You're assuming Google actually uses Analytics data to rank websites? I realize some people are assuming that, but I've seen absolutely NO hard evidence that it's true. The idea is pure tinfoil, IMO.
Google does get user data from quite a few sources, but as far as I know their own free Analytics service is not one of those sources. In fact, I can't see how it would make any real sense.
1. You could hide data by not tagging under-performing URLs 2. Sites that don't use GA would not be rated apples-to-apples with those that do 3. When you grant permission to Google to use GA data, it's only to use it in "aggregate form"
@tedster those points are valid but if you look at it from a different point of view there is useful information that could be gleaned from analytics data. The reverse of your points:
1. Obviously they would only use data available to them. Google themselves would ideally not want to rank under-performing URLs as they are probably poor pages in general 2. You're talking about "fairness" here. We already know Google isn't fair :) 3. "aggregate form" is quite vague! Do we know what that really means?
Think of it this way - if you were a search engine and you had access to all this priceless data would you really not use it?
Matt Cutts said in a recent video that he conformed with the team that handles the ranking algo and they "told him" no analytics data being used at the moment. I personally take that with a grain of salt! They might not even be telling Matt the whole truth.
What's the point of removing/adding GA for improving SEPRS? The same data can be taken (by Google) from Google Adsense and/or Google WMT and/or Chrome users and/or by the search engine itself.
You may trust them or not, GAer wrote: Your website data will not be used to affect your natural search results, ad quality score or ad placement. Aggregate data across many customers will be used to improve our products and services.
GA data is valuable for Google and I think that if they do not use it now they will someday. I'm using GA for all my eCommerce website as I want Google to see that my customer are happy, interested in what I have to offer and place orders.
Google can collect data from many sources, however when it comes to conversions rates, sales , product performance etc GA is probably the only way they can distinguish sites that converts to site that don't.
GA is a really good in collecting valuable data about my sites and I use the data regularly to improve my sites. Regarding your question:"Should I use it?" I say YES, If the stats you see are good, share it with Google. It might not benefit you (I think it does)but it will not harm you.
Iíll preface this to say it involves my own affiliate sites and not any of the bigger brick and mortar sites for businesses that are clients of mine. They use analytics and have no problems.
I have a large number of affiliate sites. Early on, I put roughly 8 of those sites into analytics to test it out. This was before Panda or Penguin and actually a few years ago.
These are not thin affiliate sites. They all have unique content and offer value to the user. The 8 sites I had analytics got hit with -50 penalties or worse. Not a single other site in my network was hit, only the sites in analytics.
You can draw whatever conclusions you want from that. I drew my own and started using Piwik.
I don't know about the ranking team, but there is a pretty good case that the webspam team uses GA to evaluate websites: [webmasterworld.com...]
As I read it, that thread is about Google using one Analytics account ID applied across many domains to link their treatment of those domains, but it's not about using the analytics data itself in ranking, and that is the issue.
Here's one more reason I think Google would be nuts to use analytics data. If you want to start hacking around with your analytics tagging, you can pretty much dummy up any data that you want to.
Google knows whether your site is good or not, regardless of whether you use Analytics. They collect user stats other ways and that tells them everything they need to know about every page people go to on your site.