Understanding Google Analytics - Part 1 why you need to segment your website data 

Google Analytics provides a wealth of information about who is visiting your website and what they do when they get there, however it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the information, and confused by what is being presented.  
 
As every Itseeze website can be linked to Google Analytics, all this data is available to you as the website site owner. We'll look at how you can get useful information quickly that may help you in determining the effectiveness of your website  
Google analytics ghost refferers web design Camberley website design Guildford

Lies, damned lies and website statistics 

Firstly, don't believe everything you see ... all is not what it seems.  
 
The default view in Google Analytics is "All Sessions" - which includes sessions from everywhere .. world wide.  
This includes sessions and visits recorded by so called "Ghost Referrals" and "Spam Crawlers" which distort completely the information you are presented with .. the good news is that these are almost exclusively outside the UK 
If all you are interested in is UK customers, then the simplest thing to do is create a segment limited to the UK, then delete the "All Sessions" segment .. unless you really want to compare the two. 
Term 
in a nutshell 
Sessions 
a group of things an individual user does within a 30 minute period 
Users 
How many "people" used your site 
Bounce rate 
How often a user left after visiting just one page on your website 
New Visitor 
someone who has not visited your site before according to their computer cookie 
Returning Visitor 
someone who has visited your site before according to their computer cookie 
Segment 
A part of the data that you are interested in 

The difference between Worldwide and UK segmented data - at a glance 

Whilst you may be disappointed at the reduction of visitors reported to your site, you will at least be dealing with real data.  

Default Data Settings - Worldwide 

camberley web design guildford google analytics
4,386 Sessions 
3492 Users 

Segmented Data Limited To The UK 

guildford web design camberley google analytics
2100 Sessions 
1928 Users 
camberley website design guildford google analytics guildford website design camberley google analytics
There are more complex ways of getting greater accuracy for worldwide data (if your customers are also outside the UK) - but that is in the realms of custom filters (to be covered separately) and for most users possibly an overkill.  
 
Once you have limited your data reporting to the UK, all the metrics begin to be relevant - sessions, users, device usage, bounce rates all become believable.  

How limiting your data to the UK Segment almost eliminates ghost referrers 

As you delve into the website statistics, you will find distortion caused by ghost referrers such as floating-share-buttons.com, site2.floating-share-buttons.com, site5.floating-share-buttons.com etc etc ... in some cases these can totally overwhelm the real data on the website.  
 
Segmenting your data to the UK almost completely illuminates this "ghost traffic" as can be seen from a small sample of the total ghost referral traffic below (notice how the bounce rate is almost always 100% for this type of spam visit - distorting your overall figures). 
google analytics data ghost refferals website design camberley web design guildford
As mentioned previously, this method is not a completely accurate fix, but if you dont want to write custom filters its a prety good approximation for UK only traffic. 
 
 
If you would like to understand further how to get sensible information out of google analytics, complete the form below and we'll get back to you.