In order for Google Analytics to work at its best it needs to be set up correctly. So many web admins and owners simply install the necessary files on their server and fail to do much else. If you’re making important business decisions based on the performance of your website, it’s imperative that you spend a few hours honing your website goals and tracking needs so that you get the best value out of this handy and profitable tool. In this article we’ll look at the 10 essential steps to setting up Google Analytics correctly.
- Make sure your site is 100% tracked
- Google gives good instructions on how to copy and paste its analytics code snippet into your web pages so follow this to the letter. If your site contains many pages or is of a more complicated nature, Google provides guidance in its Site Audit section and offers a range of solutions for automatic tag checks.
- Define your goals
- A website goal is the soul of your Google Analytics account. If you do not measure your goals the data will not provide you with any valuable insights.
- Focus on potential customers
- Websites are visited by a wide range of people and not solely your target audience. It can also be visited by your employees, competitors, service providers and friends and family! These are not the visitors you want to plan your web design or content around. You can filter out some of these visits from your data by creating filters that exclude a particular IP address range. In doing so you can easily ignore any visits made by people within your organisation or from your service provider. This will help to improve the accuracy of your data and ensure you optimise your website for a better customer experience.
- Remove unique URLs that do not contain unique content
- One of the interesting things we learn from using Google Analytics is the way it reports back on content consumption and the navigation between your site pages. Websites can use unique URLs that refer to the same page so if you have more than one URL that points to the same page, remove any duplicates to improve the accuracy of your reporting.
- Remove any duplicate pages
- When it comes to URLs, Google Analytics is case sensitive. That means that www.example.com/HOME and www.example.com/home would be recognised as two separate pages and this would result in your data being duplicated.
- Track multiple domains efficiently
- Many companies use multiple domains and subdomains to organise their website content, but if this is not set up correctly it can reduce the accuracy of your data collection. Google offers lots of advice on how to set up your account for multiple domains.
- Measure ALL user interaction
- Two of the most important variables you can read in Google Analytics are Bounce Rate and Time on Site. These variables tell you at which point your visitors left your site and how long they spent browsing. For example, if you have a video on your home page, you can see if the visitor watched the video and then left your site or if they clicked further into your site to find out more about you. This data is invaluable to learning about visitor behaviour and how to improve your page content and navigation.
- Understand the intent of your visitors
- A great way to understand the intent of your visitors is to study the search terms they used on your site. By using Google Analytics internal search function you can find out what visitors are searching for and whether your site is yielding the right results. You can then target your pages with content to better improve the visitor experience and help them find what they need when they arrive on your site.
- Implement campaign tracking
- If you are using a number of acquisition techniques including banners, email marketing, social networking, and PPC campaigns it’s important to know that Google Analytics will only recognise organic search data, direct visits and visits that originate from referral sites. In order to track campaigns effectively, it’s important to set up your landing page links for each campaign using Google’s URL builder. For example, Google offers out of the box integration that helps Adwords advertisers to analyse everything from clicks to impressions and conversions.
At Jungle we offer SEO solutions that include analysing your website and helping it to perform at its very best. We use many of the techniques above amongst others to ensure your Google Analytics data is accurate and helps to improve your conversion rate.