John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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When will Google charge for referer?

When will Google start charging a fee for passing a referrer string? Or, more in line with Google’s way, stop passing referrer except for certified Googlers in the Webmaster Central (console) registration system?

Every time I get a Google search referral, I am told (by Google, via the “referer” string) what search query resulted in that referral. I use that real-time data to deliver targeted ads to my visitors. Using this blog as an example, if a consumer searched “shower gel” and Google sent them to my ranking shower gel page, that page would know the user had searched “shower gel” and could therefore serve up contextual ads for shower products or more likely, health products that complement the reigning King of Shower Gel Land, Axe Shower Gel.

When I do that, I do not use AdSense. I do it myself, and keep all the profit of direct advertising. I am also able to better monetize my network, drawing more investment from my direct advertising clients, because of the obvious value ad I show with the Google-referrer-based in-network contextual advertising. Google, by passing that referrer string, is helpin gme serve up contextual ads. Google gets no fee, no slice o’ da pie. Nada.

We know how much Google hates organic search engine optimization because it is free and it competes directly with AdWords. If Google hates SEO, how must it feel about organic optimizaton which also monetizes contextually using Google’s assistance? That must suck for Google, no?

It would be so easy for Google to stop passing ‘referer’. When Google was a good Internet company, it gained a ton of good will from those referrer strings. Does it need that now? Hmmm.. Tough call. Google needs to show everyone how 65% of their web traffic comes from Google. That’s very important.

So what’s a competitive webmaster to do? Push the limits of optimizing the monetization of that Google traffic, using as much available data as possible. Organic SEO and contextual monetization, all the way until we don’t need AdSense anymore. Syndicated networks of contextual ads, based on Google referer strings… how much does that push buttons over at the ‘plex?

Webmaster Console…lead generation for Google’s future.

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