Nearly every business owner and executive we meet with is at least somewhat familiar with Google Analytics. The vast majority use it as a free tool to track online visits, traffic sources, and customer behavior on their websites. Many of them never get past the basics, however, and fail to spot important trends or ideas as a consequence.
One way to make the most of Google Analytics is to ensure you’re looking at the right reports and going deep enough with the data you receive. Just as important, however, is setting the correct filter so you don’t mistake the “noise” surrounding your web traffic with real feedback from actual customers. Configuring your filters properly also ensures you are getting the best possible information so you can use it to optimize your search engine optimization, PPC, and inbound marketing campaigns.
Because most businesspeople are more comfortable looking at a high-level view of their web analytics than they are getting into the technical details, we want to assure you that nothing we are going to suggest is that complicated. In fact, you can get much more from your website by putting a few basic filters in place to deal with issues like…
Your Own IP Address(es)
Some business owners and marketers forget to set filters for their own IP addresses, and the IP addresses of their web designers, employees, etc. As a result, they can end up being baffled by strange user behaviors that they inadvertently created themselves. You don’t want to chase your own tail online, so these should be the first filters you put in place.
Upper- and Lowercase Issues
You may not realize this unless you happen to go a bit deeper into your analytics reports, but Google will sometimes treat domains, campaign identifiers, and other key pieces of information differently if they are spelled with uppercase or lowercase letters. That can lead to duplication of data and confusion, so it’s a good idea to set filters that correct for this issue.
In many cases, it can be more helpful to know which websites are sending you web traffic than it is to get a detailed breakdown of which exact page on those websites visitors are coming from. If too much detail is making it hard for you to understand trends in inbound traffic, consider combining your sources to get a better aggregate picture of where your customers are coming to your site from.
You should take a moment to ensure that you have a filter set that separates mobile web traffic from desktop and laptop users. By knowing what sorts of devices your customers are surfing with, you can optimize landing pages, menus, and even static content in a way that ensures it will look its best for most viewers.
If you have automated bots coming to your website, it’s a good idea to set a filter to remove them from your traffic reports. Otherwise, you could confuse them with live visitors and see all kinds of confusing activity on your website.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool for understanding your customers and optimizing your website. If you want to make the most of it, however, you need to ensure you’re getting the right kind of information. That means putting a few basic filters in place.
Give these a try and see what happens when you have cleaner data coming from your website. And if you have trouble implementing any of the steps or understanding the results, call our team today to arrange for a free consultation and see how we can help.