Articles: Google Analytics etc

Google Analytics spam

Spam and ghost referrers appearing in Google Analytics has been a major issue for some time. Your stats will be biased to some degree if there are lots of spam referrers.

If you want to know more about this and how complex it is to resolve, have a look at the article at http://help.analyticsedge.com/spam-filter/definitive-guide-to-removing-google-analytics-spam/

The first part of the article tells you about the issue in reasonably readable terms Continue reading

Google Analytics tracking of TripAdvisor referrals

Earlier this year, TripAdvisor changed their site to a secure one (using https:, not http:) This means that Google Analytics can no longer track referrals from TripAdvisor without some “tweaking”.

If you have noticed a drop in your TripAdvisor referrals in Anlaytics, this is probably why.

There is a work around for people with paid TripAdvisor business listings (eg accommodation sites) but not for other listings at this stage (like activities or free accommodation listings).

The work-around involves changing your website link to a custom Google tracking url.

Information on this change is at https://www.tripadvisor.com/TripAdvisorInsights/n2692/faq-recent-changes-tripadvisor-site-security

We can assist you to do this if need be.

Spam in Google Analytics

We have written about this before, but here is an update

Many of you will be noticing a large number of spam / ghost sites in your Google Analytics, Referring sites data. For some sites these have accounted for a very significant amount of their traffic. That biases the “real traffic” figures and reduces the usefulness of Analytics reporting.

To view this, login to your Google Analytics account.

Go down to Acquisition / All Traffic / Referrals

Some of the spam sites you may see are those like top1-seo-service.com, googlesucks, how.to.travel.and.make.money.with.maps.ilikevitaly.com, free-share-buttons.com, www1.social-buttons.com, 5542.copyright, pornhub, and many more…

Do not click on the links to these sites!

Until now the methods used to try to exclude these spam sites have been moderately effective.

We continue to try to eliminate these from the stats data for our clients. But is becoming more challenging as the ghost sites regularly change their names and identity.

Google does not appear to have an answer to this issue. I am sure they must be working on it but there is certainly no “official word” from them about a solution. They have been noticeably quiet on this matter, I suspect because they don’t know what to do about it and it’s a major challenge for them.

We live in hope that they will achieve a solution before Analytics reporting becomes totally useless. This is essentially about sites hacking and modifying Google systems. So we expect to see a resurgence of people using other stats reporting packages which are unaffected by this issue.

It is mostly a bigger issue for a small site than a large one as it means a proportionally bigger bias. Having said that, I have seen spam referrals of 600 – 1000 sessions plus in a month on some sites. That is very significant even for a site with a large amount of traffic.

So the “take out” from this is, don’t blindly believe your Analytics stats without looking at them in some more depth and seeing what your “real traffic” is.

Our previous article on this is at http://www.netaction.co.nz/google-analytics-re-robots-ghost-referrers/

What does Net Action do?

We are often asked to explain what we do that is different to others.

Net Action Ltd, which runs greatnewzealand.co.nz, primarily ensures that your site and business have the best Internet presence that they can. Increased sales to you is the end goal from this.

Search Engine Optimisation is at the core of our work but just looking back at the last week, here are some of the many things that we have dealt with for clients.
Continue reading

Google Analytics and Robots

We have reported in the past about visits from some robots recording in your Analytics statistics reports and biasing your sessions and referrals data.

We are seeing more and more of these escaping Google’s methods to try to exclude them. For one client these amounted to 30% of their traffic!

If you are seeing lots of sessions from Brazil it is probably visits from semalt.com and not real visitors
Continue reading

Google Analytics Benchmarking

Clients have often asked us if there is a way to compare their site performance against others in the same industry.

Well, since May 2014, Google Analytics has had a benchmarking report that we have been testing for several clients.

Unfortunately it seems that this is way too broad to be of much use – it is only NZ wide and only breaks down to quite broad categories like “Hotels and Accommodations” or Car Rental & Taxi Services” .

So it seems to be too general really to see anything very useful.

Hopefully Google will get much more specific in the future and it will be something that is more meaningful as a benchmarking tool.

Google Analytics – Robots

It seems that Google is still having problems excluding Robots from their Analytics statistics. Robots are automated “crawlers” that are indexing websites, usually for search engines – they are not real live users so can bias your site usage statistics.

Previously Semalt.com was the main robot Google was trying to exclude. We monitor our clients’ Analytics stats regularly and have also identified unwanted visits from 7makemoney.com and buttons-for-website.com. Urlopener is another that is appearing (this is not really a robot but it is not wanted in stats data).

For one client, visits from these robots has amounted to almost 1/3 of their recorded traffic in a period, while for some other clients it is minimal. It can vary from month to month.

We are adding manual filters for these for clients in order to keep their statistics as accurate and meaningful as possible. But there is a limit to how many filters are worth adding or are reasonable to do.

Google needs to find a way to resolve this before their statistics become really meaningless. In the meantime we can help you to exclude these robots if you wish.