASDAQ: GOOG) resumed the up trend.
Will Google stock shoot for 1,000 dollars? Perhaps it will, perhaps it won’t. But either way I wouldn’t blame Keyword Planner for whatever the stock’s reaction.