Google ‘Instant Previews’ hit Google Analytics with fake traffic

Google’s new "Instant Previews" search tool is skewing traffic stats for sites using Google Analytics, creating page views before pages are actually viewed.

Rolled out across Google’s search engine earlier this month, Instant Previews lets searchers, yes, preview sites before they visit them. Users click on a small icon that appears beside a search result, and this launches an image of the site in question on the right-hand-side of Google’s results page.

As Google pointed out when "Instant Previews" was launched, Google is – in some cases – fetching these previews in real time. Soon after the tool’s launch, webmasters posting to Google’s help forums noticed that these pre-fetches were skewing Google Anayltics numbers. And as noticed by Search Engine Land, a Google employee later confirmed this with a post of his own.

The employee confirms that these real-time fetches are executing JavaScript used by Google Analytics, the company’s own web analytics tool, and this is skewing traffic numbers. But he indicates that a fix is on the way. "We’re working on a solution for this, to prevent Google Instant Preview on-demand fetches from executing Analytics JavaScript," the Google employee says. "I’m not sure about the timeframe, but I’ll drop a note here when I have more to share. Thanks for your patience."

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/22/google_instant_previews_skew_web_analytics/

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