Google Analytics reports

The most frequently asked questions about Google Analytics reports get answered.

Why are there duplicates of the same page in Analytics reports?

Different query strings

A typical URL contains the following parts:

By default, the page path and query string are sent to Google Analytics. If someone opens the sample link shown above, Google Analytics will report the following page: /directory/somepage?variable=value.

It is common for the URL to have different values—for example: /directory/somepage?variable=value1 and /directory/somepage?variable=value2

or some extra variables attached to this URL—for example: /directory/somepage?variable=value&var2=somevalue&var3=another

All of these examples will be reported as different pages in Google Analytics despite the fact that they display the same page on the website.

Fortunately, it is possible to exclude URL query parameters in the View setting in Google Analytics. If there is a large number of such parameters, it may be better to use advanced filters to crop the query string from the URL and store it as a custom dimension.

Trailing slash

On many sites, it is possible to access the same page either with the trailing slash or without it—for example, http://site.com/directory/somepage and http://site.com/directory/somepage/.

These two URLs will generate two different pages in Google Analytics: /directory/somepage and /directory/somepage/.

This situation is an issue both for Google Analytics and SEO. Usually this can be fixed with a server-side redirect. Even if you use advanced filters in Google Analytics to fix it, it will still be an issue for SEO because these URLs will be treated as duplications by search engines.

Lettercase

Different lettercase (uppercase or lowercase) in the page path or query string will also lead to multiple dimensions for the same page in Google Analytics because Google Analytics is case sensitive.

This can be easily fixed by applying the lowercase filter to the request URI field.

Here is an explanation from Google about this:

“Google Analytics is case sensitive, so it captures the data exactly as it appears in the location bar of the browser. Therefore, if a mixed case URL is in the browser, it will be captured and displayed as mixed case within your Google Analytics reports. You can use the lowercase filter to change URLs like ‘/Thankyou.html’ and ‘/ThankYou.html’ into one unified URL in your reports: ‘/thankyou.html’. The uppercase filter can transform these same URLs into ‘/THANKYOU.HTML’.”

 

How do I customize Google Analytics reports?

Google Analytics gives you the option to create custom reports and dashboards within the Google Analytics interface.

There are several ways to create custom reports in the Google Analytics interface. First, you can create a standard report, and click “Edit” at the right top of the report:

You will be redirected to the “Create Custom Report” page, where you can customize metric and dimensions that are displayed in the report. You can also add and remove tabs from this report, change the type (e.g., Explorer, Flat Table or Map Overlay) and metric groups and apply filters to suit your needs.

After you have customized the report, you need to choose the views associated with this report and save it.

The saved report will be available for you under Customization > Custom Reports:

Any custom report can be easily shared with other users who have a GA account, a link can be generated to copy the report settings to a different GA account or the report can be shared in the Solutions Gallery.

Note that sharing a report in Google Analytics means copying the report structure and layout from one account to the other. You never share your GA data when you share your report with someone. If you want a colleague to see same custom report with same numbers as you, you need to verify that:

  • You have shared access to the Google Analytics View with your colleague.
  • You have shared your custom report with your colleague.
  • The custom report is associated with the correct view.
  • Both you and your colleague have selected the same time period for the report.
  • Both you and your colleague have selected the same segment.

Only if all of this is true will you both see the same numbers displayed on your monitor.

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