Google Analytics is an essential tool for anyone running a business and attempting to improve their conversion rate. The tool offers excellent insight into the traffic your website is generating, as well as a number of other metrics which can help you to pinpoint the best route to conversion.
But with reports now claiming that 56% of all traffic could be coming from bots, how can you be sure that Google Analytics is providing you with accurate data? Here are a few ways in which you can filter out bot traffic from your Google Analytics account.
First, you’ll need to identify the bots. Luckily, there are a number of clues left behind by bots that more or less give them away. High bounce rates are one of their calling cards, as is a low average session duration. If you have almost 100% new visitor traffic and no actual completions or conversions, there’s a chance you’re being hit by lots of bots.
To identify the bots, find the ‘New vs Returning Users’ section within Google Analytics and match up your traffic spikes. You can also filter traffic by the user’s network domain in the ‘Network’ section. You’ll be able to pinpoint the ISPs which generate enormous amounts of bot traffic, and apply filters to remove that traffic from your Analytics results.
CAPTCHA is a service which detects and verifies human behaviour – you’ve probably seen CAPTCHA before, it’s the notification that appears with a box to click stating ‘I’m not a robot’. If you enable a CAPTCHA alert for any new users visiting your site, you should quickly be able to filter out the bots before they start to mess with your analytics data.
You might find, in identifying the bots, that there a certain IP address which is responsible for large amounts of traffic to your site. But many bots change their IP addresses regularly to avoid being caught out. In this case, you can pass the visitor’s ‘user agent string value’ to Google Analytics and filter that out entirely. Using Google Tag Manager, you can set up a custom dimension ‘user agent’ and create filters to eliminate them entirely.
If you’re a UK business delivering goods only to the UK, it’s unlikely that visitors in Indonesia, Russia, Brazil or Japan are going to be worthwhile traffic sources. You can easily set up country filters to remove all traffic from these countries from your analytics – or you could set up a system where the only traffic the system tracks is coming from the UK.
Bot traffic can be a real stumbling block for those who are trying to break down the data presented to them by Google Analytics. Online businesses striving for improvement and growth can be thrown off complete by inaccurate data caused by spam bots – so it’s essential that you move to block them from your analytics data immediately.