Web analytics can be useful for monitoring your website traffic and forming new digital marketing strategies. However, you do need to be careful when interpreting this data as not all of it may be accurate or useful. Below are just some of the ways in which web analytics can be skewed, resulting in misleading stats, and what you can do to overcome this.
It’s important that all websites on your pages contain tracking code. Without this code, you cannot record analytical data. This could result in pages being unmonitored, preventing you from knowing how much traffic they’re getting or how visitors are interacting with these pages.
Pages are more likely to go untracked on large websites that have lots of pages. To find untracked pages you can use tools like Google Tag Manager.
Bots are software applications that pose as human web users. Pageviews from bots are often recorded as regular page views, which can give you a false account of how many human visitors are actually visiting your site.
Some bots will not just skew your analytics but could cause harm by scraping your site or even attempting to hack into accounts. It’s a good idea to look into bot protection to mitigate harmful bot attacks.
Do your staff regularly use your website? If so, is there activity being recorded as regular traffic? A page that’s getting lots of views may just be getting lots of views from your staff.
Fortunately, there are ways to exclude internal traffic. If employees work from home, you can also exclude individual IP addresses. This will give you a more accurate idea of how many non-staff members are visiting your site.
If you’re outsourcing people to develop your website, write content or increase your rankings, you should also consider whether traffic from these sources is being included in your analytics.
By looking at your analytics, you should be able to easily distinguish which sources your traffic is coming from. If you’re getting lots of traffic from a marketing company website, you may be able to easily exclude this from your analytics.
It’s worth considering the fact that some users may opt-out of giving you their data. These are sometimes referred to as DNT or Do Not Track users.
It’s important that you respect these users by not tracking their data. Most analytics platforms allow you to do this nowadays. Roughly 23% of internet users use Do Not Track. For this reason, web analytics can never be viewed as a representation of all traffic.