My 11 year old site has been hit hard by Google. It used to rank no. 1, but Google, in their infinite wisdom have decided ehow, Buzzle and the other crap are now better sites.
My no. 1 ranking article, one with 1200 words and 1.3k "likes" now ranks 6 with google. Whatever I've done, it's a site wide punishment (all unique content, no dodgy SEO etc). Anyway, one thing I'm wondering is Analytics. I know they use bounce rate etc., as a factor. I feel right now Google have their hand in all the pies and way too much control over the internet & have definitely become big brother.
Do you think disabling Analytics would help? Would they still know bounce rates on sites? Would it just "anger" them more?
I really detest Google right now. I think the whole Panda thing is flawed. Ie; you have a site with 500 articles, 10 are weak, so punish the entire site. That's freaking stupid. But anyway, I'm moving towards taking away their power over me, but I'm not sure if it will just make things worse.
I was feeling the same way about using google analytics (uncomfortable), since that turns your domain name into a cookie carrier for google. I switched to Piwik [piwik.org] and never looked back. It is more work to setup but the analytic data is yours, not google's.
The switch didn't make any difference to the site's search ranking (at least, I didn't notice any).
Google's line "We wouldn't be so popular if we didn't give fair, un-biased search results" might have been true ten years ago, but I don't think it still holds. A few months ago, when typing the letter 's' in google.co.uk, the first auto-complete suggestion was "Sainsbury's" (a british supermarket chain). I mean, come on! Who on earth would believe that it's the most searched word starting by the letter 's'. Obviously it's 'sax', or maybe 'saxophone' :)
I feel like they are now using this data against us.
I think their search results are flawed. When Yahoo answers (with incorrect information) outranks my well researched articles there is something wrong. The fact that they say if you have a few thin articles, they will punish the entire site (so knock out the exceptional articles), and yet still favour Yahoo answers, there's a big problem.
I think they've tried to inject themselves into everything. I do think they started out with good intentions, but I don't feel that is the case anymore. I haven't disabled Analytics yet, but am very close to doing so. The less of a hold Google has over me & my site, the better.