In taking a closer look at my Google Analytics, I recently discovered that I had made a relatively common error. I had added my Google Analytics Code to my blog twice. Doh! Unfortunately, there were more impacts to my statistics than I initially anticipated. So, I’m sharing my experience in hopes of saving others the same trouble. I’m not a Google Analytics expert by any means, so this is just what I noticed when I was working on my blog over the weekend. In this post, I’ll discuss 3 negative impacts of duplicate google analytics code as it impacted my site.
If you have a similar story or any advice, I’d love to hear it. Please leave a comment below.
It’s the sad truth of a hobby blogger that your blog can often become neglected. That’s sort of par for the course when your work, family, and life take a higher priority. There was a time where I was paying little to no attention to my site statistics. And in the time I finally was looking, I neglected a couple key areas. Not to mention that anyone could spend countless hours researching how to use Google Analytics. And those were hours I didn’t have to spend on my blog.
Recently, I’ve wanted to jump start both of my blogs. In addition to adding new content, I also wanted to better understand the state of my blog. I reviewed my analytics to understand this. One stat jumped out at me as being rather unexpected.
In reviewing my Google Analytics, I noticed my Bounce Rate was less than 1%. Though I hadn’t read up on Bounce Rates as much as I should have, I knew this was abnormal. According to Google help, Bounce Rate is “the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions i which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).” A high bounce rate indicates the user didn’t engage with your site. I had noticed it before but ignored it. It wasn’t an important stat to me at the time. I wish I had paid closer attention.
A quick Google search yielded this helpful post by UpsideBusiness.com titled, “My Website Bounce Rate is 5%. Is That Too Low? Is It Too Good to Be True?” As it turns out, yes, it is too good to be true. I also found a couple other articles with more complicated solutions, but since this one was so simple, I thought I’d look into it first.
Identifying the Duplicate Google Analytics Code
Finding the duplicate Google Analytics code was pretty easy. I just opened up my site and (using Chrome) went to View -> Developer -> View Source. I went to my Google Analytics page to find my tracking ID. I went back to the source and did a CTRL+F (find) to see how many times it showed up. Sure enough, it was found…twice. Note: If your’e unfamiliar with reading code, why not learn how to? Click here to see the list of sites I’ve used for learning how to code.
I had forgotten where I’d previously placed the Google Analytics tracking code, but by reviewing the source, I was able to determine it was in two widgets in my blog’s sidebar. I compared both entries of the code to the latest code in my Google Analytics account and decided the code in my account was newer (and probably more accurate). I replaced both previously entered groups of tracking code with one new entry and saved.
3 Negative Impacts of Duplicate Google Analytics Code
I was curious to see how my Bounce Rate would be impacted by the code change. I eagerly checked the next day. Sadly, it not only went up significantly, I also noticed two unexpected negative impacts to other stats. My Pages / Session and Pageviews went down by about 50%. I shouldn’t have been too surprised. I also use Sitemeter to track analytics, which I think is good for cross-checking the data. I knew from the Sitemeter stats that something wasn’t lining up, but again…I wasn’t putting enough focus on making sure this was correct.
So, now I have a long period of time with inaccurate data for not one but three key sets of data:
- Bounce Rate
- Pages / Session
Why is this bad? Well, I don’t love having data I know is flat out wrong in my Google Analytics, in general. More importantly, I’m not sure if you ever use the Compare feature, but when I compare to the time periods with the inaccurate data, it won’t give me a good read on the areas listed above.
Luckily, I wasn’t using the data to make changes to my blog based on performance. Had I been using the inaccurate data for blog optimization, I would have been all over the place.
Additionally, those who receive blog stat figures may be getting bloated/inaccurate figures. I’m thinking of ad networks, PR reps, etc. who request pageview statistics from potential partners, clients.
And I’m sure there are other downstream impacts that I haven’t run into yet.
If you aren’t sure whether your Google Analytics code is installed properly, at minimum, I suggest viewing the source of your home page and checking to see how many times your tracking code is listed. I can’t think of any reason you’d want it listed twice, but you know your site better than me. Does the code look accurate? If you don’t have a good reason to have your tracking code in there twice, it may be because there isn’t one. Double check your code so you have the most accurate data possible to help you best update and enhance your site.
Comments, questions, advice, feedback? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
I also spent a good chunk of the weekend attempting to optimize my blog for speed and content stickiness. Check back soon for more on those topics.
Thanks for stopping by!