Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful…. Wait – how boring is that intro?
If you are reading this post, you already know what Google Analytics is, and what it does.
BUT (that’s a “BIG but”)……. I’ll bet you don’t know that your Google Analytics data is probably worthless.
In this post I’m going to reveal:
- The single biggest mistake that most small business owners, web development companies, and internet marketing companies make when setting up Google Analytics.
- I’m also going to tell you why the information you see in your analytics dashboard is useless.
- Most importantly – I’m going to show you how you can very easily make your Google Analytics data useful again.
Bots. Also known as spiders, crawlers, web crawlers, spam bots etc.
These bots infest your Google Analytics data with fake visits. These fake visits screw up your data.
If you do nothing, they will return to your website month after month, week after week, and sometimes day after day.
The problem with bots is that they show up in your data as a visitor. If you are like most people you probably just give your analytics data a quick glance to see that you are still getting visitors to your website.
You might look at things like Sessions, Users, Pages per session, Avg Session Duration and Bounce Rate.
If that’s all you do, this info is telling you nothing valuable. Why? Because of the percentage of those visits that were not from a human!
How to get rid of bots in your Google Analytics data.
Getting rid of these pesky bots is not all that difficult.
Here are the step by step instructions (very important you read to the bottom)
- Log into Google Analytics
- Go to the “Admin” area (top of the page, theirs is an admin tab)
- Under “View” (far right column) click on “View Settings”
- Towards the bottom check the box that says “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders”
- Click Save
- Now click “Filters”
- Click “+ add filter”
- Give your filter a name. I always use “Include Hostname”
- In the drop down labeled “Filter Type” choose “Include Only”
- In the drop down labeled “Select source or destination” choose “Traffic to Hostname”
- In the drop down labeled “Select Expression” choose “that contain”
- Now in the box that is labeled “Hostname” – type in the your domain name. You don’t need the “http://” or the “.com”… just the name. So in my case – my website is http://proadinsight.com – I would just type in “proadinsight”
- Now select “verify this filter” to see the results of using the filter.
- After verifying that the filter did not screen out any visits you actually want counted, click on “save” and you are all set!
ONE MORE VERY IMPORTANT STEP!
Setup a new view in Google Analytics.
- Under “View” click on “Create a new view”
- Name it “Unfiltered” so that you will know this is the unfiltered view of your website.
- Click Save.
This last step is crucial because it will essentially act as a backup in case your filter accidentally filters out valid traffic.
In most cases – this will be all you need to eliminate bots from your Google Analytics.
How many bots were you able to filter out using this technique? I’d love to hear how this technique changed the way you looked at your Google Analytics data. Let me know in the comments section below!