Semalt Expert: Potential Problems In Google Analytics Data And Ways To Fix Them

No doubt, Google Analytics has enhanced the effectiveness of decision making for website owners. Website traffic on the Google Analytics determines the performance of the site. Like any business data useful for decision making, information on the Google Analytics should reflect accuracy.

In the course of this article, Julia Vashneva, the Senior Customer Success Manager of Semalt, is going to discuss the most widespread problems that occur in Google Analytics and the ways to fix them.


  • Definition

Pages within the website's domain can generate referral traffic. Real traffic sessions become interrupted registering incorrect visitors on the Google Analytics.

  • Causes

Self-referrals may generate due to tracking errors including missing tracking code, improper tagging of cross-domain, etc.

  • Finding-Out

An examination of the referral report on the Google Analytics may expose the problem.

  • Fixing Self-Referrals

Make sure to report about the malicious data to a person handling the websites. Track the website using the configuration settings of the Google Analytics. Persistent self-referrals may require adjustment of the cross-domain implementation or removal of UTM parameters on the website links.

Referral Spam

  • Definition

Fake traffic recorded on the Google Analytics may result from traffic transactions repeated erroneously. They mess up the Google Analytics statistics resulting to loss of substantial data.

  • Cause

Fake data from servers of the Google Analytics generated through Measurements Protocols or people crawling websites without blocking Actions from Analytics may register as website visitors.

  • Finding-Out

Spam referrals can have no hostnames. The traffic has a bounce rate of 100 percent, average session duration of 0.00 seconds and a 1 page per session visitation. A Google Analytics report reflects new, unrecognized or false sources of the traffic.

  • Fixing Spam Referrals

Exclude the Spam referrals using the Google Analytics settings using the following steps:

  • Go to Filters.
  • Select "Add Filter."
  • Click on "Custom"
  • Click on "Include"
  • Choose "Hostname"
  • Specify all Hostnames to send data to Google Analytics
  • Click Apply
  • For the type of Referral spam called "crawler."
  • Follow steps 1-3
  • Select the "Exclude."
  • Choose "Campaign Source"
  • Enter the name of the source
  • Apply

Personal Identifiable Information

  • Definition

The PII is personal details used to identify the user. Google may shut down the account as it prohibits the inclusion of the PII in the Google Analytics.

  • Cause

Forms and search bars requiring personal data may pass through the URL to the Google Analytics without encryption to create the PII data.

  • Finding-Out

Get the Google Analytics report and do advancing search on the provided field by pasting the following:

  • Physical Contact: Paste\?.*\b(St(reet)?|Ave(nue)?|B(ou)?le?v(ar)?d|(High)?Way|Ln|Lane|Road|Rd)\b
  • Bank information: Paste \?.*([=:,!]|%2[1C])(4[0-9]|5[1-5]|2[2-7]|6[05])(([\s+.,-]|%2[0B1C])*\d){12}($|[&#:,!%])
  • Social security: Paste \?.*([=:,!]|%2[1C])d{3}-?\d{2}-?\d{4}($|[&#:,!%])
  • Zip code: Paste \?.*([=:,!]|%2[1C])\d{5}(\s|\+|%2[0B])*-(\s|\+|%2[0B])*\d{4}($|[&#:,!%])
  • Phone numbers: Paste \?.*([=:,!]|%2[1C])(\(|()?\d{3}([\s+.,)-]|%2[0B1C9])*\d{3}([\s+.,-]|%2[0B1C])*\d{4}([\s+]|%2[0B])*($|[&#:,!%])
  • For email addresses: \?.*(@|@)

Fixing the problem

Contact the developer immediately for assistance in case of PII parameters in the Google Analytics. However, the following steps using Google Tag Manager can remove parameters from the URL reflected in the Google Analytics.

  • Customize Pageview URL.
  • Test the Google Analytics property.
  • Taste the pageview tag on a test AU.
  • Use tag #3 to test and publish the tag.
  • Review the URLs in the Google Analytics to establish their working.
  • Finish and publish the configuration.

Settings on the Google Analytics ensure exclusion of ghost and spam referrals to ensure data captured is accurate and reliable. So be free to use them.

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