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Does removing Google Analytics hurt SEO rankings?

news  Paul Jarvis · May 4, 2020

Does removing Google Analytics hurt your search engine ranking?

The short answer is no, using Fathom instead of Google Analytics will not hurt your SEO.

According to Google’s own webmaster trends analyst:

“Just to be clear: there’s no penalty for using or not using GA with regards to search” - John Mueller

Google does not punish or penalize a website for not using Google Analytics. No search engine does. Sites are not ranked higher or lower because of using Google’s script or using a Google Analytics alternative.

As a company who provides a privacy-first alternative to Google Analytics, a few customers have asked us this, because they don’t want their websites to be penalized for installing our tracking code. Since most Fathom Analytics customers come from using Google Analytics first, we are pleased to say that even top Google employees have answered this question with an emphatic “No, Google search is not influenced by Google Analytics being present”.

This is great news for website owners and businesses who want to use a simple website analytics tool like Fathom instead.

The benefits of using Fathom Analytics instead of Google Analytics

One of our customers, Ryan Hanley (a marketing strategist), noted that after switching from Google Analytics to Fathom Analytics, his site speed doubled now that he’s not tracking or cookie-ing every visitor.

This is because Fathom’s tracking code is super-lightweight and blazingly-fast to load. Our tracker file is tiny whilst Google Analytics’ file is much larger. This is a little funny, because Google’s search engine rewards faster sites, so a case could be made that using Fathom instead of Google for your analytics could potentially increase your page rank in their own search engine!

Using Fathom Analytics can also make for a much faster website because you don’t need to load, show and store cookie notices (which can require extra javascript and more).

Because Google and their employees have been answering this question on social media, and Google’s own official content confirms it, it’s fairly safe to say this:

Your website will not be penalized or rank lower because you use Fathom Analytics instead of Google Analytics.

Personally, it’s been years since I stopped using Google Analytics on my own websites, like my personal website, and my Google rankings in their search engine have actually increased.

Don’t believe me? Check out our demo, which is a live and real view of my own personal website’s analytics data. Adjust the date to any range and more than likely you’ll see that “Google” is the top referrer by a large margin (mostly 3x larger than the second highest referrer). I’ve been using Fathom for years (since we created it), and Google’s search engine still loves to rank my site quite high, even without their analytics product installed.

There are also many other benefits to using Fathom Analytics over Google, outside of search engine rankings:

  • We don’t collect, sell or share personal data with advertising companies or any third party, ever
  • We don’t collect, sell or share any demographic or behavioural trends with any advertising companies or third parties, ever
  • We don’t monetize your website visitor data because we make money selling software, not data (a different business model entirely)
  • A new EU ruling has found that Google Analytics is illegal

Google Analytics doesn’t charge for their software because it’s run by the largest targeted advertising company on the planet. They don’t have to sell their software, they make billions using visitor data to drive ads (and we think targeted advertising should be illegal). The problem is a) it's a disingenuous business model and b) it's not truly free if you're fined millions of Euros for breaking the law by using their software.

Consider switching to Fathom Analytics

Fathom Analytics is a simple analytics tool that’s privacy-friendly for your website visitors. It’s GDPR, PECR and CCPA compliant as well.

If you aren’t sure, keep Google Analytics installed while you test out Fathom (both scripts can be on the same site at the same time) and only remove Google Analytics once you see how simple and easy our software is to use. You’ll see a slight difference in data as, amongst other things, we block more bots than they do and we don’t track individuals in the same way that they do.

Ready to get started? Try Fathom today with our 30-day free trial.

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Paul Jarvis

Paul Jarvis, author + designer

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