6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters by Jason Cartwright

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This whitepaper covers a few tips and tricks regarding the use of filters that will help you get more from Google Analytics and aid you in making more informed decisions about your site and its content. 1.Setting your URLs to Lowercase -If the URLs for your website allow upper and lowercase characters, Google will report on each version of a URL separately. Imagine the pain if you had 100s, 1000s or more pages on your website with multiple line entries for the same URL in your reports. This filter will save time by ensuring all the multiple line entries of a single URL are treated as the same page. 2. Excluding your own traffic from reports - Chances are that your own visits to your own web site are not going to be a large percentage of the total visits and page views. Nonetheless, you can still permanently remove your own traffic and that of the agencies you might be working with from appearing in your Google Analytics statistics1. 3. Showing the domain / hostname - If you want to see the domain / hostname appended to page names within your reports, this filter will include it for you. If you are using Google Analytics across multiple domains, this can also help to identify which domains the Account ID is running on. 4. Filtering directories and sub-directories - This filter is useful to either report on stats for a specific directory e.g. /blog/ or exclude a directory from the report. There are many scenarios where this can be beneficial, particularly if you want to separate out e.g. blog or newsfeed traffic from the rest of the traffic to your site. 5. Separating mobile and non-mobile traffic - Mobile traffic is on the increase and mobile users will interact with your site differently to desktop users. This filter separates out the audiences so you can make more informed decisions towards each. 6. Making sense of the search keyword (Not Provided) - If you've looked at the organic search phrase report, the chances are that one of the top keywords appearing reads as (not provided). This filter breaks down the (not provided) keyword by including the stats for the associated landing pages. This will give you an idea of what keywords are likely being classified under (not provided). 7. BONUS - See search rankings for keywords in Google - Have you ever wanted to see what the ranking of a keyword was in Google and how much traffic it drives in that position? Using this bonus filter you can.

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  • 1. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters Author: Jason Cartwright, Head of Digital Marketing Published: July 2012
  • 2. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters Google Analytics is a powerful tool for marketers and webmasters but unless you are a bit of whizz, you might find it difficult to drill down and find relevant information. This whitepaper covers a few tips and tricks regarding the use of filters that will help you get more from Google Analytics and aid you in making more informed decisions about your site and its content. The key benefit to any organisation is that Google Analytics filters provide a flexible way of defining what data is included or excluded in a report and how it appears, allowing you to manage and segment the incoming data for increased insight. This whitepaper contains 6 key filters that an organisation should consider implementing: Setting your URLs to Lowercase If the URLs for your website allow upper and lowercase characters, Google will report on each version of a URL separately. Imagine the pain if you had 100s, 1000s or more pages on your website with multiple line entries for the same URL in your reports. This filter will save time by ensuring all the multiple line entries of a single URL are treated as the same page. Excluding your own traffic from reports Chances are that your own visits to your own web site are not going to be a large percentage of the total visits and page views. Nonetheless, you can still permanently remove your own traffic and that of the agencies you might be working with from appearing in your Google Analytics statistics www.netcel.com 2
  • 3. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters Showing the domain / hostname If you want to see the domain / hostname appended to page names within your reports, this filter will include it for you. If you are using Google Analytics across multiple domains, this can also help to identify which domains the Account ID is running on. Filtering directories and sub-directories This filter is useful to either report on stats for a specific directory e.g. /blog/ or exclude a directory from the report. There are many scenarios where this can be beneficial, particularly if you want to separate out e.g. blog or newsfeed traffic from the rest of the traffic to your site. Separating mobile and non-mobile traffic Mobile traffic is on the increase and mobile users will interact with your site differently to desktop users. This filter separates out the audiences so you can make more informed decisions towards each. Making sense of the search keyword (Not Provided) If youve looked at the organic search phrase report, the chances are that one of the top keywords appearing reads as (not provided). This filter breaks down the (not provided) keyword by including the stats for the associated landing pages. This will give you an idea of what keywords are likely being classified under (not provided). BONUS - See search rankings for keywords in Google Have you ever wanted to see what the ranking of a keyword was in Google and how much traffic it drives in that position? Using this bonus filter you can. www.netcel.com 3
  • 4. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters Before you start Warning: Filters are applied to the information coming into your account, to manipulate the final data in order to provide specialized reports (as each filter alters the original data). Because of this, Netcel always advises that you have a Master Profile that has no filters applied to it so the raw data is always available and a test profile for experimenting with before applying to the actual profile you want to use. To set up filters within Google Analytics, firstly you will need Administrator access to the account. Once you have this, go to the Admin section and select the Filters tab. From here you can create a new filter, see existing filters and assign a filter order to a particular Google Analytics Profile: www.netcel.com 4
  • 5. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters 1. Setting your URLs to Lowercase If your website allows URLs to appear in the address bar using a combination of upper and lowercase characters then Google Analytics will report each URL version as a unique entry. There is value in seeing this information; however there are many instances where it is useful to merge this data together into a single entry relating to the page. In order to do this, you need to create a Lowercase filter. Filter Purpose: To ensure URLs and pages that can be visited / accessed using both uppercase and lowercase characters are reported as the same page. For example: www.domain.com/Partners/ www.domain.com/partners/ The following shows the settings to enter to create the filter. www.netcel.com 5
  • 6. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters 2. Excluding your own traffic from reports IP Filtering After installing Google Analytics, many people forget to block out their own visitor traffic and those of other agencies they might work with. If this isnt done, it could potentially skew the results with your or their actions on the site. To filter out either your company or another company, you will need to find out the IP address. You can check with our IT team what your specific IP number(s) your organisation might be using, however if you are based in one location, you can visit http://www.whatismyip.com and find out. Once you have an IP Address, go to the Filters tab and use the settings below to enter it. In the following example I used 74.125.19.103. If you need to exclude a range of IP addresses, you can use Googles IP Address Range Tool to enter the first and last IP address in the range, and it will generate the expression you will need to use in your exclusion filter. www.netcel.com 6
  • 7. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters You can learn more about excluding internal traffic filters by IP in Google Analytics Help. 3. Showing the domain / hostname There are instances when you use the same Google Analytics account profile across multiple domains and sub-domains. In these instances, it can be beneficial to be able to see the hostname to distinguish between sites within your reports. By default, Google doesnt show this information and as a result your content page reports will only show the folders / page names after the domain name: www.netcel.com 7
  • 8. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters Applying the following filter will include the hostname into the reports. NB: Please note that filters cannot be applied to historical / pre-existing data. Consequently, the full URL will only be shown from the point in time that the filter is applied. After applying this filter, your content reports will show the full URL of the page: www.netcel.com 8
  • 9. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters 4. Filtering directories and sub-directories Creating additional profiles with filtered sub-directories allows you to isolate and understand what is occurring within key areas of your site. A few uses where this could help include: Country Specific folders For example, if you have an international site where all of a countries content resides in a specific sub folder e.g. /de-de/ for a German site. Blogs and News If your main site also hosts a blog or News section that updates frequently, you might find your stats for these sections are drowning out the results for other parts of your site e.g. service and product areas. Campaign Microsites If youve setup an event or campaign microsite that is hosted on the same domain as your main site, you can create a filter to report only on traffic for it. There are several options available for filtering a sub-directory however the following shows an example configuration: In this instance, when the filter is applied, the stats will only relate to pages where the URL begins with /folder-name/ e.g. http://www. domain.com/folder-name/ www.netcel.com 9
  • 10. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters 5. Separating mobile and non-mobile traffic Mobile and non-mobile visitors will interact with your site in different ways. From a marketing perspective, rather than combining all of your visitor information, you can create filters to separate them out. The following filter settings show how to create a filter for only including mobile traffic to a site: www.netcel.com 10
  • 11. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters 6. Making sense of the search keyword (Not Provided) Since Google started rolling out its SSL encryption for search queries of logged-in users, a lot of valuable data has gone missing in Google analytics. Within the Google Analytics organic keyword report you will find reference to the query (not provided) Unfortunately there is no way at present to see what the actual keywords are that have been bundled into (not provided). The following filter however will append the landing page to the keyword for all (not provided) visits. Based on the landing page content, it could give an idea as to the types of phrases that are being included. www.netcel.com 11
  • 12. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters So to summarise, this filter will tell Google Analytics: Whenever you see a search term that matches not provided, apply this filter. Within this filter, we also want to use the address of the page reached where (not provided) was the referring search term. When you apply this filter, discard the original (not provided) search term, and replace it with np - followed by the landing page address. Bonus Filter See search rankings for keywords in Google Analytics Have you ever wanted to see what the ranking of a keyword was and how much traffic it drives in that position? How is this helpful? With this data you can: Analyse the keywords that drive conversions to your site and see how well they rank on the search results. Analyse over time how different positions on the search results will affect your traffic/conversions. It is pretty normal for organic rankings to fluctuate slightly. So assume that youre normally #X for certain keywords, analyse how a drop or an increase in organic rankings affect your traffic/conversions. Analyse over time your portfolio of keywords. How many keywords are on the first page? Your aim is to get your percentage of keywords on the first page as close to 100% as possible. www.netcel.com 12
  • 13. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters *Bryan Casson on YouMoz detailed a fairly advanced filtering setup and segmentation to achieve this. The instructions are as follows: Step 1 Creation of the Filters Filter 1 - (Extracting the data) This filter will extract the ranking data from the (cd) parameter and hold it in custom field 1 *http://www.seomoz.org/users/profile/366929 www.netcel.com 13
  • 14. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters Filter 2: (Displaying the data) This filter will extract the data from custom field 1 and show the results under the Traffic Sources > Search > Organic section in Google Analytics. Step 2 Filter Order Assign the filters in the correct order so Filter 1 appears before Filter 2: Once applied, you will start to see numbers next to your keywords which shows their organic position (including universal results) www.netcel.com 14
  • 15. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters Step 3 Data Segmenting This isnt necessary but you might want to setup advanced segments to show results only for keywords in certain positions e.g. Top 1, Top 5, Top 10, etc. Segment 1 (Position Top 1 Segment): Create a new segment under Advanced Segments > +New Custom Segment and call the number position you wish to segment: Segment 2 (Position Top 5 Segment): Create a new segment under Advanced Segments > +New Custom Segment and use the or statement to add numbers 1-5: www.netcel.com 15
  • 16. White paper 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters Segment3 (Position Top 10 Segment): Create a new segment under Advanced Segments > +New Custom Segment and use the or statement to add numbers 1-10. You can repeat this to get Top 50 or Top 100; you will just have to add more or statements. Summary There are many combinations of filters that can be setup to help you interpret your Google Analytics data. Hopefully the few outlined in this whitepaper will give you a good idea of the benefits of using filters allowing you to take a closer look at your data and make more informed decisions regarding visitor behaviour, content and budgets for marketing. www.netcel.com 16
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