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Am I a complete idiot for not using Google Analytics?

     
6:42 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm prepared to be humbled on this one. Honestly, I've just checked in with my awstats and that's about it. I may be a complete newbie sounding with the question about Analytics. I'm all ears. Of course I've heard a lot of people mention Analytics over the years, but it's gone over my head I suppose.

I'm just wondering how helpful this might be in regaining or retaining some Google search traffic. I mean will implementing this help analyze what I'm already getting or will this help in SEO/organic search gains? Thank you.
7:40 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Not sure I understand your question... If you are asking whether Analytics can help with your rankings, then the answer is no. Not directly anyway. It is purely a traffic reporting/analytics platform and will allow you to better analyse your traffic and thus spot where/what needs improving and how.

i.e it can teach you quite a lot about how people are interacting with your site and thus it empowers you to make changes that will keep them on the site longer and improve conversions/goals etc. It does it in an infinitely better way than Weblizer/Awstats but also requires you climb over a larger learning curve before you can get the best out of it.

In my opinion, since Google stopped reporting search terms for logged in users, it has drastically reduced the effectiveness and usefulness of GA but its still pretty much compulsory for larger serious sites
7:53 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If the site is making you any notable amount of revenue, I think you are missing an opportunity by not have better analytics. If you are avoiding GA for other reasons, there are similar offerings from other places.

There's just a countless number of ways that something like GA can help with.

For example, being able to look at bounce rate (on a type of site where bounce rate is meaningful) sliced up by landing page, or browser/device type, or geo/region...can unearth useful data. Data that you can use to fix problems and almost instantly improve revenue.

Using analytics data, I was able to see, for example, that something about one of my sites wasn't working well for older iphones. Fixing that problem enabled sales that would not have happened.

Basically, it's hard to improve something if you aren't measuring it.
8:13 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Analytics is how my clients know how many sales come from each channel.

Analytics is how I could tell immediately when one of my sites was being hit by bots, and figure out the profile so I could block them.

Analytics is how I know I'm doing better than I did last year.

Analytics is how I knew when one of my sites triggered what looked like a Panda hit, and when it fully recovered about 18mos later.

Analytics is how I first figured out (way way way back years ago) that my mobile traffic was growing in huge leaps and bounds, and that I better do something about that fast.

Analytics is how I can tell when my AdSense is really down, or it's just that the reporting is being delayed. It also uncovered some ad-clicking bot traffic coming from Amazon AWS that I could effectively block.

Analytics is how I tell who is clicking on what on my site, and which links are being completely ignored.

Analytics can send me an email if my Bing or Facebook traffic is unexpectedly down, or my AdWords costs suddenly rise.

Analytics tells me what people are typing into my site searches, so I can better tell what they're looking for and what I need to bring closer to the home page.

So, are you missing a bet? I dunno, are you?
8:18 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google Analytics and Bing webmaster tools (which just might be better btw) are must haves and must monitor.

Well, only if you care what what Google and Bing sees in your website..
8:22 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google Analytics and Bing webmaster tools

Is that a typo maybe? GA and Bing WMT aren't the same type of tool.
11:18 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just to be clear, GA isn't the only analytics tool available. That said, you could do a lot worse for free or even paying for such a service. Bottom line is it's an analysis tool and if you're not analyzing your web traffic, we'll, I don't know what to say.
12:35 am on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I removed all Google analytical stuff years ago, whether that makes any difference or not is a mute point, however I did it because I simply went from being a Google developer, then fan, to anti-Google intrusiveness in my life across all sites and personal platforms.

Some people have to toe company lines, it's up to you if you feel you have to, I do not.
2:49 am on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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One should not rely on any single analytic tool. Use several to insure that the reporting you are receiving is accurate. Basic log analysis, backed by other tools, provides the best information. Additionally, YOUR logs will give more immediate info than anything else.
12:37 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I removed all Google analytical stuff years ago


Same here and yesterday was an incredible day.
1:20 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Same here and yesterday was an incredible day.


Mind expanding a little?
1:50 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Is that a typo maybe? GA and Bing WMT aren't the same type of tool.


Yes, they are moderately different tools however both will provide important insight into ones website(s) from the search engines point of view.
3:47 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar
I removed all Google analytical stuff years ago

I have a better one. I had an opportunity to have it years ago. Instead wrote my own, right after Florida.

I this point I could see the click path of visitors that used specific version of IE from GB on the morning of Feb 26, 2004(and every day since), how many bots from NETBLK-THEPLANET-BLK-EV1-8(EV1SERVERS back then) were blocked that evening and why, and that 3 days later /page1.cfm?id=20 started redirecting to /shiny-new-widgets.html(i keep the record of every time bot/user was redirected). I know that some content on that page changed in 2007 and title of the page changed in 2008 and the page had only 2 visitors from SA last year - one from Goog and one was a click-thru from another page.

Analytics from any one but my own code would keep me in a limbo, cause I cant customize it. But more importantly the nagging thought that I am knowingly giving all of my visitors data away to any company that controls sizable amount of traffic to my site - that's just not me.

I value my Privacy and even more my sites visitors Privacy. Matter of principal.
7:14 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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One word: PIWIK
8:27 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What he said.

MrSavage, I re-read the original post. There are two separate and unrelated questions that seem to have been conflated.

#1 Is analytics useful?
#2 Is it to my advantage to use a Google product?
8:54 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@shai

Many years ago i ignored all the advice, got over my fear of not using the google products, got rid of wmt & analytics and my sites did not disolve away. Yesterday was a great day for my sites along with the day before and week before that. With what i have in the works there are even better days to follow.

it has been established that the google is no longer our friend, so why invite it into the back rooms?
1:04 pm on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@toidi - after years of declining long tail and traffic and relying way too much on Google's questionable privacy and service goals (to make them more money), I recently cut all ties with Google ad services and analytics. I only have my WMT accounts on G and B. For analytics I use the above mentioned script. It (IMHO) provides better data than GA. Full IP tracking is nice.

Only time will tell if the site remains. All I can say is that I was not thriving at all with Google's "help". When a company stops treating us like a customer and more like so many sheep waiting for slaughter, it's time to run.
4:07 pm on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Can PIWIK be utilized to identify bot activity and or IP addresses? Thank you.

I appreciate the feedback on this one. Right now I'm stuck on efforts vs. reward. More than anything, it sounds like Analytics will give me info against bots, which is about the last stone for me to uncover before packing it in.
5:17 pm on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Netmeg - where/how in GA could you tell that your site is being hit by bots?
5:49 pm on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I knew my sites were being hit by bots; I verified that they were ad-clicking bots by watching for patterns in GA and Piwik and identifying a profile.

[webmasterworld.com...]
2:46 am on Feb 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@netmeg I will give you a compliment in saying that you are the most intelligent webmaster that I've encountered anywhere. You must have a vast surplus of karma for being so considerate to your fellow webmasters.
3:28 pm on Mar 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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First up. I have a real issue with GA. I'm a privacy advocate and therefore do everything I can to protect privacy of myself and website visitors.

Last year I was advised to run GA in order to try and boost visitor count and conversions. I was apprehensive at first but gave it a try.

6 months later I am still sitting here with this pile of GA not knowing the heck to do with it.

What Use Is It?
I have no idea how to use the damn thing. Yes I can see the most popular and least popular pages. Yes I can see which pages are single views and bounce rates. But I can get that off other log file analysers that I use.

So how do I use it? Which of the dozens of reports will help me increase traffic and conversions?

Nothing is intuitive. I see charts and reports but no suggestions on how to improve performance.
3:44 pm on Mar 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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(Thank you for the compliment)
3:46 pm on Mar 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Frank - I feel your pain! Over the years, GA has gotten so complicated I stopped looking at it (though I've kept the code on my page).

When I tried to figure out what was going on with the bot activity, I had no idea where to start. This thread and Netmeg's link has given me some clues. I'm going to see if the lynda dot com site courses add any light (in my spare time - heh). They have a 6 hr Google Analytics Essential Training course and a 5 hr Google Analytics tip course.
2:01 am on Mar 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I went from GA > Piwik > Clicky:
[clicky.com...]

It has a free plan up to 3000 daily page views, then some paid plans afterward. I eventually opted for a cheap paid plan because I needed goal/conversion tracking and the ability to test this on live and localhost environment.

I ultimately removed Piwik, as it's self installed and the space it required was wasteful/bloated. And I just didn't like the interface.

I understand wanting to shift away from GA so as not to share your private data. Even though that's what I've done with analytics, I went in the opposite direction and moved away from OpenX/Revive Server and jumped back on DFP (double click for publishers) due to my dislike of self-installed/self-hosted software.

Anyway, if anyone has access to cpanel you probably have some log analyzers installed such as webalizer and awstats. The latter is actually pretty good when it parses the apache logs for data.
12:42 am on Mar 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have a public page at "P' and my paid service at two subdomains of another domain at "S1" and "S2". I take leads on P while conversion happens (or doesn't happen) on S2.

I wrote my own analyzer. I can search all the way back to early 2010 to see where a given IP first made contact with my set of sites. GA cannot do that.

Also, I will not let Google or any non-customer snoop on S1 and S2. I go back and forth on allowing GA on P.

I have never gotten any decent use out of GA.
9:59 pm on Mar 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I use cpanel Awstats only. I don't have to spend hours analyzing numbers I don't fully understand and have faster-loading pages. Better privacy too.