Push hard enough and even Google will move.
Or so I’d like to think. I say that thanks to an article featured in Search Engine Land. SEL covered a situation in which many publishers and webmasters have been at arms with Google over the [not provided] situation. Marketing Land coined the initiation of [not provided] as “Dark Google.” If you are unfamiliar with [not provided], where have you been?! Two years ago Google started withholding data from webmasters related to secure searches. This hidden data on average makes up 30-50% of web traffic for sites we have access to. This means a big chunk of data is not shared with us.
There are ways to make correlations between what is reported in Google Webmaster Tools against the [not provided] segment of Google Analytics, but the crux was always that Google Adwords users were privy to more data. Essentially, Google was saying, ‘we don’t pay for user data, but you will.’
Granted, users of the search service receive the usefulness of the index in return for data gathered on them as they interact, but there has always been a question of fairness across all Google properties. As well as concerns with fairness of how much value Google garners from collecting data.
With the announcement of Google Webmaster Tools data in the top query section being available for the next year, versus only 90 days, it appears user pressure has proven successful.
This is a great opportunity for webmasters to have relevant, quality data to improve the websites under their care. Having a longer view of the changes edits on websites has against the users Google is showing web pages for can only make the relationship between websites and the key phrases they show for all the more qualified. As a results everyone wins; Google produces even better results, the users get the best answers to their questions (in a perfect world :0) ) and website’s get better traffic.