I'd like to get people's opinions on how one might use Google Analytics to detect Google penalties.
My site is well-established and focuses on a sport. I have been tracking my traffic daily since 1998 via log stats, and implemented Google Analytics on July 1, 2013. I was negatively affected by Google from April 24, 2013 until October 12 2013, when I recovered.
I won't get into details unless someone wants to hear them, but I think that I'm seeing evidence that Google is sending me less traffic again. My question is, what are some techniques to analyze this?
One thing I did was to use Segments within Google Analytics to create a "Google" versus a "Not Google" segment. I then compared last week's traffic to the same period a month earlier. The Not Google number of uniques was down by 5%. The Google number of uniques was down by 15%.
I also use Wikipedia referrals as a benchmark, since I get 100-200 of them per hour. Since Wikipedia generally holds the top spot on the kinds of searches that people use to get to my site, I use it to estimate demand in a topic. Wikipedia uniques are down by 5%, which matches the "Not Google" segment.
Are there other techniques I could use? Since Google has baked Panda updates into its general algorithm, the lack of a sudden dropoff date makes it harder to detect negative algorithm impacts.
[edited by: tedster at 6:39 pm (utc) on Apr 16, 2013]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]