diberry - 3:23 pm on May 25, 2012 (gmt 0)
I agree with you, netmeg, but if Google can *detect* what's happening on your site after their traffic arrives, couldn't they manipulate future traffic according to their own goals if they wanted? I.E., if they can detect that a certain number of people have hit a "thank you for your order" page, and for whatever reason that's all the sales they want you to get today, then they could stop sending you any traffic, or only send you irrelevant traffic after that point.
Although, even if this is not only possible but actually happening, it shows a couple of ways we webmasters can stop it: dump Analytics, and keep trying to diversify our traffic so it's not mostly from Google. Because without Analytics, I don't see how they can detect what's happening on your site, and if you have other healthy traffic streams, Google can't possibly manipulate your *overall* conversions, just their slice of them.
I'm not an expert on algos or computer systems or anything, so if someone knows better, I will stand corrected. I'm just a layperson trying to make sense of this stuff.