Paranoid Of Google Analytics

Recently I’ve been doing more thinking about a statistics program for my websites.  Of course, money is always a concern so I’ve been looking at free alternatives, namely Google Analytics.   Now, I used Google Analytics for over a year, was happy, but always a little bit paranoid.

Why would I give total and utter information of my website over to the company sending me traffic and providing me a monthly pay check?  I mean, Google provides the search traffic, will have access to my statistics through Analytics, and then will be writing me a check for my Adsense earnings every month.  It just doesn’t make sense and always made me feel uneasy.  Especially once I started hearing more and more about Google adjusting SERPs based on bounce rates.

Now, more information has surfaced that indicates that Google in fact does not take bounce rate into consideration, but I trust Matt Cutt’s as far as I can throw him.  Why take the chance of giving over valuable statistical data on your visitors to Google when there are other options available?  Thus my search for a quality statistics program began.

First, Piwik Stats was great!  However, it bogged down my server, seemed buggy, and needed updated far too many times in the short span I was using it.  I needed to take my web statistics program out of house.  What I found was that statistics programs are not generally free, like Google Analytics, and to get the good stuff plan on dropping around $10 per month.

Right now I’m testing out the free version of W3Counter, which limits you to a single domain tracking and less than 10,000 visitors per day.  The single domain is a problem, but I’m nowhere close to the visitor limit.  So far I like the reports, layout, and general live tracking that W3Counter boasts.  However, my only complaint right now is that their website is slow to respond on occasion.

I’ll be trying out some new web statistics programs here over the next few weeks.  I also plan on using free and paid tracking software so I can finally settle down with a program I can use for years to come.  I’ll report back with my findings as I go, so look for a W3Counter review in the next few days.

8 thoughts on “Paranoid Of Google Analytics”

  1. I am having the same thoughts re: Google. I have several monetized blogs, and I always felt that Google held too many cards. Thanks for the tips, and the insights.

  2. Anytime Mark and I’ve actually received some feedback from an affiliate program manager who suggested leaving Google Analytics for this very reason.

  3. You’re mistaken if you believe Google needs you to use Google Analytics to know your bounce rate from SERPs.

    * Browser requests SERPs page
    * User clicks on a search result linked to your site
    * User clicks “back” 2 seconds later
    * Browser makes an HTTP HEAD request to see if the page’s ecache/timestamp is newer than cache, or a full GET request for the results again, and Google now knows user clicked back after only 2 seconds at your site

  4. So you are suggesting that Google accesses your browser logs? Furthermore, what about sites, like mine, that use caching?

    Also, a bounce rate isn’t determined by HOW FAST a visitor leaves your site. The definition of a ‘bounce’ is when a visitor to your site only views 1 page and then exits.

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