Recently, Google released a new service with the name Google
Analytics. Google Analytics is basically a rebranded version of
Urchin, a web analytics service that Google purchased in 2005.
What is Google Analytics?
Like other web analytics services, Google Analytics is a service
that tells you where visitors to your website are coming from, what links
on the website are getting the most traffic, what pages visitors are
viewing, how long people stay on the website, which products on merchant
websites are being sold and where people give up in multi-step checkout
The main difference between Google Analytics and other web analytics
services is that Google Analytics is free. In exchange for sharing
your data with the company, Google doesn't require you to pay directly
for their analytics service.
Should you use Google Analytics or should you stay away from it?
Why is Google Analytics free? Does Google have to give money away?
Of course not. Google will find ways to monetize this service. There
is no such thing as free lunch. Everything, even what is seemingly
free, must be paid for by somebody in some way.
Google already knows a lot of things about you. If you also use their
new tracking service, you will tell Google how much you earn, when you
earn it, which products you sell, how often you sell them, how much
you spend for ads on other websites and you will reveal much more
information about your online business.
Ask yourself if you want Google to know that much about you and your
company. Do you really want to share your revenue information with a
company that also wants your advertising dollars? Do you want to share
your revenue information with any other company at all?
Google officials have declined that they will use the data to better
understand how much you are willing to pay for ads, based on
conversions. They also claim that they do not plan to tap into the
data as a means of improving regular search results or to identify bad
websites. Nevertheless, these things are easily possible if you use
Google engineer Matt Cutts even writes in his blog: "Blackhat SEOs
(Search Engine Optimizers) may
be leery of using Google for analytics, but regular website owners should
be reassured." That sounds as if Google might actually use the
information for other purposes.
Think twice before using anything that is "free"
While Google's new analytics tool looks great at first glance, you
should think twice before using it for your website. The market power of Google can
make your business highly dependent on Google if you decide to use all
of Google's services. The more Google knows about you, the better they
can get your money.
If a company in the real world asked you to tell them everything about
your interests, the shops you visit, the magazines you read, your full
address, your revenue and a lot of other very detailed and
confidential information about you and your company then you probably
wouldn't give that information to the company.
When it comes to Google, many people happily reveal information they
wouldn't even tell their friends. Be careful.
What does Google Website Analytics mean to you and your website?
If you want a successful website, then build a useful website
for your visitors. Links to your website are still an important factor for
high Google rankings and results for searches.
Get links from other websites that are related to your website and
provide links to other websites that are useful to your visitors.
That linking strategy will not only bring you targeted visitors from
other websites, it will also result in a higher Google PageRank for your
website if that is important to you.
optimize your web page content so that it makes sense to both
your visitors and search engines. As explained in previous issues of
our newsletter, optimized web pages get better search engine
rankings than unoptimized pages.
A website with useful content, good design and good incoming
links will bring you the best results. You'll get high rankings on
search engines and - even more important - more customers and more
sales. Think seriously about using the Google Analytics - free has a