Google Analytics is the software of choice for measuring website and app traffic for marketing and especially SEO professionals. For a typical business owner, navigating through Google Analytics and the dozens of reports with hundreds of options is a waste of their time. The marketing and/or SEO service provider should present the information in an easy to understand way. It’s part of the job. A big part of that job can be automated.
Google Analytics Dashboards
I can’t say for sure, but I think Google developed these dashboards with marketing / SEO client reports in mind, because they’re perfect for that. You can design your own, or you can grab one of the thousands already made on the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery. I went ahead and made my own that uses a filter I recently started using.
Hostname: Referral Spam Filter
It won’t stop it all, but it will cut it by about 90% (unscientific guess). This will keep the overall website traffic stats from being overly skewed by a wave of referral spam bot activity, especially on websites with 100 or fewer users a day. In short, it’ll clean up your reports just enough to make them useful.
How does it work?
The filter is set to only include traffic that is coming from your domain. The reason is because the pageviews and visits your seeing in your Google Analytics report aren’t neccessarily coming from your website. Your Google Analytics code UA number can be seen by anyone (and any bot) by viewing the source code. Accounts for long closed websites can spring to life again if that UA # is ever used again. With the Hostname filter, you can eliminate the pages that are being served elsewhere. There is still spam referral traffic that does generate actual traffic by calling pages on your website. The list of these referring domain names keeps growing. I use an .htaccess file to deal with those when the Hostname filter isn’t enough.