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Common Google Analytics mistakes to avoid

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Simple analytics mistakes can interfere with your SEO reporting. Learn how to avoid the most common Google Analytics mistakes here.

Even then it’s difficult to identify. That’s why we need to use a Google Chrome extension to find it.

Use the Google Chrome extension called Google Tag Assistant to make sure you’re not using any duplicate tracking codes.

This will show up as a red tag within the extension when you have more than one instance of the same tracking code installed.

8. Ignoring Signs of Scraping

Scraping is one possible reason for inflated data in your GA account. If your site has been scraped and the Google Analytics tracking code left intact, you may be seeing the duplicate site’s traffic in your GA.

If you notice a lot of traffic in Google Analytics data from one of these sites, investigate and inspect these domains for scraped content.

This should jump out at you right off the bat. If you see a significant quantity of your own content showing up, you may want to double-check and ensure that your own tracking code was not also transferred over to the new site.

Mistake #9: Not Switching http:// to https:// in Your GA Admin Panel

If you perform a website migration, you will need to ensure that your admin panel is also switched from http:// to https://.

This is important to get right if you want to ensure the accurate tracking of your traffic data.

If you don’t, you could potentially neglect to include all of your reporting data in your Google Analytics tracking.

Mistake #10: Ignoring Spam/Bot Traffic

Spam and bot traffic is also something you don’t want to ignore. If you ignore the potential impacts of spam and bot traffic, you could be negatively influencing the accuracy of your Google Analytics tracking.

When it comes to spam and bot traffic, this can lead to over-inflation of traffic performance, and thus inaccuracies in your data reporting.

This happens because spam and bot traffic are not considered to be the most accurate sources of traffic.

If you think your search traffic is actually increasing, but your decision is based on spam and bot traffic, you could be in for a world of disappointment in that decision.

This is why it’s so important to ensure that any SEO strategy decisions are all based on real users and traffic, rather than spam or bots.

Mistake #11: Not Assessing Sampled Traffic vs. Unsampled Traffic

If your Google Analytics account is relying on sampled traffic, this could be an error in your data tracking decision-making.

What is sampled traffic?

Google Analytics can run in two different modes: unsampled and sampled. Unsampled means that Google Analytics is tracking all possible traffic from Google, and they are not using sampled data processing.

According to Google Analytics support, they have the following sampling thresholds:

Default reports are not subject to sampling.
Ad-hoc queries of your data are subject to the following general thresholds for sampling:

  • Analytics Standard: 500k sessions at the property level for the date range you are using
  • Analytics 360: 100M sessions at the view level for the date range you are using

When you create a default report in Google Analytics, however, this data is not subject to the sampling listed above.

Make sure that you are not relying on sampled data when you’re reporting. And, if you are relying on this data, you understand what the implications of this sampled data actually are.

Mistake #12: Ignoring the Hostname in URLs

By default, Google Analytics does not include the hostname in the URL. This can be a challenge when working with multiple subdomains because you cannot be entirely sure where traffic is coming from.

Always make sure that you know 100% where the traffic is coming from.

At least you will know 100% at all times what’s going on with the hostname in your URLs.

Mistake #13: Not Analyzing the Right Profiles

When you first set up Google Analytics, you have one profile you can use. Over time, however, you can use more than one profile depending on the purpose of said profiles.

Say you want to have one default profile for basic analytics. Then, a bit later, you decide you want to create two or three profiles to measure certain things.

Perhaps something happened during a site migration that caused you to doubt your data’s integrity. Or, you just want to start anew.

Both are possible with the advent of multiple Google Analytics profiles.

But be careful! Don’t just assume you have the right profile.

If you don’t know what profile you are using, make sure you ask your webmaster/developer. This will help you assess whether or not the GA profile you’re using is the correct one.

You don’t want to be in a situation where you find out three months into the project that you have not been reporting data from the correct Google Analytics profile.

Mistake #14: Ignoring URL Rewriting & Excessive Parameters

Ignoring URL rewriting can result in unintended consequences.

For example, say that your data includes many parameters all coming from different URLs on your site. They could be reporting inaccurate traffic data because there are multiple URLs per page based on the excessive query parameters.

When this occurs and you ignore it, you run the risk of reporting on inaccurate data.

Always do a mini-audit of your URL parameters in Google Analytics when reporting to ensure that you haven’t had anything strange occur over the last month or two that affects the integrity of your data.

Mistake #15: Not Tracking All Subdomains in Your Property Profiles

This is a highly “it depends” scenario because it depends on what you’re tracking when it comes to your Google Analytics data.

If you’re tracking many different subdomains, you may be in for a world of surprises in Google Analytics if you don’t track them within Google Analytics.

This builds on the hostname issue we discussed earlier. If you don’t know these subdomains are sending traffic to your properties, how will you accurately track this data? It’s almost impossible.

This is why you must make sure that you’re tracking all properties sending traffic within your Google Analytics profiles.

Always Follow Your ABTs

This means: always be tracking! And the rule discussed here is why many mistakes are seemingly overlooked or ignored.

While most SEO professionals are obsessed with their data tracking, some are not obsessed enough. When you’re not obsessed enough to care about little things like the mistakes discussed above, you may be relying on erroneous data tracking.

This is why data accuracy is an important part of any Google Analytics reporting. Seemingly innocuous moves can actually have a significant impact on your data monitoring.

By following your ABTs, you may have a greater chance of success and can avoid many of these amateur mistakes.

When in doubt, double and triple-check your Google Analytics set up. In the end, your clients will thank you.

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