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Lies, damned lies and Analytics

We’ve all been told that we need to pay attention to visitor analysis on our website, but how much of what we can see reflects reality?  As the bastardised phrase above says ‘lies, damned lies, and statistics’ – statistics need to be interpreted and Google Analytics is no different than any other data set.  It needs to be interpreted by someone who can see the patterns and make suggestions for improvement based on the trends.

Referral spam

I’ve published many new sites and watched, with the business owner, as visitor figures begin to climb.  But often, there is a puzzling trend, lots of website visitors,   few conversions.  The first culprit to look at is yourself.  Make sure your own visits are not being recorded as if you were a visitor.  The second place to look is for rogue referrals, e.g. social media share plug-ins or “free or paid for SEO services”, as visits from their robot crawlers can skew your visitor results by some way.

Filter Google Analytics

Some of these visitors are pretty tricky to get rid of and you might need help from your trusty web developer, but most of them can be blocked using the filtering system in Google Analytics.  Be Warned – you’ll get warnings from Analytics that you could potentially be skewing your statistics!  Unfortunately, you will need to keep an eye on your reports to make sure that new culprits don’t spring up after you have managed to get rid of the existing ones, but then it has always been smart business to keep an eye on your visitor figures and conversion anyway.