Get a Lovely Traffic Increase Over The Weekend? Are You Sure?!

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So there I was on Sunday morning, dribbling bacon grease all over my keyboard and checking out a few stats as is my usual ritual, when to my joy I discovered 3 of my sites had gotten stonking great traffic increases in the region of 30%.

“Oh Deep Joy!” I thought, “Perhaps something to do with the foreign language Panda Update they’ve rolled out” followed a little while later with “Hmmm… deep concern. Why have I not seen extra traffic through to merchants?”

After also noticing a nasty old drop in user session times, new visitor rates, and pages per visit combined with increased bounce rate I knew something was badly wrong somewhere so got my internet investigationing hat on and did a spot of research.

Introducing The New And Improved Analytics Data Roll Out

It transpired that Google Analytics had made some improvements to the way user sessions are counted.

Of course they had anticipated a slight skewing of data mentioning in their post that, “Overall, this change may slightly increase the number of visits. Based on our research, most users will see less than a 1% change.”

Well, I can only speak for myself but I think they’ve gotten it a teeny tiny bit wrong. You only have to read the comments on their post to see I’m not alone there!

I’m no analytics expert – I confess to being a basic user so if anyone knows of a fix please let me know! Although I *think* the absolute unique visitor data is pretty much correct it’s totally humped my ability to look at things like organic traffic stats and see which terms are doing well or just work out how many “real” organic visits I’m getting from particular sources.

No comment from Google yet, but I sure do hope there’s a workaround or they can fix things up :(

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4 Responses to “Get a Lovely Traffic Increase Over The Weekend? Are You Sure?!”

  1. Nick Says:

    I agree – looks like it is definitely wrong – On one site, hits increased by over 20% and bounce rate has increased from less than 5% to over 25%. Thats a real shame, I thought I had done something spectacular to generate more visitors.

  2. Paul Says:

    Yeah, I noticed that exact same thing too. Had me puzzled, but what you say does make sense. I guess a lot of SEO companies will be hitting visitor targets this month no problem!

    To be honest – I’m not a fan of the new Google Analytics interface. I dont think some of the drill downs are working properly i.e. like on Search Engine keyword referrers. I end up returning back to the old version to make sense of the stats :-)

  3. Adrian Says:

    Hi Kirsty,

    I’m not a expert either but from what I have read the best fix for Google analytics is not to use them. It links all your sites together and so if Google gets the hump with one of your sites it won’t mind de-indexng all the rest too. Something called Piwik at http://www.piwik.org might give you the info you require but without putting your neck in the Google noose. Just a thought :)

  4. Moot Says:

    I am seeing over 100% increases in Organic and Paid search traffic (Google/Yahoo/Bing) following Friday 12 August, and even up to 350% for one of the websites I manage. On the other hand, a number of other websites don’t even get affected at all.
    Still can’t figure out a likely scenario that can lead to this, other than this must’ve been a bug and a mistake.

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