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Analytics Keyword Results Overwhelmed by +'s

Google says:

If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can include it by putting a "+" sign in front of it. (Be sure to include a space before the "+" sign.)

And they have been saying pretty much that for years so why is it that our visitors in the last week have augmented the spaces between their keywords with a "+"? This is not just a mild perturbation but a universal picture over the first 100 phrases. Phrases without "+" are sinking without trace.

Don't get me wrong the "+" has always been there but until now it lurked around the bottom of the list of keywords, an indication of the presence of slightly more sophisticated searchers who had been experiencing some mild frustration with their "+" free searches.

When something like this happens you tend to doubt your measuring instrument but we are now looking at a massive week on week change. So you check to see if anyone else has noticed but searches of groups and blogs with 'analytics + "+"' have produced no reports of this phenomena so it is either just happening to us or you heard it here first.

Of course later today that search will produce this blog entry - spooky or what!

As to whether this matters a damn is any body's guess at the moment tests so far indicate that the "+" offers our visitors little in the way of benefit in terms of refined results but I could be looking in the wrong places. McDar seems to ingnore it! Even on something fairly competitive like ringtone + mp3 we are still at 14 out of 3 million plus results.

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