Top 5 Google Analytics Tips For More Accurate Data

17 April 2015

With any business the more you know about your customers, the better you can adapt to fulfilling their needs. According to a recent survey carried out in 2014, there are over  57 million internet users in the UK and almost 90% of people have access to the internet. That’s why it’s safe to say that one of the best places to understand your customer is by understanding how they interact with your website.

If you’re reading this article it’s probably quite likely that you’ve set up Google Analytics on your website to track visitors. If you’ve done this I guess you’ve got at least a basic understanding of how to get around Google Analytics and you can quite easily find out how many visitors you have had to the website over a certain period of time. (If you’re unsure get in touch with a member of our team today). But do you know how accurate the data is that you are analysing?

We are going to take a look at 5 key elements which will help to improve the accuracy of your data and help you to get a true understanding of visitor interaction on your website.

1. Exclude Employee IP Adresses

How often do you or one of your employees visit your website? If you’ve not excluded your IP in Google Analytics you might see a higher number of visitors than is typically average. Also if you or an employee are only looking at one page and then exiting your website from there, it’s likely you’ll see a higher bounce rate (number of single page visits to your website). By excluding your IP address from your analytics you will be able to see the true visitor behaviour on your website and this could make a significant difference.

If you do apply an IP filter to your Google Analytics make sure you do this by creating a new view. You could call this new view something like “Exclude Company IP Address”. This will ensure that your primary view stays unmodified so that you can always fall back on this at a later date if any problems arise.

ip filtering google analytics

2. Disable Robots

Have you ever looked in the Acquisition Tab and selected referral sources only to see semalt or pagereboot? The are robots that have been set to crawl your website automatically. These visits can be quite harmful to your overall statistics and may distort your visitor traffic significantly.

semalt referral traffic

You can exclude robots easily from a view by going to your view settings and ticking the box which says “exclude all hits from known bots and spiders”. Again it is probably advised that you apply this in a separate view to your all traffic data just like when you are filtering IP addresses. You could create a separate view which filters your IP address and disables robots from crawling your website.

view setting google analytics

3. Enable Site Search

If your website has a built in search functionality, it can be important to find out what are the most common keyword phrases are being used by your visitors. To enable the site search functionality you will need to go to your view settings and turn the site search button tracking on. You will also need to setup your query parameter. This is what will be pulled from the URL and integrated into your Google Analytics data. If you are unsure it’s probably best to ask your web developer to set this up.

Once this has been completed you can access your search data in the Reporting tab of Google Analytics and selecting Behaviour then Site Search and then the options you want to look at.

google analytics property settings

4. Use Annotations Within Google Analytics

Annotations in Google Analytics are a great way to document changes you have made to your website. For example If you’ve recently had a website redesign, it’s a good idea to annotate this so you can make a note of when the changes you made. So if you want to compare the website’s performance since relaunch it will make it easier to compare.

To create a new annotation make sure you are in the Reporting section within Google Analytics, select Audience and then Overview from the drop down. You will see a small grey arrow at the bottom of your visitor chart. If you click on this you will see a dropdown and to the right hand side of the grey tab you will see +Create new annotation. If you select this it will give you an option to select a date and add an annotation. You can add as many annotations as you want it might make the data easier for you to understand.

google analytics add an annotation

5. Create a Separate View For Country Specific Data Only

This can be a great option for businesses that only operate within one country such as the UK. If this is the case again it’s advised that you set up a separate view. Within this you need to access the Admin Section of Google Analytics and Under the Filters section. Once in the filters you need to select + New Filter Setup a filter name – this could be something like “United Kingdom Only”. 

Next You need to choose the custom filter type radio button and make sure you select include. In the filter filed section you need to select country and then in the Filter Pattern you need to type in your desired country.

If you want to exclude a country you can do so by following the same process but selecting the exclude radio button.

applying a filter within google analyticsbottom half of google analytics filter

And Finally…

If you need any help with your analytics or you would like to find out more about how to understand your website’s performance, give us a call today.