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Google Analytics 4 Backlash: GA4 “Sucks” and is “Horrible” via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Twitter has been on a low boil for weeks as many users across the search marketing world expressed their extreme displeasure with Google Analytics 4 (GA4).  While there are some positive comments, the many negative comments come from search marketing professionals who one would expect to be brand ambassadors of GA4 and not their most passionate critics.

GA4 is Difficult to Use

A common complaint about GA4 is that it is difficult to use. Some search marketers noted that GA4 seems geared for use by enterprise level users more than smaller businesses.

Dave Davies (@beanstalkim) is a search marketing expert and co-host of the Webcology Search Marketing podcast, a person one would expect to be a brand evangelist for Google’s products but even Dave was tweeting his negative experience with GA4.

It was startling to see his recent tweet proclaiming that “GA4 sucks” because the user interface is not intuitive and is difficult to use.

Dave noted that commonly used features are buried within the user interface as if purposely making it difficult to access.

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Another search marketer Called GA4 HORRIBLE (in caps) and complained that basic features were now difficult to access, mirroring Dave Davie’s observation about the unintuitive user interface.

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Another search marketer agreed that the word “horrible” accurately described the new Google Analytics 4.

The marketer wished they hadn’t wasted so much time trying to familiarize themselves with the poor user interface.

It was also noted that third party add-ons still don’t work.

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GA4 is Described as Horrible

GA4 is Described as “Awful”

GA4 Described as Unusable

Another Google Analytics user posted several tweets expressing her displeasure with GA4

GA4 Might Bring Users to Tears

A series of tweets noted how it was difficult to use and had her on the edge of crying and questioned Google’s commitment to small businesses.

GA4 is So Complex You Need a Manual to Use It?

Another tweet (unintentionally) underlined how complex GA4 has become.

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Search marketer Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe)  posted a link to a 1,400 word article about how to access basic functionalities in the new analytics service.

The article is well written but one has to wonder about the utility of any user interface that requires 1,400 words and screenshots to learn how to use it.

Google Analytics 4 Not Ready for General Use?

Other search marketers expressed their opinions that GA4 is a mess and not ready for “prime time” while also expressing hope hope that Google will fix the issues.

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Yet others expressed less hope, tweeting that GA4 seems to have been rushed out and that it was giving them post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a disorder that is triggered by traumatic events.

She listed some of the Google services she had adopted in the past that were subsequently abandoned, expressing a lack of enthusiasm for adopting GA4.

One of the reasons for the lack of enthusiasm is what she noted as GA4 not being “error free.”

The negative feedback about Google Analytics 4 is that it’s not ready and that it was rushed out in a state that still needed improvement.

One user said it was not ready for prime time. Prime time is a phrase that references the time period in the evening when most people watch television.

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To say that something is not ready for prime time is to communicate that something is not yet ready for use.

Not All the Feedback was Negative

Some people on Twitter offered positive words for GA4. But even their hopeful tweets contained negative feedback that noted how the user interface was “overly complicated.”

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New services can sometimes have a rocky launch. No doubt many people are experiencing that with Google Analytics 4.

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Intuitive design has never been one of Google’s strong points and if all the people complaining on Twitter (and Facebook) are to be believed, GA4 may represent a benchmark in how bad a Google product user friendliness can get.

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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