We’re a Google Analytics shop here at Alight Analytics. We’ve implemented Google Analytics on hundreds of sites. We’ve been a Google Analytics Certified Partner and Premium Reseller for a number of years. And just recently—not to toot our own horn—we’ve also become a Google Analytics Apps provider.
So, we’re sharing our top 5 tips for implementing Google Analytics on your site. These are the things you need to do in order to ensure you’re reaching peak efficiency and maximum insights with this powerful tool.
Let’s get rolling:
- Always create multiple views (one of which being an unfiltered view)
By default, Google Analytics automatically creates one unfiltered view for every property in your account. That said, it’s best practice to create multiple views, because it allows you to segment the data in different ways each with their own intended purpose.
If you have an e-commerce website, for instance, you may want to set up one view that specifically looks at visitors from a high target geographic location, another view that looks at traffic from only one store, and another that can only be seen by admins.
One important caveat: Always keep an unfiltered, unaltered view, as it’s helpful to have a clean data set should something go catastrophically wrong.
For more information on how to set up multiple views, check out Google’s support blog.
- Always filter out your internal IP address
Often a big oversight for new websites, the vast majority of the traffic comes from behind your own IP address, as you or your webmaster is likely visiting the website on a regular basis in order to assess performance and make tweaks to the site here and there. So, it’s often necessary to exclude your own IP in order to provide a more accurate view of the traffic hitting your site.
Google’s support documentation does a thorough job of laying that out.
- Always filter bot traffic
I actually wrote a pretty detailed blog traffic post not too long ago on this subject, so I won’t belabor the point. (You can read it here.) But bots suck; there’s no denying it. And while Google doesn’t necessarily provide a complete and holistic solution (for reasons detailed in the aforementioned blog post), they do offer a tool that automatically excludes a lot of this traffic from your reporting. It’s best to get rid of these nuisances early on before they skew your data to the point where you can’t gain the necessary insights into your site and marketing performance.
Here’s Google’s announcement on the bot filter feature. It provides a cursory explanation of how it works and what you need to do in order to exclude bot traffic.
- Always set up goals
Really, without goals, what’s the point of using Google Analytics?
Before you set up any goals, it’s necessary to have a broader, existential discussion on the purpose of your website. What’s the target objective of the site? Is it to drive leads? Is it to generate downloads? Is it to draw transactions? Is it to push blog content? Once you know that, goal set up is relatively easy. It’s just a matter of pulling the right levers to properly track your goals.
And in order to set up a goal based on your objective, take a look at this Google post.
- Always make sure your code is on every page
This one may sound silly, but you’d be surprised how often we see people make this mistake. So don’t be that guy (or gal).
To really make certain your code is firing from every page of your site, it’s usually best to place it in the header of your website, preferably immediately before the closing </head> tag.
If you didn’t install it this way, it’s not a huge deal, but it requires that you audit your site regularly. Luckily, Google crafted a nifty little Chrome add-on that allows you to do that: Tag Assistant by Google. It just sits on your browser and is works by skimming a page to tell you whether there is code on it.
For more information on how to apply code, check out Google’s documentation.
There you have it: Our top 5 tips for Google Analytics implementation. If you’re curious to learn more, as this is by no means an exhaustive list, please hit us up on our contact page. We’re happy to share more insights.