Thriving and being successful online means using tools that provide insights on how to steer and shape your business successfully. You can use Google Analytics to analyze and understand what your customers want to provide them with a better experience and service. When we develop business websites for our clients, one of the most common issues we run into is most businesses have no idea where their traffic comes from.
This article helps the newbie or the overwhelmed business owner to understand Google Analytics more by presenting facts in a checklist. This complete Google Analytics checklist simplifies the entire process, so you become more focused on more pressing tasks.
Why Is a Google Analytics Checklist Important for Business Websites?
Google gives you full control of your website analytics by providing you with reports and allowing you to create marketing funnels, among others. As you get to learn more about how to set up Google Analytics, you’ll understand how to optimize pages to hook your subscribers or which pages are more likely to become lead magnets.
Google Analytics can be quite overwhelming, especially for the newbie. There are so many features and reports you can tap into Google Analytics for buyer assessment. However, these would remain useless unless you create a system that highlights what needs to be done and optimizes the ones already working.
What Your Google Analytics Checklist Should Include
Your Google Analytics data is crucial when making a business decision based on reports. Google Analytics provides valuable insights that can help shape or improve your online business. Here is the Google Analytics checklist for small websites:
Set Up Your Domain
The domain is the single most important thing when using Google Analytics because this is the venue where everything is tracked, measured, and analyzed. Google Analytics is designed to track a single domain or its subdomain as long as there isn’t any information sharing between domains or subdomains.
Set Up Your Google Analytics Account
Make sure that you already have a Google account so you can set up your Google Analytics account. Without the former, you can’t access a lot of Google products that come free together with your Google Analytics tool. Take note that the Google account does not automatically sign you up with Google Analytics. You should register for the latter independently, albeit, a simple process.
To track everything, an Analytics account is needed, whether it is assigned to you or made that account yourself. A single Analytics account can track several properties. You only need one Google account to access several Google Analytics accounts. The process is fairly simple when you only have to track a single account; however, when you want to set up several Analytics account, here’s what you need to remember:
- A single Analytics account can have up to 50 properties, with each property up to 25 views.
- You can track all the properties of a single property, given you have access.
- Once you have an account in Analytics, you are assigned a unique ID and global site tag dedicated to that account. The global site tag is a set of codes that allows you to track and measure page performance. This tag should be pasted on each page you wish to track.
How to Find the Global Tracking ID and Global Site Tag
- Log in to your Analytics account.
- Go to the Admin Section
- Look for the Account column. Choose which account to use.
- Under the Property section, find Tracking Info. In there, you can find the Tracking Code. Click it.
- Your Tracking ID is at the top of the page while your global site tag is inside a textbox located in the Website Tracking section.
Have You Checked for Other Scripts on Your Page
Usually, you can receive reports 24 hours after installing the Google Analytics tag. If you haven’t experienced this, then consider that you may have other scripts on your page that affect the report displays. Check if you have other codes that conflict with the ones being used by Google Analytics. As a cross-reference, use this list for all the variables used by Analytics as tags.
Check for Excluded Bots in Google Analytics
You can filter bots and spiders from your sessions by clicking on this feature under the View column in the Admin section of Google Analytics. By ticking the checkbox to ‘exclude all hits from known bots and spiders,’ ‘you filter the bots from the Analytics results. This results in identifying the real “visitors” of your website. You might discover a drop in your traffic but this number, more or less, represents the number of actual visitors. So, you have a more accurate traffic measurement. For your reference, you can check the International Spiders & Bos List for all acknowledged bots.
Check for Registration Drop Events
Always track your list-building events. Check if there is a sudden shift of statistics of these could mean that the event tracking has been changed or Google Analytics is collecting data incorrectly.
Ensure to Exclude Internal Traffic from Analytics
Having website traffic, both internally and externally, can alter your Google Analytics results. A more accurate result comes from external traffic. That being said, you should exclude from your analyses those website traffic coming from within.
Check Audience Language
You’ll miss out on opportunities if you don’t configure your audience languages. Getting your message understood completely might be a struggle when you don’t speak your audience’s language. Ensure that you configure your language settings to the ones your customers understand to target your audience better.
Check Behavior Flow Report
The Behavior Flow report shows your user engagement and how they move from one page to another. This report also shows your content issues, such as why your customer goes straight to checkout and not continue shopping first or what events can trigger a buyer to purchase.
How to Access the Behavior Flow Report
The first two below are requirements to make your Behavior Flow report more organized. If you have these two established already, you can proceed to the third process.
- Set up Events.
- Set up Content Groupings
- Sign in to Google Analytics
- Access Admin to open Reports
- Click Behavior
- Choose Behavior Flow
Analyze the Behavior Flow Report
The Behavior Flow report has several elements to note. Understanding them is important, as this helps you read this report much easier.
This represents the traffic flow.
- If it’s in the first column of Pages or Events view, it means the starting point
- If found in the Pages or Pages and Event view, it represents a single page,r collection of pages or an Event such as a video play
- If found in the Content Grouping view, you grouped pages and events using tracking code
Nodes are color-coded. Check on each node to see how traffic goes
- Green- represents page nodes
- Blue- represents event nodes
- White- represents dimension nodes
This represents the path and traffic of nodes. Checking the connection shows how much traffic flows through.
This represents where the user has stopped triggering another Event. Exit does not mean the user left the site.
Is Your Google Analytics Already Linked with Google Search Console?
You need to integrate your Google Search Console to your Google Analytics, so you include your Google Search Console data into the Analytics report. While Google Analytics focuses on how traffic behaves on your website, Google Search Console analyzes search result metrics. With Google Search Console, you can easily identify problem areas where you can increase visitor interaction and visibility.
How to Enable Search Console Data on Google Analytics
You need to be the administrator for Google Search Console and Google Analytics to do this. Link these two; you must open the Admin section of your Google Analytics account. Pick the ones you wish to share with Google Search Console. Click the Property Settings in the Property Section. Look for Search Console Settings.
If you have already verified your website URL, you can find it there. Otherwise, you need to add the site URL in your Google Search Console manually. Don’t forget to click save. Note that the historical Search Control data depend on the date of creation of the Analytics view and the date of site verification.
Is Your Google Analytics Integrated?
Making sure that your Google Analytics is properly set up and integrated is one of the most important goals of your Google Analytics setup checklist. After you’ve signed up your Analytics account, you create a property. This is the repository of data collected. Within each property, you should set up a reporting view. This filters the data. Add the tracking code to your website. This allows you to gather information and add it to the Analytics property.
Use Filter to 1 Page per Session
Bounce rates are considered a ranking factor, so when your visitors return to the SERPs from your web pages, you should expect that these actions can affect your ranking on Google. While bouncing back to the search engine page results is a normal phenomenon, returning to the SERPs and clicking competitor web pages is a negative sign.
Your main goal is to keep your users engaged and interested in your content. You must keep the one page per single session ratio to do this.
Have You Checked Your Average Session Duration?
The average session duration equates to the total time of all sessions over the number of sessions in a timeframe you specified. The Average Session duration allows you to compare the time length users interact on your website with industry standards. This proportion helps you adjust parameters and factors to improve website performance.
Two kinds of sessions can occur on the website:
- Average Session Duration
Refers to the average duration in a given period
- Individual Session Duration
Refers duration of engagement hits per session
Have You Checked the Mobile App Overview Report?
You use the Mobile App Overview report as part of your Google Analytics checklist for small websites that use apps. Use this to see the important points from the Mobile App Analytics reports, the integrity of your app and keep in track with the recent data trends. The Mobile App Overview report can be shared using several formats, including CSV and PDF.
Have You Checked Your Filter Settings?
Ensure that your filter settings are placed correctly because this can affect the data you see in your reports. Be wary when you are using several Include filters. Using multiple Include filters means everything must match to save the hit. Data discrepancies can also happen when you combine manual and auto-tagging.
Have You Checked Audience Genders?
For a complete Google Analytics setup checklist, you should also check your demographics, including age and gender. Using the gender metric, you can tailor your ads, content, and other forms of advertising.
Here are the takeaways for your demographics data
- You should enable the Advertising Report features first
- You should enable Demographics and Interest reports, too
- Your demographics data is a representation of a subset of the user population and not the entire traffic
- Google Analytics cannot collect data if there is no activity profile, DoubleClick cookie, or Device Advertising ID
- Gender metrics can break down Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions metrics.
- Gender is first broken down by age groups, followed by interest.
Track Promotions in Google Analytics
To track your campaigns and other projects, add a utm_code to the destination URLs. You cannot only become updated with how efficient your campaigns are, but you can also check which of these projects are more effective for your audienc