These 6 Analytics Anomalies Give Hotels Stress
We get questions from our clients on a regular basis when something in their data doesn’t feel right, has had a sudden change, or just doesn’t make sense. Here are some common issues:
1. Drop in Organic Search Traffic
We get this scenario A LOT. To help diagnose the cause in a year to year decrease in organic search, we need to look at more than just the overall traffic numbers.
First, take a look at the landing pages. Is there one particular landing page that is losing most of the traffic, or is the loss site-wide? Is there a blog post that had been getting traffic for some reason that has now stopped? This can happen when a page shows up in an answer box in Google and then stops.
Use this information in conjunction with Search Console. Look at Google Trends for keywords for those pages to see if demand has decreased. If you are in a vacation destination, ask your CVB, or even friendly competitors in your market, if they have seen the same trend.
Don’t overlook the technical side of SEO. If you’ve recently launched a new site, are 301s correctly in place? Is the robots.txt correct? Canonical tags? No follow tags accidentally carried over from the staging site?
2. Very High or Very Low Bounce Rate
I’ve said this a lot on this podcast…bounce rate is not a metric to live and die by. However, there is some merit to it, when used correctly, and if it’s artificially high or low, that’s not going to do you any good. A typical hotel website will have an overall bounce rate of 20%-40% (again…use this data with caution, and break it down appropriately).
If you see a bounce rate of 1%-3%, there is almost guaranteed something wrong with your analytics tracking. There are two likely tracking issues that will cause this. The first is that the analytics code is triggering multiple times when the site loads. This could be an old version and a new version of Google Analytics; it could be a Google Tag Manager script triggering analytics along with a hard-coded version of the script; it could also be that the script is in the header and hard-coded on each page.
The second possibility for low bounce rate is some other element on the site besides a page load that is causing the analytics script to run. A common example is a popup. Sometimes code is getting added to a popup getting served when the site loads, even if the consumer has not interacted with it. This should be avoided whenever possible. A popup should never be seen as a page view in your analytics reports. It makes a mess of any kind of pathing data. It is 100% acceptable to track an interaction with a popup, but you’ll also want to figure out if you are tracking the close button, if that should really count as an interaction that would affect bounce rate, or if you just want to see that people closed it.