Are Yahoo quietly dropping sites using Google Analytics?

43 comments

Why would Yahoo index the tracking code from Google Analytics?

Could it be they are quietly dropping sites running Analytics in order to protect industry-sensitive data from their main competitor's 'spy-in-the-site' tracking software?

Makes sense to protect your assets from being spied on by your main competitor and Google's shrewd acquisition and free offering of Analytics effectively collects all the necessary data Yahoo (and MSN) would probably rather keep to themselves.

Thread on DigitalPoint

Comments

Maybe not universal

The only site I'm using GA on is doing very well in Yahoo, thank you.

The Sky is Falling

Chicken Little panics after seeing Google Analytics, film @ 11

Just because

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean it isn't true.

Quote:
The only site I'm using GA on is doing very well in Yahoo, thank you.

For now...

Mine was as well. There has been no weather report I'm aware of and nothing has changed as far as that particular site goes. Certainly nothing to explain a 60 place drop.

Anyway, it's irrelevant that I chose to discuss my own site in the thread at DP. It was only to provide some background on why I was examining Analytics code in the first place.

Don't you find it curious Yahoo is reading that particular Javascript? I do.

Which leads to the issue is whether Yahoo are taking badly to Google collating their (Yahoo's) search data via the backdoor, as it were. It's tantamount to giving someone the keys to the safe.

Quote:
Chicken Little panics after seeing Google Ananlytics, film @ 11

Hardly.

Joke

What happened to less noise, more signal? Does everyone who loses some rankings get to post their ridiculous tin foil hat conspiracy theory?

The point

Quote:
What happened to less noise, more signal? Does everyone who loses some rankings get to post their ridiculous tin foil hat conspiracy theory?

You are the noise.

The point, if you care to read it and think about it; is would Yahoo (and possibly MSN), quietly drop sites using Google Analytics from the top positions in order to protect their data from the main competitor?

This isn't a conspiracy theory, it's a business decision.

I use Google Analytics

Have been since it was announced and I'm still #2 on Yahoo, and I have AdSense all over the site too, and I have Google prayer beads and a Google shrine page as well.

Please submit more empirical evidence that GA is the cause of your Yahoo demise other than anecdotal evidence that doesn't pass the sniff test.

It's only a business decision if you can prove it happens to the masses.

My Head Hurts

So you're saying that a billion dollar, publically traded company like Yahoo! is going to dramatically decrease the relevancy in their search engine so that Google doesn't get some information that they probably have no idea how to use? The same data that I'd assume the Google Toolbar could grab? But instead of just eliminating these sites, the crafty engineers at Yahoo! decided to simply drop it down the rankings a ways to add to the confusion.

Oh, and your sample size for this test is........1 site.

my 2c

due to the big fucks up recently in GA ... 404's slow load times ... it would make sense that Yahoo would end up indexing bits of the code .

Good point

Quote:
due to the big fucks up recently in GA ... 404's slow load times ... it would make sense that Yahoo would end up indexing bits of the code .

Good point. That could be why Yahoo has indexed the Analytics Javascript. Still, there are a lot of returns and the term isn't showing up in the cache.

I guess we'll have to wait and see, however, if I were Yahoo or MSN, I wouldn't want to spoonfeed Google all of my search data combined with the traffic analysis of the website on which the Analytics software resides.

Makes No Sense

Why would Yahoo even load the javascript?

Yahoo isn't a browser, doesn't process or load javascript files off my server let alone 3rd party javascript (how would you know if it did?) so why would it be loading slowly from Google or why would slow loading from Google make a damn bit of difference to the site anyway?

Think about what you're saying, the PAGE would already be loaded by Yahoo first even if they did load supplemental files like the javascript they would already have the main page downloaded.

Furthermore, the address to the Google Analytics scripts would be the same for everyone so why would Yahoo waste resources downloading the same files over and over, page after page, yada yada.

Am I the only one retaining sanity while toasted off my ass?

>> doesn't process or load

>> doesn't process or load javascript files

Hmmm, are you sure?. Google have been doing it for years, why not the others?

>> why would Yahoo waste resources downloading the same files over and over, page after page, yada yada.

Do the words "duplicate content" mean anything to you?

Google probably have no idea how to use?

Quote:
So you're saying that a billion dollar, publically traded company like Yahoo! is going to dramatically decrease the relevancy in their search engine so that Google doesn't get some information that they probably have no idea how to use?

I had to quote this for being the dumbest comment I've ever read on TW. Google doesn't know how to use search data? LOL!

Yahoo Urchin to grab our data

Rather than Yahoo removing valued websites, inturn valued customers, anyone thought about how Yahoo is using urchinTracker(); within our sites? Each site has its unique number.

_uacct = "UA-xxxxxx-y";

Yahoo could now create a 'related' algorithm where the unique xxxxxx value is matched with different y values. For the less creative/deserning SEO'ers Google already is collating cirle of related sites with the same xxxxxx value, yet Yahoo wants in too.

my 2pence.

crap thread -10 points to

crap thread -10 points to original poster

And that comment

Quote:
crap thread -10 points to original poster

And that comment added precisely what ...?

You don't think it important or in any way significant Yahoo are listing Google Analytics information in their results? It may simply be as DaveN suggested, because of problems with Analytics server responses and 404's.

That still leaves the question of whether Yahoo or MSN will do anything to stop or at least obfusticate the data collecting of Google?

And that comment added

And that comment added precisely what ...?

My opinion of the original post.

It's getting like...

...a certain forum I used to frequent 'round here. What I call the "pack of dogs" mentality. And God forbid you should be perceived as the lame dog.

>>My opinion of the original post.

Either join in the debate or ignore it - that kind of interjection just lowers the tone of the whole place and discourages ideas being aired. IMHO of course.

true enough my

true enough my apologies.
Hadn't had my morning coffee yet.

if you want to air unsupported ideas like that...

Head over to Web Master World ;)

Tinfoil Hats Off

I'm a bit more than confused here.

Exactly what is this Y! search supposed to show?

I take it that somebody took a quick look at the Y! SERPs and interpreted them as Yahoo indexing GA's javascript code. So, how is it really any different than this G search? I see a few instances there also.

What I find when I track back the, ahem, smoking gun results, is malformed script tags and generally butt ugly code that would confuse any indexer.

Now, I'm might be wrongly interpreting all this, but it looks to me that the Y! search that leads this thread is simply returning pages with broken code, just the same as the G search does.

Damn, what's up?

>>if you want to air unsupported ideas like that...

I believe he was looking for supporting evidence. Note the QUESTION in his post-

Could it be they are quietly dropping sites running Analytics in order to protect industry-sensitive data from their main competitor's 'spy-in-the-site' tracking software?

So people shouldn't form hypothesis? And then seek data that either confirms or denies? Questions are stupid eh? Perhaps everyone would have been happier with 25 reasons why he loves Google...

Yep, it is a small data set. Which is possibly why he came here looking for more information. But he didn't state a fact, he asked a question.

If everyone decided to gather and analyze their own data there'd be a lot less discussion here, at WMW, at SEW etc. And if everyone gathered and analyzed their own data why bother sharing?

I second that...am all for

I second that...am all for open sourced SEO research!

you first ... ;)

Why I think this is stupid

1. At this point I don't see any motive for Yahoo dropping a site with analytics from google. Yahoo does not compete with google by being "better", they compete by being different.

2. On DP you say "However, something doesn't feel right about this particular drop. Maybe it's nothing but a temporary abberation? I really don't know but I would like to hear other viewpoints."

But here you post it as a rumour. The definition of a rumour is "rumor: gossip (usually a mixture of truth and untruth) passed around by word of mouth" via google. The only one that is passing this around is you. I don't think that qualifies it as a rumour. Its just a notion in your head.

3. Engines have been indexing javascript and css for ages, a better question is why would they not want to. If they didn't then they would have even less of an ability to block the most elementary of spam.

4. Since its not a rumour, lets classify it as your hypothesis. Your hypothesis "That Yahoo is dropping pages to protect a trade secret" is weak.

a. Google and Yahoo hire people from each others company all the time. People carry the knowledge of how the old company operated with them.
b. Yahoo does not block google from indexing its site. Surely there is information that can be mined from their site.
c. I have found no example of Yahoo blocking another analytics companies software
before.

I hope that was a

I hope that was a constructive enough argument. Again my apologies for my previous brevity .

Fair point?

If everyone decided to gather and analyze their own data there'd be a lot less discussion here, at WMW, at SEW etc. And if everyone gathered and analyzed their own data why bother sharing?

If everyone gathered and analyzed their own data *from one site that just got hammered in Yahoo!* then Threadwatch would be full of posts like this one.

less noise more signal?

although, i haven't checked

although, i haven't checked threadwatch 5 times an hour for ages ;)

No need to apologize

No need to apologize webprofessor - you weren't the only one. :)

C'mon, give me a kicking ...

... I let the post through. Would do again. Unusually shrill responses, I'd say.

Open Sourced

>>open sourced SEO research!

That's in the works. I'm sure you'll see the bot soon. ;)

>>less noise more signal?

Ya know, if someone asks Hey, have you seen this anomaly? And he gets nothing but 'no' as answers he can move on. But for the sake of argument, let's say that 10 people had chimed in with, 'yes, I've seen it', then instead of a 'noisy' post you've got a reason to investigate and possibly, breaking news.

ye, less noise

Used to be the case that Threadwatch would only elevate the discussions seen on SEO/Webmaster forums if they had some credibility or a lot of interest (and people piping up with "me too"'s)...

Judging by the fact that this thread didn’t get ONE response on Digital Point (the busiest web master forum on the web) I would happily label it as noise and move right along (if I wasn’t tied up defending myself here, of course!)

If I see a few more posts

If I see a few more posts like this on TW I may remove it from my bookmarks :-)

Engines have been indexing javascript

Hell, my wife works in search, had to ask her about crawling javascript, she kept me in the dark on that one "well, we scrape menus amd links out of javascript when we can figure it out". OK, fine, so I'm the last to know.

But crawlers are usually smart enough not to crawl the same page a few million times just because a few million pages point to it, which is why I'd STILL be shocked if Yahoo tried to crawl the same Google code over and over, beyond a single page.

Anyway, let's address this theory you geniuses put forth:

Path to Google ananlytics code:
http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.js

Robots.txt on Google ananlytics domain:
http://www.google-analytics.com/robots.txt

User-Agent: *
Disallow: /
Noindex: /

If Yahoo's indexing that code then they don't honor robots.txt

I think Webprofessor's -10 was a bit generous, probably more of a -20 and the tinfoil should be recycled when we're done here.

http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.js

FWIW, you will find that in the source code for this TW page.

G has a pattern...

...of developing "useful" products that sometimes achieve high levels of take up, when the real goal is just another way to grab incredibly useful data, while also shutting out competition from getting there first.

Yahoo is obviously not going to cut off relavent sites just because G has found another way to stick their business into other people's business.

But the OP is thinking thoughts that are IMHO, worth considering (just got the conclusion wrong).

G's various endeavors along the lines of new apps/data collection must be giving the other SE's fits. Crickey, G even got to Mars first. If Y and MSN don't move fast on the outer space front, they'll be relegated to fighting over Uranus, and who wants to be in that position?

:P

Actually

Quote:
Google doesn't know how to use search data? LOL!

Actually I stated that Google doesn't know how to use the Google Analytics (Urchin) data yet. The company was newly acquired and from conversations with both people at Google and Urchin, Google hasn't done anything with the data. Even if they could right now, don't you think they have better sources such as Google Toolbar, Desktop Search, and their neverending cookie. The company that hasn't figured out how to handle a 301 is now using sophisticated analytics stats it just acquired months ago and have already implemented it into their algorithim? Seems very unlikely. My point is that Google can grab data from a variety of sources and Yahoo! banning sites with GA is like emptying the Pacific Ocean with a coffee mug.

The reason the post did get some heat is because this is the stuff you see at WMW. I believe one of the most endearing qualities of TW is that you didn't have to weed through people whining and making up unfounded theories because their site dropped in the rankings.

FWIW

FWIW the reason there are no replies at DP is because Shawn moved the thread from the 'Google forum' to 'Website Reviews'. I believe he thought it would encourage a lot of 'My site has dropped' type responses from people who did not take the time to read the post thoroughly.

I'll state again: the only reason I mentioned a website, any website, at all, was to give a little background on why I was looking at Analytics code results being returned in the search results.

This then led me to question whether Yahoo and MSN might not quietly demote sites using the tracking software in order to protect their own data and not allow Google to gain what must be an enormous competitive edge over them from the massive collection of webmasters statistics for hundreds of thousands of websites.

Google may have the neverending cookie and they may have the toolbar and they may have a hundred other ways of grabbing user data but what they do not have is raw data from Yahoo and MSN. Using Analytics gives them precisely that. Can Yahoo and MSN allow that situation to continue?

If you are using Google Analytics tracking....

...like on this site and many others, make sure you move the tracking code to the bottom of the page to insure that Google Analytics performance issues, as noted by DaveN above, are "transparent" to your users. See Web Analytics Embedded JavaScript Page Tracking Code: Place at the top or bottom of the page? for details.

- Sean

Wow...

Slow news day is it?

So people shouldn't form hypothesis?

They should, but if it turns out to be noise, and it happens here, then TW becomes the source of that noise. Is that what we should expect here?

> Used to be the case that Threadwatch would only elevate the discussions...

Did TW change it's hat at some point? Honestly, TW used to fill a gap for me and now that gap seems to be back... I'm just sayin'...

Gurchin?

Maybe ol' YahooSlurp just got tired of waiting all day for each page to load because the Google Analytics code was slowing things down to a crawl with each page load?

TW is for discussion..

Quote:
TW used to fill a gap for me and now that gap seems to be back... I'm just sayin'...

Why do you think you can knock it if you yourself do not contribute?

I am always a little baffled when I read this sort of thing from someone who has made less than 10 posts in a year.

How about helping to fill that gap yourself then? We are not here to entertain you.

Blather

This then led me to question whether Yahoo and MSN might not quietly demote sites using the tracking software in order to protect their own data and not allow Google to gain what must be an enormous competitive edge over them from the massive collection of webmasters statistics for hundreds of thousands of websites.

Why would Yahoo or MSN waste their time demoting sites with Google Analytics when demoting sites with Google AdSense actually has a financial objective and puts the hurt on Google's finances and would tend to steer advertisers to Yahoo and MSN for their small slice of the pie.

Then again, considering the search traffic from both Yahoo and MSN is so minimal, and GA and AdSense is massively widespread, that launching such cold war tactics against sites using GA or AdSense would destroy their relevance and just hand over the remaining customers to Google on a silver platter.

BTW, consider that every page that has ever had any Yahoo button, search box or anything embedded in it from Yahoo's site has been gathering demographics on sites and surfers loading images and scripts off Yahoo's site for ages. Maybe not as complete as GA gets, but trust me, Yahoo has a BUNCH of information already.

this thread is poor work...

We are supposed to be collecting worthwhile threads, not garbage guesses and outerspace hypotheses.

Time for baseball rules. Three strikes and you're out.

This is one of the stupidest ideas I've seen in years reading threads.

Maybe McFox should go and write about search for The Economist. They seem to like clueless search writing there.

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