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Troubleshooting Traffic Irregularities In Google Analytics

Analytics 7th Jan 2015

Have you ever seen a random spike in traffic in your Google Analytics? Have you sat there and thought what on earth is that?

Picture this scene. You’re sitting in a comfortable boardroom, a comfy chair, a nice hot cup of coffee. The boss comes in, whacks a great big chart up, a traffic chart. It’s gone through the roof, but bounce rates and conversions have gone through the floor. He’s looking at you, and he wants answers. What do you do?

Well, in this video, what we’re going to do is give you a framework of how you can better diagnose SEO anomalies and even have a better grip on the SEO KPIs that you’re looking to monitor. The benefit of this is kind of threefold really. One, you’ll get a better understanding of what your user is experiencing from your website. You’ll also be able to see how you can make more money doing what you do very well, and you’ll also be able to see how you can save money by doing less of what you don’t do so well.

The framework I would lay out is to think about things from three points of view. You’re trying to get to the bottom of some strange anomaly in your analytics data. I would tackle this from three particular positions. Try and ascertain, firstly, whether it’s a user based anomaly, a tech based anomaly, or if it’s actually down to your Google Analytics setup.

I’ll start there first of all, because that is fairly straightforward. Perhaps you’ve seen a massive drop in one of your metrics. Take traffic, for instance. The first thing to do is to make sure that your Google Analytics tracking code is in place on every single page that you’re looking to track traffic from. Very simply, you can do that using the Google Analytics Chrome extension, or you can crawl each page of your site looking for the snippet, using a fully licensed version of Screaming Frog, an excellent way of making sure you’ve got your tracking code in place where it needs to be.

Secondly, I’d then consider the user. Now, this is a much broader bucket of things to consider. There may well be some seasonality that your particular industry or product experiences. So what you’ll need to be doing is looking at those particular patterns, month on month performance, year on year performance. Is this in line with the anomaly that you’re seeing? It may well be that you’ve suddenly hit upon a level of seasonality that you’ve not previously got to grips with. This is probably something that’s been in play for years, but getting closer to your analytics is going to give you a better idea of how that actually looks and feels from your website’s point of view.

Equally from the user’s point of view, your user is interacting with your content. So analyse reports in the behavioural set of reports, looking at content, your landing pages, the content drill down, looking at how different landing pages and folders are performing to see if there’s any kind of standout reason why you’re starting to see a spike or a dip in traffic or conversions.

Put yourself in the position of the user, how they are accessing and using your site. Has the site become easier or harder to use? Have you moved to a responsive design whereby mobile users are seeing a different version of your website to normal?

It might well be that you need to drill down even further, and you might see that one particular browser is not performing in line with the other browsers. Then it’s a case of, obviously, speaking with your web development team to try and rectify that and bring that browser back into line with the other browsers that you’ve got.

The third part really is looking at the technical side of how your site is performing. You’d be looking at stuff like how quickly your average page load time has changed, the number of pages that are being interacted with, and the server response time. This could all prompt decisions that need to be made, such as:  Do you need to look at the hosting solution that you’ve got in place? Do you need to move to a content delivery network system so that you’re able to speed up the performance of your site for your users?

So with that in mind, that gives you three ways of being able to tackle the anomalies that you’re starting to see. It can be quite overwhelming to try and find these particular things in Google Analytics. But using this framework, it’s going to give you a place to start and also probably help to improve your online marketing presence.

Just to reiterate, you should be able to walk away from this being able to find out and diagnose your SEO anomaly. Equally, you’ll be able to look at how your users are actually experiencing your site, as well as improving it by doing more of what’s great and less of what’s not so great.

For any feedback, please get in touch with us using the social profiles, or contact us using www.Koozai.com.

Graeme Benge
About the author

Graeme Benge

Graeme is a self-confessed chocolate addict and his carefully curated physique reflects this. His beard is better than yours and if you ever want to see such a majestic creature you can find him in the ‘room of doom’ listening to rock and heavy metal.

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