diberry - 5:29 pm on Sep 18, 2012 (gmt 0) [edited by: diberry at 5:39 pm (utc) on Sep 18, 2012]
backdraft, I dumped GA last October. Most of my sites are still steadily improving at the same rate as before I dropped it. That one site that got Penguinized - let's just say, there are several theories about why, but none of them involve "because I dropped GA".
I really don't see how it could hurt you to drop it. Plus, if the Zombie traffic stops after you drop GA, then we'd have near-proof it's something to do with using GA. And if it doesn't, then that'll narrow down our theories a bit, too.
I personally think it made absolutely no difference to me, and will make no difference to you. I removed it not because I thought Google was using my metrics against me, but because they already have more general info about all websites and users than I personally want them to have, LOL. Plus, I switched to Clicky because it specializes in letting you follow a visitor from the time they land to the time they leave - you can practically watch it in real time. You can't beat that for getting a better understanding of user response to your site, and free GA doesn't quite offer anything like that. (Clicky has some freebies and trials if you're interested, and they don't run any search engines!)
[edited by: diberry at 5:39 pm (utc) on Sep 18, 2012]