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Google Analytics Best Practices – The Sherlock Holmes Way

My name is Sherlock Holmes.  It is my business to know what other people don’t know.” – Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
Setting up Google Analytics for your website is one thing and drawing actionable insights from the data captured is another.  
One of the first things an analytics Sherlock should do is to make sure the account is set up right.
Here are some best practices that Sherlock Holmes himself would have followed:
Setting up 3 views for your property:

  1. All Website Data: This view should contain just the raw data. No filters are to be applied to exclude or include data. This way, you would have access to all historical data from the time you have setup the Google Analytics for your website.
  1. Production: The Production view should be your central view for all your reporting and analysis. All filters/goals/data imports in place for this view are tried and tested. The data that you see in this report is the most accurate among all three views.
  1. Test: This view is where you run all your experiments and testing on filters/goals/data imports before applying them to the Production view. This way, you keep your data in the Production view protected.

The Science of Deduction
…when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Sherlock Holmes, The Blanched Soldier

  1. Filters

Filters are a great way to standardize and clean the captured data so that it is aligned with your analytics objectives. They help you exclude, include & transform the data according to your needs. Here are some commonly used filters:
Filter to remove internal traffic
Filter type: Predefined
Exclude > Traffic from the IP address > that begin with
{{Internal IP Address}}
Filter to include traffic only from a particular host
Filter type: Predefined
Include > Traffic to the hostname > that contain
{{Hostname}}

  1. Referral Exclusion List

To prevent your domain name from showing up as one of the  referrals in Google Analytics, you will have to setup self-referral exclusion. This can be done easily as follows:
Go to the admin panel > Click Tracking Info > Referral Exclusion List > +Add Referral Exclusion > Enter your domain name > Click Create
Now that you know the best practices, go ahead and set it up for your Google Analytics account.
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