Does Installing Google Analytics Help Your SEO to Rank Your Websites in the SERPs?

Micha 🎓
AN SEO MYTH RESURFACED
When I say "resurfaced", I mean I encountered it again this week in a recent publication. This myth has been there all along and won't go away.
There is a popular vendor of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) wisdom that publishes YouTube videos. I don't want to name names because I don't want to invite any bashing. Nor do I want to give the impression I am bashing anyone.
Frankly, I like some of the advice this company gives. I agree whole-heartedly with some of the things they say.
But in video after video they say some things that are completely wrong. This week they once again said that you should install Google Analytics on your Website to help improve your rankings.
It doesn't work that way.
Google Web Search doesn't collect user engagement data from Google Analytics and use that to adjust your rankings.
Google Web Search doesn't track engagement on ANY Websites other than its own. And while we can debate back and forth about how that click data they do collect may (not) be used, they can't use click data that they don't collect.
As far as Google Web Search is concerned, Google Analytics is a 3rd-party tool.
Furthermore, only a small fraction of all active Websites use Google Analytics. I don't have a current estimate, but a couple of years ago I did some research and found there were only about 10 million active Google Analytics accounts. That's not enough to cover even half the Web, much less enough of the Web to generate reliable data for estimating everyone's engagement.
And given how many Web marketers complain about the shortcomings with Google Analytics data, no one should be surprised to learn the search engineers don't want to use that data.

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Shukla
That is so naive. Google analytics (free version) doesn't even give complete data for enterprise websites.
What if we want to use some other tools like Adobe analytics. Will that hurt my rankings? 😅 there are so many Myths out there. This impacts on the impression of whole industry.

Daniel J. O'Leary » Shukla
Or Piwik or any other number of alternative analytics solutions. Yeah, the add Google analytics (GA) code is a myth that never seems to fully die. I recommend clients who have NO analytics data to sign up for GA so i can at least start measuring things. But it's not a rankings or visibility boost itself. It's like saying wind vanes make the wind blow more lol. Uhhh no, they just measure where its blowing and how hard.

Mat
Are they confusing bounce rate with return to Search Engine Result Page (SERP) rate (which doesn't need analytics)?

Micha ✍️🎓 » Mat
It was – in the video I watched – just a quick, throwaway statement. But it's one this team has made before. "Use Google Analytics to improve your rankings." Pretty unambiguous, in my opinion.
But as I said, they say so many other things I agree with. They have real-world experience at building and promoting Websites. They just seem to have latched on to a couple of zingers.
Mat
Yeah it's an interesting way to say it if they have other great bits of information. Hopefully they don't intend to mean just install GA and that you can use GA to identify other things to help improve.

Ammon Johns 🎓
I've had quite a lot of clients that don't use Google Analytics, and a few that have GA just for allowing contractors access to some data, but not their full data.
When you have enterprise level clients, many will not find GA at all sufficient to their needs, and many will have their own customized data warehousing solutions, and would not dream of sharing that data with Google for free, ever.
7 years ago I even did a talk at Brighton SEO all about deleting GA, and using alternatives. At the very least, if we say data is so important, why have more than 90% of SEO users not even *looked* at alternatives in the entire past year?
https://moz.com/blog/is-google-analytics-hurting-your-business
Is Google Analytics Hurting your Business?
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Mat
Does your opinion of GA change at all with version 4?
Ammon Johns 🎓 » Mat
My main 'issue' with GA is that it takes a lot of extra work to get anything REALLY meaningful out of it, and that considering it is something every SEO and marketer will say is really, really important, they go with the exact same thing everyone else is using. 😃
If a company has the in-house expertise, my recommendation is always to go custom with their own solution built to exactly what they need to know, and NOT shared with Google.

Morgan
It seems like you're splitting hairs as to what the individual is trying to get across.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console (GSC) are signal factors for Google. Perhaps indirectly. That's not to say you can't rank without it, but yeah.
I'm just convinced though the advice may be sound, looking for reasons to throw shade shouldn't be the reason why we hear a person out.

Micha ✍️🎓 » Morgan
Google employees have said for years that they don't use data from Google Analytics for rankings. I don't see why people can't accept that, especially given the fact that so few sites (in the millions, but still a small percentage of the Web overall) use Google Analytics.
Morgan » Micha
Again, splitting hairs on the specs.
I'm sure he's expecting the audience to be able to keep up with what he's imparting on the world.
Ammon Johns 🎓 » Morgan
When you say "Google Analytics and GSC are signal factors for Google." you literally couldn't be more wrong.
Google don't EVER want to use a signal that is unreliable, and a large proportion of the 55 million websites NOT using a thing at all, makes that completely unreliable.
Google do not use Analytics data at any point in ranking sites. No hair-splitting, that is an absolute. It is NOT considered a signal in any way, shape, or form, ever.
Whether or not you choose to accept that fact does not change it being a fact. But it might change how people view your other assertions and opinions.
Thompson » Micha
I'm not convinced Google Search uses Google Analytics data, but it's actually a majority of sites that use Google Analytics: https://w3techs.com/technologies/details/ta-googleanalytics
Usage Statistics and Market Share of Google Analytics for Websites, September 2021
Micha ✍️🎓 » Thompson
THAT is an interesting change in estimates. Thank you for the link.
"Google Analytics is used by 85.9% of all the websites whose traffic analysis tool we know. This is 56.6% of all websites."

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Davi
Looks like they are using Chrome data as well as up to some other things..
https://www.zachvorhies.com/google_leaks/

Ammon Johns 🎓 » Davi
They have a lot of data they can use to help them with discovering previously undiscovered URLs, and a lot of things they can use in aggregate to help them determine whether a Search Engine Result Page (SERP) is better or worse, but they don't use any of that data applied to any specific site, simply because if it is not universal, it is not reliable.
This is just like Click Through Rate (CTR) data on their own SERP page, which they can absolutely measure, but they don't use it to rank sites because the site isn't in control of its position or display in the SERP. The bounce rate of a site is noisy and unreliable and can mean far too many completely different, sometimes conflicting things. Instead, Google looks at CTR not on an individual position basis, but in whether a user's query was solved faster, with less TOTAL clicks on multiple results to test one algo blend against another.
Davi
That's not what the leaked documentation above says.
They are using Chrome data amongst other things to directly modify search results in real time.
Micha ✍️🎓 » Davi
They have confirmed publicly they integrate data from the Chrome User Experience into their Core Web Vitals, but Core Web Vitals (CWV) offers a boost under certain circumstances. It's not supposed to negatively affect any site's rankings (and sites can rank well in spite of lacking CWV signals).
https://developers.google.com/web/tools/chrome-user-experience-report/
Chrome User Experience Report | Chrome UX Report | Google Developers
Davi » Micha
That's not what the leaked documentation above says.
They are using Chrome data amongst other things to directly modify search results in real time.
Mark » Davi
In which of the huge list of documents there is this supposedly revealed?
Davi » Mark
All of it is worth looking at if you have any interest in learning how Google works behind the scenes.
Won't take you too long to sort through what's useful for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
The big issue for me is that Google are deciding what is the truth when it comes to "news" and they are censoring the internet with negative quality scores to websites they don't like.
They are telling the public lies. They have always stated their search results are impartial.
Mark » Davi
Sadly this is the reply I expected. You are unwilling to show me directly where a controversial claim you're making is explicitly stated, and now shifting the goal posts to "it's all interesting stuff."
Ammon Johns 🎓 » Davi
When you say "They have always stated their search results are impartial." can you find me a couple of cases where that has been a direct quote from Google. I mean, they are "always" saying it, so you must easily be able to find an instance of a direct quote.
I ask because I can't ever recall those words coming from any Googler (and I have a freakish memory), but I do remember the legal case of Search King vs Google that resulted in the legal verdict that Google's results are an opinion.
The entire point of an algorithm is to judge, be selective and discerning, to favor some things over others. A search algorithm is an embodiment of preferences, discernment, and partiality.
I get it. You read a thing you lack the qualification or experience to understand and leapt to wild conclusions on what it means. So when you hear someone tell you that documents say Google may or can, or even do in specific cases and ways be "using Chrome data amongst other things to directly modify search results in real time", you jump to wild-assed ideas that they are somehow processing every browser action to help rank or de-rank every individual page online.
That they just use it to improve the whole algo, a more limited, actually possible thing, like that it means they use it sometimes to tweak the algo, which affects ALL the results at once, not individual results, but ALL the results, is either beyond you, or simply a difference you can't understand.
You probably don't have a single clue about how a SERP is generated, or that the absolute single most important factor is time, measured in milliseconds. The absolute make or break of whether or not to use any calculation or processing comes down to how many milliseconds it takes to process, calculate, look-up, and display.
They can't even process the entire link graph in real-time, although they do have a continually running update that feeds in over time, all the time. And I promise you that there are many magnitudes more instances of Chrome accessing a URL per hour than there are links created in an hour.
Micha ✍️🎓 » Mark
Not sure I want to get into it with anyone about the source of those documents and images, but the site says they were leaked by Project Veritas (a claim disputed by other sources, which say Zach Vorhies provided them to Project Veritas), which has been accused of less-than-ethical practices itself (including altering documents and videos).
It should be noted that Zach Vorhies is an open supporter of QAnon, which promotes many false claims intended to mislead people across the world (and has done a very effective job at doing so).
Mark » Micha
Thanks for that background. Doesn't surprise me a bit. I won't lose one more moment of concern over Ross's claims here.
Davi » Ammon Johns
My previous company got bought by the company who provide Google data for One Box results.
Good luck with your efforts.
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Truslow 🎓
I've never understood how that myth ever really gained any traction. The notion is rather like suggesting that a road map tells the streets where to go.

Ammon Johns 🎓 » Truslow
Because it is simple and a lot easier to swallow thereby than the complex truth. The first rule of memetics is that a simple lie is always more acceptable than a complicated truth, and will travel further and faster.
Micha ✍️🎓 » Truslow
I think many people assume that if Google launches a service, it must somehow collect data and be tied into the Web Search algorithms.
And that skeptical perspective is, unfortunately, supported by real-world admissions from Google or revelations from court documents.
For example, Google confirmed in U.S. court filings some years ago that people who send email to GMail users have no reasonable expectation of privacy – a viewpoint the court accepted.
More recently, privacy/security advocates have criticized Google's FLoC proposal (an alternative to browser cookies that would assign all Website visitors to "cohorts"), which Google finally admitted would still fail to shield users from invasing tracking by advertisers.
Given these kinds of abridgements of user privacy (among others), I think it's easy for people to assume Google must be doing everything it can with the data it collects. But as far as integrating Google Analytics data into search rankings, there's simply no way to design an algorithm that could use the data reliably. There simply isn't enough GA data to serve as a useful signal – and there are services and tools that openly and easily manipulate GA data anyway.
Thompson » Micha
I find it more likely that Google uses data from Chrome/Analytics to train their machine learning algorithms than to directly to change rankings.

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