5 Google Analytics features to improve site metrics

Enhanced reporting

There are a ton of great tutorials out there on getting started with Google Analytics and how to set up Google Analytics on your sites — but you might not realize that you won’t get the full benefits of this robust tool simply by adding the script.

We’re going to help you improve the accuracy of your data, and provide you with some additional reports that might surprise you:

  • Excluding Yourself — How many times a day or week is your company visiting your site? Did you know that you can exclude traffic from IP addresses?
  • Internal Search — Did you know that you can see the terms that visitors are using when searching your site? It’s a feature you have to enable, though!
  • Ghost Referrals — Ever notice of bunch of strange, irrelevant sites popping up when reading your analytics referral reports? These sites pass data directly to Google Analytics to add themselves to your analytics reports in the hope that you’ll look them up and do business with them. Yikes!
  • Engaged Visitors — If you can reverse engineer the visitors who convert into customers, you can set up a custom segment to monitor their performance over time.
  • Goals — What do you want visitors to do when they visit your site? Are they doing it? To measure this goal, you have to set it up within Google Analytics.

Exclude your company traffic in Google Analytics

Filters in Google Analytics allow you to exclude traffic. Internal traffic can skew your analytics traffic statistics, especially if you’re a large company.

  1. Sign into your Google Analytics account.
  2. Select the Admin tab and open the Account and Property you’d like to add the filter to.
  3. Click + New Filter, create new filter, name it, and select the predefined option to exclude an IP address.
  4. Look up your public IP address using an external site like What’s My IP and put that IP address in the filter.
  5. Apply the filter to your property and save it. Now Google Analytics will ignore that traffic for any future visitors.

Google Analytics Filter Exclude IP Address

  1. Sign into your Google Analytics account.
  2. Select the Admin tab and open the Account, Property and View you’d like to enable site search on.
  3. Select View Settings and you’ll find Site Search Settings near the bottom of the pane.
  4. Enable the Site Search Tracking option.
  5. For WordPress sites, the query parameter is “s” (don’t put the quotes in the field).
  6. Click Save.

Google Analytics Internal Search

You can now run the Site Search reporting, found in the Behavior section of Google Analytics.

Segment out ghost referrals from Google Analytics

  1. Sign into your Google Analytics Account.
  2. On any Reporting page, you’ll see an option to + Add Segment. Select and click + NEW SEGMENT.
  3. Name your segment and click Conditions.
  4. Set Filter > Sessions > Exclude and Source > matches regex.
  5. Add each of the domains you wish to exclude and separate them with a | symbol.

Google Analytics Referrer Spam Segment Exclude

You can now utilize this segment whenever analyzing any of your reports.

Monitor engaged traffic in Google Analytics

  1. Sign into your Google Analytics account.
  2. On any Reporting page, you’ll see an option to + Add Segment. Select and click + NEW SEGMENT.
  3. Name your segment and click Conditions.
  4. Set Filter > Sessions > Include and Session Duration > 60 OR Unique Screen Views > per session > 1.
  5. Adjust the time or number of screens based on the performance you’re seeing with your engaged visitors.

Google Analytics Segment Engaged Visitors

Monitor goal performance in Google Analytics

Goals for your organization might be subscribers to your newsletter, a downloaded whitepaper, a registration for a webinar, or a purchase from your ecommerce integration.

A goal is what you want your visitor to do to take the next step at becoming a customer.

 

  1. Sign into your Google Analytics account.
  2. Select the Admin tab and open the Account, Property and View you’d like to enable site search on.
  3. Select Goals and click + NEW GOAL.
  4. Complete the Goal setup, Goal description, and Goal details pages to match your goal. In our example, we have a confirmation page set up for a newsletter sign up and are going to specify it.

There you have it! Five enhancements to your Google Analytics implementation that will help you better understand your visitors, clean up your data, and ensure your site is performing for your business.

Image by: trekkyandy via Compfight cc

Douglas Karr
Douglas is a marketing technology expert, working with key industry players, corporations and startups for over a decade. As the CEO of his consultancy, DK New Media, he consults and develops strategies for assisting marketing technology companies gain market share as well as enterprise corporations with vendor selection. He advises investors and venture capital firms. He's also been integrating, developing, and optimizing WordPress since version 1.5 when he founded his Marketing Technology blog.