Data Sampling Problems In Annual Reports

Google Analytics uses statistical sampling to improve responsiveness for large queries. There is nothing wrong with statistical sampling — it will usually produce numbers close to the actual, but not always. More

Definitive Guide to Removing All Google Analytics Spam

This is a PROVEN WORKING SOLUTION for how to remove referral spam in your Google Analytics. Bothered by referral spam from auto-seo-service.com, resell-seo-services.com or other domain that redirects to semalt.com? Implement a Valid Hostname filter as described in #2 below. More

Direct ‘Spam’ in Google Analytics

A number of my clients have seen unexplained direct traffic in their Google Analytics accounts. There is no apparent purpose or reason behind this traffic — it just exists; sometimes for a short period of time, and sometimes for months. More

Measuring Time On (Bounce) Page

For people measuring their website traffic with Google Analytics, there is nothing more frustrating than building a really popular web page that gets tons of visits, but GA shows Session Duration close to ZERO! The problem is that Google Analytics doesn’t measure the time on the last page of a visit, so even if they read your article for 5 minutes, if they don’t click on another page, their session is recorded as 0 seconds. Sigh…. More

Misunderstood Metrics: Google Analytics Users

Why do the Users numbers in my report not add up to the total in Google AnalyticsThis Misunderstood Metrics article explores the Users metric in Google Analytics, why the numbers are different, and why both of them are probably wrong. More

Misunderstood Metrics: New vs Returning Visitors

Why do New + Returning Visitors add up to more than the total Users? How can I have more New Users than ‘New Visitor’-type Users? This Misunderstood Metrics article explores the User Type dimension and New Users metric in Google Analytics, and why the numbers can be confusing. More

Misunderstood Metrics: Next Page Path

In Google Analytics, the Previous Page Path shows what page was visited just before the current Page, but Next Page Path seems to be broken or not working. The problem is that it doesn’t hold what the name implies. More

Misunderstood Metrics: Sessions for Pages

Build a custom report to see how many Sessions included your top pages, and the result is confusing! Chances are you will see the number of Sessions drops sharply once you get below your primary landing pages. More

Misunderstood Metrics: Time on Page / Average Session Duration

avg-session-duration-vs-avg-time-on-pageHow can the Average Session Duration be less than the Average Time on Page?  In Google Analytics, seeing the time spent on your website or on individual pages is not as obvious as it first appears. This Misunderstood Metrics article explores the concept of time in Google Analytics…or lost time as the case may be. More

Misunderstood Metrics: Unique Events

Google Analytics has recently changed, introducing a new Unique Events metric calculation. This article has not yet been updated to reflect that change — Mike Sullivan.

As a follow-up to my previous post on Google Analytics events, this article will look at the unique problem of “Unique Events“…the metric that defies understanding by many. More

The Hidden Value of Nofollow Blog Comments

When I was working on a new Excel report for my Google Webmaster Tools connector, I started seeing traffic from a specific query phrase that didn’t make sense, so I dug a little deeper, and what I found made me question the very foundation of conventional SEO wisdom and the meaning behind Google Webmaster Tools data. More

Why You Should Not Use the Referral Exclusion List for Spam

While all of us fight to get Google Analytics referral spam under control, one piece of well-intentioned, but bad advice comes up over and over again: use the Referral Exclusion List. Some people (myself included) have stated that is a bad idea, but no one has taken the time to really explain why. Here is the Why… More