Co-occurrence ? – or something else – A Google Analytics Case Study

google analytics a case study

These days, you need to have your eyes glued open with the amount of SEO content swishing around the internet. It is seems highly likely that by blinking, you might actually miss critical ‘need to know’ information. Each week, there are a plethora of ‘must reads’ – and sometime back in November (in case you missed it), ‘the must reads’ included these three posts.

  1. Rand’s post regarding anchor text is weaking post
  2. Bill Slawski’s rebutal on Co-Citation Observations
  3. Joshua Giardino –  It’s Not Co-Citation but it’s still awesome!


I have to cast my mind quite far back to remember another time when one topic created so much discussion within the SEO community. It had most of SEO’s pundits coming out of the wood work to give their thoughts and opinions. However, it also had me reflecting on something I’ve been seeing for a while, but have never bothered to figure out why it was happening.

The question that literally had me up all night was:

Why does Google analytics rank at position #2 (at time of writing) for the term ‘ga’ in the UK?

URL of search:

There was no logical reason why it should be doing so well, especially for such a generic term. Or was there?

To figure out why this might be happening, I started first with the basics.

Title tags

If visit   the title tag is displayed as

<strong><em>Google Analytics Official Website – Web Analytics & Reporting – Google Analytics.</em></strong>   Clearly, ‘ga’ does not appear in the title tags

Page Content

Nowhere on the landing page is Google Analytics referred to as ‘ga’.

Incoming Links

Perhaps there are a number of incoming links pointing to that have ‘ga’ as the anchor text. To check this, I fired up all three link analysis tools below.

Tool Anchor How many sites found Linking (at time of writing)
OSE ga 0
Aherfs ga 1
Majestic SEO ga 0

From the three tools I used, only found a website that linked to   with the term ‘ga’. However, one link shouldn’t be enough to make Google Analytics rank for a generic term like ‘ga’.

Could Google be simply using search data to make the connection?

So I decided to look at places where related terms can be found on Google

  1. Google related search
  2. Google insights
  3. Using the tilde operator
  4. Google AdWords tool
  5. Google suggest

1. Related Search

From the serp results, either or , are modifying their search queries around the term ‘ga’ and Google Analytics.

2. Google Insights

also do not show a relation between ‘ga’ and Google analytics. This holds true even if you enter ‘Google Analytics’ in the search bar.

3. The Tilde Operator

Interestingly, Google does show that are used interchangeably.

4. Google Keyword Tool

Searching for keywords or phrases related to ‘ga’ on revealed that both terms do not show as related to each other. I also could not find any association after examining every result individually.

Term Top 10 Related terms
savannah ga
british ga
time in ga
ga state
ga map
augusta ga
decatur ga
big fish ga
Goolge Anaytics
google web analytics
wordpress google analytics
what is google analytics
google analytics login
google analytics wordpress
google analytics for wordpress
joomla google analytics
google analytics tracking code
google analytics code
google analytical

5. Looking at data from Ubbersuggest’s Google Suggestion tool 

The term ‘ga’ and google anayaltics does not seem to appear as part of the same search term.

Could there be a co-occurence of GA and Google Analytics within documents ?

To find out, I looked for pages where Google Analytics is mentioned and the word ‘ga‘ also occurs. Some simple operators that let me test this are listed below


What I’ve found is that if you plug them into Google, you can see that there are many cases where  ga or GA and Google Analytics are used interchangeably or mentioned together.

Could this be the cause of the ‘anomaly’ ?

Takeaways and summary

If you cannot get a link within a document, is it ok not too worry that  much about it as Google can connect two words if they occur together enough times across the web?  For example, if your brand receives a lot of online press, just incase,  you should also try to ensure your target terms are always mentioned.

Secondly if this is the case, we might need to redefine how a competitor analysis is conducted. If Google is looking at co-occurrences, it is possible that this is already factored into your competitors ranking. By only analysing links for ranking insight, we could be overlooking how terms co-occur on non-linking documents.

Co occurrence ? or something else A Google Analytics Case Study