Analytics 101: Three Misconceptions About Google Analytics

If you really want to know how your website’s doing, you have to dig deep for data. Google Analytics provides valuable, measurable results about your website traffic that can help you shape your marketing strategy moving forward. But in order to use it, you need to understand what all that great data means.

To help you get over some initial “sticker shock” from what at first glance can be some misleading numbers, let’s clear up three very common misconceptions about Google Analytics.

#1 WOW! This new website traffic is awesome… isn’t it?

Well, maybe not. You should see a new traffic spike the first month or two your SEO campaign goes live. However, these new visitors aren’t always potential leads. If your site uses SEO plugins like Yoast for WordPress, you’re going to get a great deal of referral spam, and while it isn’t harmful to your site or rankings, it does skew your Google Analytics numbers.

You can see if referral spam is inflating your Google Analytics numbers by going to “Acquisition.” Then, under “Referrals,” look for website names that don’t look real, like “” or “”

To solve the problem—and get a more accurate Google Analytics result—be sure to set up a Spam-Free Filter for your site’s analytics. The numbers might not be as huge afterward, but they will be more accurate, especially when it comes to page view.

Discover Smylelytics, the easiest and most engaging way to understand your website performance!

Speaking of page views, here’s misconception #2…

#2 WAIT! They’re not spending enough time on my pages!

Well, maybe not. Internet visitors are looking for quick answers. Having lots of content on your pages is great for SEO and driving people to the page. However, once they get there, they find want they came for and move on. So be sure your site gives your visitors what they want—fresh, bite-sized content. They want lists. They want infographics. They want short, punchy copy and even shorter videos that load up quick, tell them what they need to know, and then lets them use the information right away in short, optimized forms to contact you.

Also, keep in mind that different pages require different amounts of time from the user. A content page may need three minutes, but your “thank you” conversion tracking page probably only requires less than one second. Your Google Analytics gives you an average from all the pages, so if your times are between 30 seconds and five minutes, don’t panic.

Which brings us to misconception #3…

#3 WHOA! This bounce rate is WAY too high!

Well, maybe not. This is important to learn about Google Analytics: Bounce rates are subjective and unique to your industry and audience. For standard marketing websites, Google defines a healthy bounce rate as between 30% and 70%. For eCommerce websites, they define it as being between 30% and 60%. But keep in mind that, in the grand scheme of things, even a bounce is better than no traffic at all. If the majority of visitors are finding your website, taking in the content, and leaving, you may not have generated a lead today, but you may very well in the future if they liked what they saw.

If you’re outside those healthy bounce rate parameters, you may want to check into some of the common culprits for low bounce rate:

  • Google Analytics are set up incorrectly (we see this a LOT)
  • Super-slow page load speeds
  • Referral spam traffic
  • Autoplay videos/audio and pop-up ads
  • A really bad Adwords campaign that attracts the wrong visitors
  • Unprofessional and untrustworthy website design

To learn more about how Smylelytics can help you understand and use your Google Analytics to take your business to the next level, contact us!