3 Google Analytics Changes That Will Affect Your Traffic

by on September 1, 2011

Not content with sending everyone’s traffic running for the hills with the Google Panda series of updates, Google has been making some changes to the way your traffic is reported. Here is a quick overview of  3 Google Analytic changes that will effect your traffic and delight with you some great data.

Google Analytics – Session Based Changes

Google announced they were making changes to how they counted sessions around the start of August (11th). The change is as follows:

Google Analytics ends sessions when:
  • More than 30 minutes have elapsed between pageviews for a single visitor.
  • At the end of a day.
  • When a visitor closes their browser.
Now Google Analytics ends sessions when:
  • More than 30 minutes have elapsed between pageviews for a single visitor.
  • At the end of a day.
  • When any traffic source value for the user changes. Traffic source information includes: utm_source, utm_medium, utm_term, utm_content, utm_id, utm_campaign, and gclid.
This seemed to tie in with their announcement of Multi Channel Funnels as now you could have multiple sources of traffic during one session (if you close the browser and enter via a different traffic source). For the most part I can see a lot of branded organic search going up as lazy users don’t bother to type in the full URL.
BUT WAIT
That update didn’t go smoothly. There was a bug which saw a lot of sites visits rocket up and New Visits decrease whilst Return Visits increased. I noticed this on one of my sites:

Google Analytics - Session Based Change

You can see above New Visits decreasing and Return Visits increasing after the change. Google fixed this on the 16th of August, again, as shown in the traffic above.

Google Analytics Image Search Change

For reasons unknown to us all (just like Google leaving out PDF reports from the new Google Analytics version, a crime against reporting), Google decided to lump all your image search into organic, so your referral traffic from Google.com might of went like this:

Google Analytics Image Search

Google Analytics - Google.com Referrals from Image

and your organic search had a much happier appearance

Google Analytics Image Search

Google Analytics Organic Traffic

This is an odd change as image traffic does not behave like other traffic. A couple of months back my traffic shot up as I used a picture of a farmer in my Google Panda post and it ranked 3rd in Google.com image search for “farmer” (I forgot to change it’s tags). Now I am not saying farmers don’t like to dabble in a bit of online marketing, but obviously this skewed all my metics like page depth and bounce rate. Described in more detail here by Barry Adams.

Google Analytics Multi Channel Funnels

Google announced Multi Channel Funnels WOO HOO. This is something I dreamt about since beginning my love affair with Google Analytics. Tim over at SEOWizz did a good round up of just how Awesome these are.

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