Fast is Fine but Accuracy is Everything

Fast is Fine but Accuracy is Everything

3rd October 2013

How Accurate is your Tracking?

A big question, we often take for granted the information we receive, whether that be information from Google Analytics, a CRM or we are simply confident our coding is correct. We place a huge amount of trust in data and if that data is not accurate then its basically pointless. So how accurate is your tracking?

  • When is the last time you checked all the forms on your website work?
  • Or checked to make sure a transaction can be carried out?
  • Are you confident that you have analytics code on every page of your website and its tracking correctly?

If your answer to above was YES, then read on as there may be some tips to help you, if you answer to the above was “I don’t know”, then you should start to really think about the data you take for granted and if its being tracked correctly.

Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything – Wyatt Earp

Google Analytics Audit

Firstly to make sure you initial tracking is accurate you should be confident that the tracking code for you analytics package is on every page of your website. Kev Strong wrote an article about over two years ago but its still valid today. You can use a tool such as screaming frog to check that every page on your website contains the tracking code.

Auditing your Analytics

Right you have checked your site has analytics on every page but you should give it an audit to check for anomalies.

You can use a free tool like to get some basic insight;

For example:

Self Referrals

Check if your own site or subdomain is referring visits to itself.



Did you know you could easily “skew” someone’s analytics data? All you would have to do is use there analytics code on another website and then visits to pages which contain that code will appear in their reports.

So how do you protect yourself against this?

Firstly check what other hostnames (websites) contain your code (You can use the tool above) or create a custom report based on hostname in Google Analytics.


Filters in Analytics

Its best practice to always have one analytics profile that contains all information and then use separate profile(s) to add filters, such as:

  • Excluding Office / Home IP addresses

In your filtered profile, you can add a filter to exclude hostnames:



It surprises me how many analytics accounts I look at that don’t contain goals or eCommerce tracking, if you don’t have this information how can you ever begin to look at what marketing methods work or how to improve your conversion rate.

For the basics on setting up Analytics Goals you can read this post by Jules Woodward

Things to look out for:

  • Remember that any filters (such as crossdomain tracking) can affect your goal tracking URLs
  • Goal Funnels – If you using funnels (Only with destination goals) if they all go to one Goal completion location your overview goal figure will include every goal you have set up (So you should use unique goal completions)


Browser Automation

  • Do you check your contact forms?
  • YES! – DO you check them manually?
  • YES! – Then how accurate are your checks!

Whether your site is eCommerce or lead generation you can not accurately test your forms or shopping cart purchases every day. To do this you need to look at browser automation; there are two good tools to try this:

I have used testing whizz (paid) where you can simply set up browser tests on your website.

You can then set up:

  • Contact form test (Whether you have 1 or 25)
  • Set them up to run as many times a day as you want
  • Email you the results – know instantly if a form has stopped working.


Other tips

Right you should know be confident that your tracking the right information and all your contact forms are working correctly so what is left?

Website up-time

Pingdom is a great tool to monitor your websites up-time, it will email or even text you each time your site goes down, better than you know first than one of your potential customers!

That it let me know if you have any tools or processes that use in the comment.


Written By
Neil Walker started working as an SEO in 2002 and rose to become Group CTO for Swedish Marketing Agency “Online Group” in 2010 he moved to consulting with agencies, in-house teams and PR companies. In 2014 he formalised this work and founded Made Notable Ltd a boutique digital consultancy based...
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