Google Analytics has evolved from neonatal to very matured stage by launching ‘Universal Analytics’. The journey from Web Analytics 1.0 to Web Analytics 2.0 has brought a sea change in Google Analytics Tool implementation and configuration. A web analyst and digital marketer, being a business catalyst should be aware of industry best practices. I have made an attempt to consolidate and present relevant best practice in Google Analytics Best Practices Series -1. Thank you so much for visiting , read on and let me know your opinion.

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Google Analytics view being fundamental building block of Google Analytics Account needs a special attention for righteous implementation. Views are required to serve your long term data analysis requirements. Any mistake in configuring views result in Fundamental Mistake. The following are Google Analytics view set up and configuration  best practices to achieve data quality in web analytics.

1.    View Configuration Best Practice – 1: Default page field configuration.

A default page is one which loads when a user enters only the domain name of site into address bar. In fact www.metricsmania.com/ and www.metricsmania.com/index.php are technically same as the server returns home page only. But according to Google Analytics ‘/’ and index.php are two different page views. So Google Analytics registers page views under two dimensions as shown below:

Users who type www.metricsmania.com, would be registered under ‘/’ and users who type www.metricsmania.com/index.php would be registered under ‘index.php’ as shown under.

But how to determine the technology on which web site is built and what pages does server return? In some situations it is not easy to learn what technology has been used to build the web pages, because developers may hide the details. No worries! I have listed down few useful tools to determine the technical details of website. These following tools help you to determine the type of the page server returns.

Online Tools

•    www.builtwith.com
•    www.domaintools.com
•    www.netcraft.com
•    www.w3techs.com
•    www.similartech.com

Firefox addons:

•    Wappalyzer – CMS, frameworks/libraries, e-commerce, message boards etc.
•    Domain Details – IP, country and webserver details
•    Library Detector – Javascript libraries in use

Chrome Extensions:

•    Wappalyzer
•    SimilarTech
•    PageXray

Bookmarklets:

•    WTFramework – shows Javascript framework in use

Once you are sure with type of web page your server returns, enter the details in as shown below:

Google Analyitcs Default page configuration Best Practice at view level

Google Analytics Default page configuration at View Level- Best Practice 1

 

2.    View Configuration Best Practice  – 2 : Exclude URL Query Parameters

URL parameters are very robust features of web 2.0 framework. Web 2.0 has seamless ability to create dynamic pages to respond to complex http request in client-server architecture. Server side scripts (PHP, ASP) append URL parameters to create dynamic web page on the fly.

URL parameters are appended after ‘/? ‘ in the URL, for example in the URL www.mywebsite.com/?pid=001#sessionid=1,  pid=001#sessionid=1 is URL parameter appended by servers to create dynamic pages.

Server returns numerous URL parameters for single dynamic page, whereas GA generates various page views for single page. Page views junk data just gets inflated! hence these URL parameters are of no use to web analyst, whose job is to construe some meaningful insights. So dispose the junk, which has no value to analyze.

To identify URL Parameters it takes some time or you can go to ‘All Pages’ report of Site Content in Behavior section, enter  ‘\?’ in the table filter as shown below to list down possible URL parameters.

Exclude URL Parameters from All Pages report in Google Analytics

Excluding URL Query Parameters from Site Content Reports in Google Analytics

 

The possible URL parameters could be sess,var1, var2, pid,sessid, token.

In case you do not have patience to wait and update URL parameters, apply the following filter.

Filter name: Remove Query Parameters from URI

Filter type: Search and replace

Filter field A: Request URI

Search String: ^([^\?]+)\?.*

Replace String: /

Case Sensitive: NO

 

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