• Dan Shure

    Hi Brett

    Thanks for this article! I too have been seeing similar anomalies, but this article really clarifies things, and shows I’m not alone! Your test with the tabs you did is fascinating, and its never made complete sense to me how that worked.

    Here’s a screenshot of a long-tail term that received 13 “visits” in only one day, however as for you the city and browser are the same.

    I ALWAYS dig into the keywords once and while to check for something inaccurate, especially when I see an unusual spike – I like to verify where the spike came from before any high fives!


  • Michael Whitaker

    The long-tail keyword examples in your post were from the same visitor bouncing back and forth between Google and your site. What you were seeing was in fact a bug that got fixed on Aug 17. New sessions should only be started IF the campaign source changes, which wasn’t the case between Aug 11 and Aug 17.

  • Brett

    @Dan Always good to know you’re not alone, right? :-)

    Seems like you were seeing pretty much the same issues we were, but as Michael pointed out in his comment it is promising to see that Google seems to have made fixing this a priority so we can get back to using this data to help make actionable, strategy-driven decisions.

    @Michael Thanks for sharing! We’ve been looking into this as well since Google updated their post on how sessions are tracked yesterday evening, so hopefully (as you mentioned) this data should be more accurate in the future

  • CMS Buffet

    Thank you for the article and the examples.
    Looking back at Google Analytics reports, searching for these anomalies, i found a few.

  • anthonydnelson

    I have seen some very similar results in analytics. I also occasionally see paid search terms and traffic being reported in the organic section. I can’t put my full faith into the exact numbers presented in any analytics platform. However, I can study the results closely, notice the trends and make my best guesses as to where future opportunity lies.

  • Brett

    @CMS Glad the examples were helpful!

    @anthonyI think you hit the nail on the head by looking at trends, since the data is all within the same platform. thanks!

  • Dan Shure

    Hi… just wanted to follow up, not sure if anyone will see this, but I’m seeing this AGAIN… this time across 2 months! (Basically since August when this post went up.

    Check out the screenshot… I drilled down across every possible metric, and this is definitely the same person/computer

    I wonder if its the same person, who originally found the site on a search, keeps coming back via direct, but analytics keeps registering it as a search?

  • Brett Snyder

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for following up! With all the changes being rolled out to Google Analytics lately I’m surprised this is still an issue. I’ll took a look back at the examples I used and am not seeing this but will keep an eye on it for sure.

    I agree that it’s probably the same person who came in via search and is being incorrectly attributed but will dig into some GA literature to see if we can find some proof to that theory. Thanks again for sharing!!