With Google Analytics, the worlds #1 search engine has more data about your website than you do. Installing analytics on your website gives Google the keys to your business, and allows for easy manipulation of your ranking.
Google emphatically denies they use analytics and Search Engine Results Pages click behavior to determine placement, but I (and many other SEO’s) don’t believe them.
Google gigabytes worth of historical data on your website and user behavior and it is illogical to think they do not use this data to sculpt SERP’s. They have a data fetish and love to use as much data as possible to run their business. And search results are a big business, 1 Billion in profit per quarter, and rising.
PageRank is slowly becoming unsustainable through link manipulation, as nearly every HTML jockey knows that links and anchor text affect your ranking. Google has been searching for a PageRank replacement, and I believe that user behavior tracking and data mining are their solution. See all the ways Google can track you and gather data about your surfing habits:
* Google Toolbar, installed in Firefox browsers by default
* Google Analytics, as mentioned above
* Personal Search History – your searches are recorded by google if you are logged into your Google Account
* Google Desktop – yes they index your computer and keep records on THEIR servers
* Adwords – do you use the convenient conversion tracking built in to Adwords? don’t think for a minute all your conversions aren’t permanently recorded in Google’s databases.
* Adsense – all the sites that run contextual ads give google all your data just like Analytics
* Checkout – ditto Adsense
Google knows all about your website, how many people visit you, how many pages they visit, how many times they return and what they buy (or don’t buy).
Other factors affecting your ranking:
- which page was clicked?
- How long has the visitor hung around?
- How much of the page do they view (do they scroll down?)
- Do they refine their query?
- Are they returning to the page, and if so, how?
See tamar’s post about this, and read Cre8asite for discussion of anecdotal evidence of Google’s usage of clicks to influence website ranking.
And since Analytics is so simple to use and FREE millions of webmasters will use it without giving a second thought to who owns their data.
Good post. Google’s Analytics has so many tools at your disposal it’s mind boggling.