Wednesday, 12 March 2014

DISCUSSION: How accurate are your Blogger stats?


We all know Blogger stats aren't the most accurate. Considering there is no way of blocking bots and other fake views, your stats may end up looking a bit like this:

This is a screenshot from my stats. As you can see there are a few legitimate referring URLs mixed in like my old URL which automatically redirects to this one, the blog link in my Twitter bio, and Google. There are spam sites, too, as you can see. If suspicious links like these show up in your referring URLs, do not click them. They haven't linked to you anywhere on their site. By clicking the link, they will just attack you more. It's easy to tell if a site is legitimate or not - if you're a book blogger and a web address ending in .blogspot.com or .wordpress.org shows up in your stats, it's more than likely that it will be real. If it ends in .ru or has random and sometimes inappropriate words in it, you can be sure it's not real.

Of course, these spam sites direct 'hits' to your blog, which may cause your stats to become inaccurate. You could say from looking at the screenshot above that I got 4,689 views, but I didn't. To get a more accurate number, it's a good idea to subtract the spam sites from your total. Doing that, you can see that I actually got 3,054. The fact that Google lets in these spam referrals is extremely annoying, although some people like them because they make their stats look good. But what's the point in your stats looking good if the hits aren't real? 

But we're not done yet.

The above screenshot shows countries from which people have read my blog. I'm a British blogger and I always write in English. The fact that I've apparently had 11,062 hits from Russia and 6,097 from Ukraine is weird, and most-likely spam. The only legitimate ones up there will be the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Ireland, Canada, Germany and France. You can't see many in the first screenshot but most of my daily referring spam-URLs actually come from Russia, Ukraine, China and Japan. Sometimes India. You just have to figure out what is real and what isn't, and then subtract all the crap from your stats and it's way more accurate than it was before.

Some people don't use Blogger stats at all and instead use Google Analytics, but I haven't made the switch yet. However, I do know that Google Analytics are more reliable than Blogger stats, so it's worth looking at.

Then we come to spam comments. While Blogger isn't the most reliable when it comes to stats, it's amazing when it comes to blocking these unwanted comments. I have only ever had twelve spam comments on this blog in nearly five-years of it being online, and all of these comments were blocked automatically. Isn't that great? These comments don't affect stats, so moving on...

Sometimes publishers will ask you for your stats before you join their mailing lists. Always make sure to give them an accurate number, whether it's using the method I showed or by using a stat counter other than Blogger. Apparently if you have your own domain name like I do, you can block certain countries from looking at your blog. This is what I would like to do with Russia and Ukraine seeing as it's highly unlikely people from those countries would be able to read my blog anyway. I haven't completely figured out how to do this yet, but I'm working on it.

How do you keep your Blogger stats accurate? Or had they always been inflated and you just hadn't realised?



46 comments:

  1. I think using Google Analytics is a good suggestion, but if the spam referrals aren't harming your blog and the spam comments are filtered automatically, I don't think blocking access to your blog for certain countries is necessary. Yeah, they skew your stats a bit, but maybe Google Analytics will help with that. I just worry that there are English speaking people living in Russia and Ukraine that are dying for book suggestions and might really appreciate your opinions!

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    1. Actually, something I forgot to mention is that the targeted blogs will get lower and lower in Google's indexing as more spam referrals come through, so it is pretty harmful. I'll have to add that into the post when I'm next on a computer. :)

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  2. Bloggers always been pretty good at blocking spam comments but as far as site analytics go I'd have to say go for Google Analytics or Stat Counter. Google Analytics is a little overwhelming but if you take a few minutes to go through it's actually pretty useful especially since it provides info like unique number of visits and In-Page analytics.

    Stat counter is pretty good too and if you want something a lil simpler, this is the one to go for.

    Vampirestat and the .ru sites are definitely spam and I've noticed that if you avoid clicking on these links they eventually disappear from your blogger stats.

    Great post, Amber! :)

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    1. Yep, avoiding those links is definitely the best thing you can do. Thank you! :)

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  3. Ive been using Google Analytics for a while now and it takes a while to get used to, but is good.
    Lately my blog has been getting referrals for a company called Seamalt and it's really messing true analytics up. So annoying!

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    1. I know, I don't see the point in spam referrals at all. Will have to start using Google Analytics soon :)

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  4. I've never really paid much attention to my Blogger stats. I've been using Google Analytics right since I began and it's SO much better… the amount of detail it gives is kinda terrifying though aha. :) Despite Blogger making your blog look better, I don't think the views are legitimate at all really.

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    1. That's a good idea, I wish I'd been using that from the start. It would be a lot better, as you said! Blogger views are legitimate, just after you've taken the spam out of it. :)

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  5. This is the only good thing about Wordpress. There's never ANY fake stats, and I've never had one spam comment come through, thanks to Jetpack. If there was a way I could transfer my wordpress stats to Google Analytics, I'd do it in a second, so I could move to Blogger. But I don think that's possible? :(

    Great post, hopefully it'll help other confused bloggers. :)

    From da cabbehj wit sweg

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    1. I don't think it's possible to transfer stats from Wordpress to Google Analytics. However, it might be worth reading this http://google.about.com/od/googleblogger/a/How-To-Move-Your-Blog-From-Wordpress-To-Blogger.htm and then making a test Wordpress blog, viewing it a few times and getting at least two followers, and then transferring it to Blogger to see if the stats transfer with it? If your stats transferred they would be in the Blogger stats, while Google Analytics would start from 0, with no history.

      I think.

      ...

      Also, if you look down at the bottom of my blog, you can see a view counter. You can start this from any number, so if you really wanted to you could just take the total amount of views your blog has ever had and start it from there. But I don't want to be responsible for you losing everything so you'd have to test it first xD

      from da macaron wit more sweg

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    2. When I moved from wordpress to blogger it certainly kept the major stats, page views etc, but not the in-depth stuff like referral sites

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    3. I don't like Wordpress as much as Blogger and I don't use it that much so I don't know if Wordpress really does keep robots from your blog but I can say that one of my blogs has been up and running for 5 years and I've never once had a spammer comment so I don't think it's very likely that you're going to get hit with spammers via Blogger vs. not getting hit with spammers on Wordpress.

      But which ever one you're more used to, you're going to prefer regardless of the number of spam content you get.

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  6. I've always wondered about this, thank you for this post. Have you ever looked at the bottom of one of the stats page (can't remember which) and it says what people have Googled to find your blog? I always find those a bit whacky and unreliable...

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    1. They used to be a bit weird. I got a lot about quotes, like 'cute spiderman quotes' (?!) and 'cute relatable quotes.' Very strange. I don't seem to get them anymore though, and I don't think they do any harm. :)

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  7. I think I wrote something similar about this too. I've moved a lot of people from Blogger to WordPress and one thing they comment on is how their numbers are lower. They may attribute that to "losing followers in the move!" but it's actually because they switch to Google Analytics and that number is reporting more accurate stats.

    One thing that I find irksome when sending stats to publishers is how you may be "competing" with someone who has inflated page views. Someone may send a publisher Blogger stats, which is 2x higher than it should be because it doesn't filter out spam. Another blogger may send a publisher Google Analytics stats, which is a more accurate number, but *appears* lower than the Blogger number. So from the publisher's end, the person reporting Blogger stats looks more impressive because the number's higher, but in reality it shouldn't be higher!

    Mini rant. :P

    But yeah, Blogger doesn't even exclude normal bot views. Like whenever search engine comes to index your site, it views a ton of your pages. These aren't real people. They're bots/crawlers/spiders. Blogger counts those as page views, but they're not even real people. Google Analytics is smart enough to filter those out because they're not real visitors.

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  8. I just signed up for Google Analytics but can't quite figure it out. I'll mess around with it later, but good post!

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  9. Great post. I only use google analytics now and find that it's pretty accurate. That vampirestat is the worst one on my blog too!!

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  10. It's so frustrating that the blogger stats are so unreliable. I might sign up for Google Analytics. This post was really helpful! xx

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  11. I actually never look at my blogger stats, but I do have Google Analytics. I never knew that those strange names and links could be spam! I'm going to check it out right away *looks* Not bad, only 2 that look strange and all the others are through Bloglovin' and Feedly. Thanks for the informative post! :)

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  12. I agree, Blogger stats kinda suck. Google Analytics is way better. I don't love it, but is complete enough and I like it.
    But the fact that people from Russa and Ukraine read your blog is very possible, as many people in these places speak good English. :)

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    1. Those places are so far away, though, it's hard to imagine anyone reading my blog there! Also, a lot of spam referrals come from those places so I'm not sure. Thanks for commenting! ^-^

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  13. My main problem is that I can't turn off the 'Dont track your own pageviews' thingy, I have just started blogging and it looks like i have loads of blog views from the UK but I have a sneaky suspicion that it is just me.

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  14. This is very interesting,
    Thanks for the info. :D

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  15. thank you for this post!! ive been wondering about this :) and how do you do the "notify me" checkbox in the comment section? its very useful

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  16. I thought that all the links from Russia and so forth was spam, but then a former student emailed and said that US troop internet use was linked through that country. Some of it might be legit.

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  17. Thank you for this, so straight forward and interesting to read.

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  18. Re the hits from Russia and Ukraine... stats are influenced by which forums one subscribes to. I belong to a forum called InterNations, where in recent times there has been a lot of interest in the goings-on in Ukraine. Since I began contributing many posts on the topic, the number of hits from Russia and Ukraine have put those countries into my top ten "audience" figures - I presume from readers who check out my Profile, where my blogsite is listed.

    While I'm here, I would like to ask the brains-trust this: is it possible to discover how many hits I get from countries outside the top ten? Thanks for any help.

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  19. Vampire stats are so annoying

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  20. I triangulate statcounter, sitemeter, and internal blogger stats, all of which include detailed info on browser usage, and I'm able to confirm that my 'other language' hits come through a google translate page that simply locates to one geographical source and makes California look like a huge source, when really it's a number of other countries. Since I can confirm actual devices and browsers matching up percentage-wise, I don't assume at all that everything that is other-language sourced is a spam bot or that people in other countries don't or can't read English. I've also tracked hits to troops locations and college campuses around the world. Do more research before you assume anything about one single tracker. I've been blogging for a long time, lotta lurkers out there. ;)

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    1. You definitely shouldn't assume people in other countries don't/can't read English - Google Translate exists for a reason, after all! It's all about knowing your own stats - what's usual and what isn't. :)

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  21. Thank you! This is useful. Same happens to me too... I always write in English and top visiting country is Russia.

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  22. It is interesting reading other Bloggers views on the volume of spam - It is time for Google to do something to help - maybe - if possible, a button t block certain countries like Russia and Ukraine.
    I have several blogs and it has taken awhile to learn to just ignore the spammers, and they do eventually go away, only to be replaced by more of the same.

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  23. Well, that clear things up. I thought I was the only one. This is very helpful. Thanks a lot! :)

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  24. I'm so confused as to why my blog had overall 109 page views than when you go to a post and it tells you only 5 people have actually looked at It, this is so annoying as I want to know if anyone is actually reading my blog or if its just a waste of time

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  25. How do you find out what people have searched and then clicked on your blog? I want to know how people find my blog, but where would I look to find that?

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  26. Hi Amber, I am from Turkey and I am reading your blog since english is a very common and universal language. So the country list you assume te be accurete might be wider than you think.
    Cheers

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  27. When I blogged a few years ago about the questionable hits from Russia, I received an email from a former student who explained he was serving overseas and the military internet in his area was routed through Russia and he was likely one of my "Russian" readers.

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  28. All I ever see on my blogger stats are links from France and Germany even though most of my hits come from the US, Canada and England. What's that all about?

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  29. For some time I was curious why the stats from blogger were so different from the ones reported by StatCounter. I knew that something was going wrong, and today I made a quick search to confirm that I was right about it.
    I have tried to use Google Analytics a couple of times, but I find it a bit heavy (my connection is very slow), so I prefer to stick with Statcounter.

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  30. I'm using Blogger built-in Stats, Google Analytics and also the Facebook stats —where my visitors come from— together, and the results usually have nothing to do with each other. Blogger statistics often shows —even for the reliable sources— five to six times more visits than Google Analytics, what makes me think that Google Analytics is blocking or not counting many true visits also. I can't believe that Blogger stats are SO unreliable that, for example, it shows 25 visits for a post, of which 22 come from the URL "m.facebook.com", while Analytics does not count ANY visit either. Than what are those 22 visits from the mobile Facebook??

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  31. Glad you have not blocked India. :) Very informative post. Thank you.

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  32. I've often wondered about the stats. I too am a UK-based blogger using the Blogger platform. I've just posted something in within about 40 seconds it has received 24 hits. I'm currently averaging 300 hits per day. This has gone up considerably, but that's a lot to do with tweeting my posts and putting them on Facebook. Prior to doing this I was getting under 100 hits per day. But yeah, I've always wondered if these are genuine readers or not and sometimes when I click on one of the sources of my hits, the site is often something dodgy or just plain strange. Anyway. My blog, if you're interested, is http://novisiblelycra.blogspot.com

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  33. Love your blog your really good at what you do, I also have a blogger blog and a few questions for you on template design if you ever have time!

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  34. Matt I also have a blogger blog, actually found this blog 5 years after starting my blogger page. I am at about 10,000 views a day currently and have been for about a year. Finally trying to figure out how to build off of this traffic and put it to use~!

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  35. Thank you for posting this! Knowledge is POWER!

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