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    why would such a site have google analytics?

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      People often include google analytics without really thinking about the privacy implications, just because publishing blind is so annoying I suppose. Is there a better alternative?

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        Well, there’s Piwik. I find it quite nice, though I’ve heard Google Analytics is in a league of its own. Wouldn’t know since I don’t use it for these exact privacy concerns.

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          You probably also punish yourself with google search ranking by not using google analytics too. bummer.

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            Anecdotally, this seems to be the case, based on what I’ve played with this on my own site.

            Currently, if you search for “Benjamin Pollack” on Google, my blog is (usually, because Google) about third on the page. About two years ago, I noticed that it had suddenly and without any warning plummeted to almost the bottom of page one. Sometimes, it wasn’t even on page one, which was even worse. While I generally don’t like doing SEO, I didn’t really like not having my blog rank highly, either, and the sudden drop didn’t make much sense to me. So, I spent some time poking.

            I knew I’d gotten some whining from Google about not looking good on mobile platforms and some other things, so I started there: gave the site a responsive design, turned on HTTPS, added a site map, improved favicon resolution, and some other stuff. But while those changes did help a bit on some other search engines, none of it really seemed to help much on Google. In frustration, I started looking through what I’d changed recently to see if I’d perhaps broken something that Google cared about.

            Turned out, I did: while I’d used Mint in practice to track my site’s usage, I’d accidentally left Google Analytics on as well for quite some time. I’d caught it shortly before the rankings drop, and removed it from my site. On a hunch, I added Google Analytics back in, and…presto, back up to roughly my old position.

            I don’t actually think this is malice. I think that Google absolutely factors in the traffic patterns they see when calculating search results. In the case of my blog, their being able to see people showing up there based on my name, and then staying on the site, probably helps, and likewise probably gave them insight they might otherwise lack that I tend to have a few key pages that get a lot of traffic.

            So, yeah: unfortunately, I do think you punish yourself with Google by not using analytics. For some, that might be okay; for others, perhaps not.

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              I don’t actually think this is malice. I think that Google absolutely factors in the traffic patterns they see when calculating search results.

              Perhaps not active malice, but this is the exact sort of thing people mean when they say that algorithms encode values.

              It may not be active malice, but it still has malicious effect, and it’s still incumbent upon Google to clarify, fix, and/or restate their values accordingly.

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                I knew I’d gotten some whining from Google about not looking good on mobile platforms and some other things, so I started there: gave the site a responsive design, turned on HTTPS, added a site map, improved favicon resolution, and some other stuff.

                in what form did you receive the “whining”? as someone with an irrational hatred of the web 2.0 “upgrades” that have been sweeping the web, making fonts huge, breaking sites under noscript or netsurf, etc., i have been wondering about the reasons for this. like is there some group of PR people going around making people feel bad about their “out-dated” websites, convincing them to use bootstrap?

                would motherfuckingwebsite.com live up to google’s standards of “responsiveness”?

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                For what it’s worth: When I worked on Google Analytics a few years ago, that was definitely not true. And I’d bet that it’s still not true and will never be true. Search ranking is heavily silo’d from the rest of the company’s data, both due to regulatory reasons and out of principle. Just getting the Search Console data linked into GA was a big ordeal.

                Edit: Just did a quick search, here’s a more official statement from somebody more relevant: https://twitter.com/methode/status/598390635041673217, I’m pretty sure there were many other similar statements made by other people over the years too.

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                  thanks for that info.

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                    I understand if you can’t say anything but I’m wondering if there’s a different explanation for https://lobste.rs/s/3o3acu/decentralized_web#c_ltcs3n then?

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                      I don’t work there anymore, so there’s no way for me to know for sure.

                      If I had to guess I’d say it’s a similar deal to the dozens/hundreds of “I spoke about X in private and now I’m seeing ads for X, so my phone/car/alexa/dishwasher is spying on me” stories. We’re really good at attributing things incorrectly.

                      The comment you link already mentioned various things that happened which likely ruined the ranking: Unresponsive design, no HTTPS, whatever else was wrong with it. The thing is, it takes time for ranking to get updated and propagate. Even if everything was fixed yesterday and the site got crawled today, it can take weeks or months for relative ranking in a specific keyword to improve. It’s very hard to attribute an improvement to any specific thing—all you can do is do your best across the board over the long term.

                      Some other possible things that might have gone wrong which the comment didn’t already mention: Maybe Mint was doing something bad, like loading slowly or insecurely or something else. Maybe some high-value incoming links disappeared. Maybe Google rolled out one of their big algorithm changes and the site was affected by some quirk of it (it happens fairly regularly, lots of rants about it out there).

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                        Hmm, thanks. That makes sense; I appreciate the explanation!

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                      they got rid of that along with the serifs on their logo

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                  what is so annoying about publishing blind? i am publishing this comment blind and it doesn’t bother me.

                  isn’t it easier to do nothing, than to do something and set up google analytics?

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                    Eh, well, there’s actually up down vote buttons on your comment. So the tracking was already there for you. Likes and claps and shit… people want to see who’s seeing them.

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                      tracking is different from allowing voluntary participation.