3 Ways to Ensure Realistic Numbers in your Google Analytics Reports

Over the last couple of years, the Analytics industry evolved into a hot spot on the web. After the launch of Google Analytics, the analytics industry exploded amongst world wide web masters. At present, Analytics holds a vital role in inter-department communications and decision makings for all web dependent issues. Individuals as well as corporate giants now have in-house or offshore teams for analyzing their website stats.

You should be using analytics tools to study your visitors and refine your website performance. Let me ask, are you sure you are looking into the right numbers?

There are several analytics tools available, following different technologies and terminologies. We have already learned the difference between Page tagging and Log file analysis. As Google Analytics is free and popular very much, we will see the options specific to that tool. There are several filtering options exist in Google Analytics to make your reports more accurate.

In this post we will see three important filters which otherwise create very unrealistic numbers in your reports.

  1. Exclude Own IP Addresses in Google Analytics
  2. Exclude Mixed Case URL Requests
  3. Filtering Unwanted Query Strings and Session IDs

1. Exclude Own IP Addresses in Google Analytics:

Here is one common mistake everyone does. It’s obvious that you do visit your websites very often, multiple times a day. You access the website from home, at work and other places but never bothered to consider that fact while analyzing your visitor stats. If you are not excluding your and your colleagues visits from your reports, you might be staring at very incorrect numbers.

Identify your IPs: There are several ways to identify your own IP address. One simple way is just to open http://whatismyip.com/. That will display your current IP. Create a list of similar IPs from where all you or your group access the website.

To exclude own IP address in Google analytics:

  1. Click Filter Manager from the Analytics Settings page
  2. Enter a Filter Name for this filter
  3. From the Filter Type drop-down list, select Exclude all traffic from an IP address
  4. The IP address field will auto-populate with an example IP address. Enter the correct value. Remember to use regular expressions when entering any IP address. For example, if the IP address to filter is:

You may want to exclude a range of IPs in certain cases. If you are facing any difficulties using regular expressions to exclude an IP range, don’t worry. Google Support has a tool to help you out defining your IP filters.

2. Exclude Mixed Case URL Requests in Google Analytics

If you are using IIS server, remember it is not a case sensitive system. That means, for www.example.com/test.asp and www.example.com/Test.asp it will return you the same page. In fact, Google Analytics is case sensitive and you will get different numbers for each of these requests. That makes your data incorrect.

The solution is to force the URLs case either to lower or upper. Add a new filter to your profile with the following values:

  1. Filter Name: Force URL case to lower
  2. Filter Type: Custom filter (select "Lowercase")
  3. Filter Field: Request URI

You can use this filter not only to URL requests but also to any element such as Campaign Names, Campaign Term, Campaign Medium, Campaign Source where the case does matter.

3. Filtering Unwanted Query Strings and Session IDs:

If you are using any session ids or any query parameters which you don’t want to track, you should exclude them from your reports. There may be important campaigns for which you are using tracking codes, make sure you exclude only irrelevant ones.

How to trace such unwanted query string requests? Follow the steps given below:

  1. Take last two weeks – for a lower traffic extend that range – Top Content report from Google Analytics.
  2. Track any query string parameter that does not provide insight into relevant user engagement should be filtered.

To exclude query parameters or session ids from the reports:

  1. Choose the edit option for the desired profile.
  2. In the Profile Settings page click Edit from the Main Website Profile Information table.
  3. In the Exclude URL Query Parameters field, enter the parameters to remove from your reports (ex: sid, sessionid, vid). Separate each parameter with a comma.

You can also use the advanced filter option to restrict the exclusion under certain scenarions.

A Word from the Author:

You have now ensured much more realistic numbers in your reports.

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