Monday, 11 June 2018







This is a post on why I disabled Google Analytics and the benefits of NOT using Google Analytics.

-Perry

In keeping with the trend to get rid of Google services in favor of better services that do a better job of protecting peoples personal information. And with the recent GDPR changes, we examined our data sharing polices to simplify and improve privacy for our users. Although privacy has always been a keen focus here at Thexyz, there is always more that can be done. After all the changes, there was really just one Google service left to kill. Google Analytics.

I have been reading a lot of blogs over the past few months on disabling Google Analytics. As a Webmaster myself, I also found myself adding the GA javascript code with or without a request to do so. This way when I did get a request for traffic stats, I was able to provide heaps of data.

The problem with Google Analytics data


Google was quick to point out that Google Analytics is GDPR compliant. Due to browser fingerprinting I am not sure this is actually the case and recently blogged about this. Much of the data collected by Google Analytics is redundant and obsolete. It has become so complicated to use that most users, Google Analytics is useless.

The argument for Google Analytics


There is some good data to be found, especially for high traffic sites like thexyz.com (ranked in top 100,000 most popular websites). This data is helpful for:

  • Finding what posts are most popular
  • Bounce rates although this is not much use
  • Looking for trends (if you can find them)
  • Probably something else but too hard to find

The benefits of removing Google Analytics


I was quite surprised by some of the benefits of removing Google Analytics, such as:

  • Much faster page loads time 
  • Increase in SEO due to page speed improvements
  • Increased privacy for websites visitors
  • Better experience for website visitors
  • Lower GDPR non-compliance risks
  • Simplify your privacy policy
  • Removes externally hosted JavaScript
  • Combines external CSS
  • Shave at least a second off your load time
When looking at this data it made the decision much easier. Google Analytics was causing more harm than good. I also did a page speed test with Pingdom before and after removing Google Analytics to highlight the negative effects of Google Analytics.

Page speed with Google Analytics

  • Performance grade: C/74
  • Load time: 1.51 s
  • Page size: 804.3 kB
  • Requests: 51 

 Link to results here.

Page speed without Google Analytics

  • Performance grade: A/98
  • Load time: 721 ms
  • Page size: 788.6 kB
  • Requests: 46

 Link to results here.

Conclusion 


It is amazing how simply removing a few lines of code from your website can have such a positive effect. From increasing speed, to privacy, to better search engine rankings. The choice to remove Google Analytics is clear. If you still need analytical data from your website why not check Piwik by Matomo.



About the Author

I'm Perry Toone, a British Software Developer with keen expertise in spam and fraud prevention.  You'll regularly find me talking about email privacy and best practices via my podcast.

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