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Visitor Reports – Network Properties – Hostnames

The Hostname report under the Network Properties section of reports can offer you several insights. In Google Analytics, the Hostnames report lists the traffic to the different domains and subdomains on which you have installed the tracking code for your account.

Use this report to see traffic to subdomains such as blog.mysite.com, vanity URLs, and if someone else has your code installed on their site.

In the above example visits came from 7 different hostnames.

  • Notice the main domain is listed twice both with and without the www, www.mysite.com and mysite.com.  It is an SEO best practice to always redirect non-www to www.  This also has the side benefit of cleaning up your reports.
  • We can also see the traffic from different subdomains such the blog and store in this site’s case.
  • Although not evident in this report, should you be tracking multiple top level domains with the same GA code they would show up here as well.
  • Vanity URLs are an important marketing tool allowing you to attach a unique URL to offline ad campaigns and track their results through Analytics.  This report will show those hostnames as well.
  • Also useful in this report is tracking hostnames that are not one of your own. Although in this example it is just one visit for this time period, a high traffic domain with your code installed could skew results quite a bit and point to someone scraping your site for content by reading the source code (a practice that could hurt your ranking in the search engines).  If they grab the GA tracking code as well their hostname could show up in this report.  So be on the look out for these.

Up Next: Visitor Reports – Network Properties – Connection Speeds

  • http://www.bemidjiproperties.com Mareike Stoutenburgh

    I have a question in regards to vanity URLS. I own several domains and they all point toward bemidjiproperties.com. I recently purchased a Movie Theater ad and I would like to track the responses, that is why I used one of the domains that currently point toward my homepage bemidjiproperties.com. How do I set this up in Google Analytics to see who is typing in the specific domain that I have in my movie ad? My website provider installed the code for my website but do I need a different code installed for every seperate URL I want tracked and do I have to have the other domains point toward a specific page on my site rather than the homepage?

  • mike

    Mareike,

    Since you have some domains already, the best approach is to use those “vanity” domains with a 301 redirect and campaign tagging. Implement the 301 redirect so that when they reach your vanity domain from the movie ad they are automatically redirected to your homepage, but with the proper campaign tagging so that you can trace it back to the original ad.

    For example;

    You see http://www.MareikesVanityURL.com in the movie theater ad and when it is entered into the browser the 301 redirect takes the user to

    http://www.bemidjiproperties.com?utm_source=Foxtheater&utm_medium=movieads&utm_campaign=Spring09

    The source, medium and campaign can be whatever makes sense to you. You will then be able to see this information in your Google Analytics and show exactly how much traffic and conversions were generated by the ads.

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