The Google Analytics is one of the most well-liked and popular platforms for monitoring site performance. It can provide the user tons of valuable insight and is considered by many SEOs and site owners to be an essential tool.
But it isn’t every time a good idea to use Google analytics for site monitoring. In fact, most site owners will run into an inconsistency at some point or another.
There are a few reasons for that.
These reasons fall into two categories:
- Issues that you can fix and are fixable
- Issues that you can’t fix and are not fixable
Some of the main issues causing strange problems with your site are unavoidable and are not fixable because you have no control over them and these issues fall into second categories.
Many reasons show that removing Google analytics is not a bad idea
Google analytics slows down the page load
The page speed decreases whenever the browser has to link to a server and back. No matter how fast the server is, the page is waiting because a pipeline is being used. Milliseconds, full seconds, a minute, it still has to wait to reach out, connect, download and process the files that make the website display, or in this case trackable.
The analytics file is listed in page speed as a 135B download for a 36.49KB file and is only cached by your browser for 12 hours before downloading a new one. I know, 135 bytes, but for those that place the Google Analytic code before their body tag they still have to wait for that process to complete.
Add that to all the slow loading social sharing buttons, Ad Sense ads, externally sourced query, and you could have one slow site.
The problem of being tracked
A growing number of users are nervous and afraid of being tracked. With news reports of Facebook and Google tracking your every move, and advertisers being able to follow you to your mobile devices from desktop usage, users are pushing back by blocking ads, trackers and even GA.
At the time of writing, AdBlock Plus is the number one downloaded and installed Firefox add-on placing a badge or notice on your site announcing that you do not track users’ every move can attract users to come back and read and shop with you. Google analytics site manager copies all your information and tracks your location.
Improper goal setup
Google analytics help you determine how often users are taking important actions on your site, like making purchases and filling out contact forms. They also tell you where those users are coming from, and which content on your site they interact with before taking action.
This information gives you a better idea of the performance of your site, as well as information into how you can get even more of your visitors to convert. Consequently, it is essential that your Analytics account accurately tracks every conversion on your site. So if you notice any issues with your goal tracking, this is something you should communicate immediately.
In most cases, it is easy to determine when your goal reporting isn’t properly functioning because your Analytics account isn’t the only place you can seethe conversion-related information.
If you notice an unexpected jump in the referral traffic, then this can be a great sign. But before you get carried away, you should make sure that it’s coming from legitimate websites. In many cases, sudden spikes are an indicator of referral spam which is not valuable and can cause inaccuracy to your reporting data.
If you know what referral spam is, it’s essentially fake traffic from bots and crawlers from spam sites. This means that these page views aren’t from real visitors.
As a result, referral spam can lead to artificially inflated pageviews and useless referral data. You can check if this is the issue with your website by opening your referral report and checking to see if any strange domains are sending your site traffic.
Bounce rate and percentage exit
Google also tracks Bounce Rate and percentage Exit via people hitting the back button to return to Google if they don’t like a site, so that covers all organic traffic from Google, via virtually anyone using the Chrome browser or a Chrome book and likely Android devices, regardless of browser, and of course, Analytics installed on other people’s sites which probably covers most if not all of your referral traffic.
In addition to that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google had access to or at least purchased Bounce Rate information from social networks such as Facebook, which covers your social referral traffic.
Google Analytics doesn’t reprocess information
Let’s say you have been analyzing data using Google Analytics for over two years. Then, you decide to gain more information into how users are converting by setting up a funnel for one of your most important conversion goals. You’ll be able to initiate data collection on how users travel through that funnel.
But GA will not retroactively apply your funnel to the data it has already collected for you. Your goal funnel will be evident from the time you set it up forward, but no data will be available before that time. To be fair, that would be a lot to ask for a free service that processes the massive amount of data that Analytics processes every day.
So after adding a new filter, don’t expect that every bit of your data will automatically reflect that change, and give a more accurate picture of your site’s performance. You can add a filter to view your historical data the way you want, as I described in the section above about dark traffic. But make sure to take this step otherwise, you’ll be working with data that doesn’t reflect your new filter changes.
Even with slight discrepancies, Google Analytics is still a value-adding tool for any site owner. But the more aware you are of these inaccuracies, the more accurate decisions you can make to improve your site. There are some basic Google Analytics add-ons that every small business must try.