Basically, in light and along the lines of the recent "improvements" Google went after another good thing by rendering Google Analytics on our site unusable.
The idea was to improve session ID definition within the GA.
For those of you who is interested here is the cheerful announcement by Google staff regarding this issue. Comments are very informative. [analytics.blogspot.com ]
Whatever session ID "improvement" they were after, it failed miserably.
It is somewhat entertaining to watch analytics now, with a single session being chopped up into multiple visits. It was truly enlightening to find out that our site had 17 visits from google organic visitors today using a fairly common (sarcasm) keyword "one sort of widgets in one specific area stores -competitor widget term in a specific city,state" (visitor punctuation retained).
Our saite-wide bounce went up from 24% to almost 90% in the recent few days.
New vs. Returning visitors metric is proportionately affected, and in the example above GA reports 1 new visitor and 16 returning visitors each looking at 1 page per visit, all coming through the same source, having the same browser and scree resolution coming through the same network and all located in one small town with a population of under 5000, with a total time on site 00:00:00 (funny... according to internal logs this particular visitor looked though 17 pages within a total session length of just under 8 minutes).
This is not a single example. Most of our visitors are affected in the same fashion.
Anyway. Closing my GA account today and moving to another online service.
As a side note, if Google uses GA stats for SERP definitions (and they probably do), GA is simply dangerous for our site at the moment.
Does anyone have a better experience with the other free analytics programs? In particular, I am interested in the one that starts with a p and ends with a k (at least I think that is how it is spelled).
Last year my bounce rate on one site dropped from 65% down to 29% overnight. Staid that way for about 8 months. then shot back up again to about 65%.
I think you're talking about Piwik (it's fine to mention it by name.) I'm curious too. It's an open source alternative to Google Analytics and has been so successful that its home page is now a PR10 - but I've heard no personal reports so far.