Filters in Google Analytics are a must if you value your data and need to interpret your website traffic in the most meaningful way.
By default, Google Analytics does not apply any filters to your data. As a result your data may not be as reliable as you need it to be.
Firstly, at Netcel, whenever we setup Google Analytics for any of our clients, we always recommend creating an unfiltered profile view. This is considered good practice and provides a backup should anything go wrong. Filters cannot be applied retrospectively to data nor can data affected by an in correctly configured filter be recovered, which is why an unfiltered view is invaluable.
By default, Google analytics will treat pages in different cases as separate pages which lead to fragmented data in reports. To avoid fragmented data due to capitalisation, a lowercase filter can be implemented to ensure all page URLs in Google Analytics are all in lower case.
This can be done using the below filters.
This will ensure that the hostname of your site is always displayed in lower case so any capitalisation by the visitor or a 3rd party site will be changed so it is uniform with the rest of the data.
This will ensure that all page paths are displayed in lowercase so any capitalisation by the visitor or a link from a 3rd party site will be changed so it is uniform with the rest of the data.
This will ensure that campaign sources within Google Analytics are displayed in lowercase regardless of how they have been used in campaign tracking URLs and links.
This will ensure that Google Analytics displays the campaign medium all in lowercase regardless of how they have been added to campaign tracking URLs.
Some websites may have the index.html, index.php, index.aspx, or similar file at the end of some pages. This can fragment data of one page into two or more in some instances. To ensure that they are all displayed as a single page, the index file can be excluded from Google Analytics reports.
To make data in Google Analytics a little friendlier and easier to understand, it is recommended to add the hostname to all the data. This is even more valuable if cross domain tracking has been implemented or sub-domains are used and need to be tracked.
We are able to learn a lot about our web visitors behaviour and trends. However, traffic trends and reports can be skewed by internal traffic from employees or other partners, particularly when something new is being tested. It is always recommend to block all IP addresses and traffic used internally by employees as well as any partners who may be frequently accessing the site. This is achieved by adding a separate filter for each IP or IP range that needs to be blocked.
A recent annoying occurrence, for those of us who regularly rely on Google Analytics data, is the appearance of rouge hosts in our reports.
These rogue hosts have not physically visited the website but instead send their hostnames to random or a pool of Google Analytics account IDs, making it appear as if they have. Some have been known to maliciously alter data. This can be prevented by whitelisting domains.