How to Set Up Google Analytics : The Complete Guide

How to Set Up Google Analytics

If you have Google Analytics set up on your website, you are one of the tens of millions of websites using the most popular analytics tool on the internet. Our Set Up Google Analytics post and video may help you confirm that its set up properly.

If youre not installed, youre only two clicks away. This is the complete guide to setup Google Analytics quickly for the most accurate and reliable reporting.

Lets tackle a few simple questions, and then well go over the step-by step instructions. Before that, heres the entire video:

How does Google Analytics work? What does it track?

As of right now, as this page was loading it, a tiny piece of Javascript was activated. It was able to talk to 5 tiny cookie that were stored on the device. It then sent the information back to Google and stored the data inside the Google Analytics (GA) accounts.

With this clever mix of Javascript with cookies, Analytics could track that the page was visited.

Its unclear who visited the page or what they were looking at. Its not clear the length of time they spent on the page, unless they moved to another page and then triggered this Javascript again.

Theres a lot Google Analytics does not track, and theres lots of incorrect information in Google Analytics.

How to Set Up Google Analytics 1

In default, it doesnt record anything, except for when the pages start loading. Therefore, anything non-pageview interactions is not monitored unless you choose to use event tracking. But this is a subject for an additional article.

Heres a brief list of 16 kinds of clicks that arent tracked on Google Analytics.

Theres a lot that it does not know. Its still a great method to monitor the number of visits and behaviour. Whats the cost? Nothing. Google Analytics is free.

Lets get our GA setup correctly! Lets attempt to complete everything in just 52 clicks. Its easy, isnt it? Lets go.

But first…

The Analytics JavaScript should be included on every page on your site, on the Tag section of the code.

Over the years, marketers have added their Google Analytics tracking code using an extension in their CMS systems for managing content.

Today, the most effective way to include (and maintain) your code to Google Analytics (and every other tracking tag) is to use Google Tag Manager.

It is necessary to enter your Universal Analytics Number (UA-XXXXXX) which is located within the Google Analytics property into Google Tag Manager (GTM), and then you can add your GTM codes to your site. Find more information here..

1. How to set up goals in Google Analytics

When a user performs an action that they take, the visitor will convert into a lead or subscriber, registrant or job seeker or donor, for example. Each conversion is a successful one for the brand as well as the website. Because websites are built differently, Google Analytics doesnt know what success means. We have to define the difference.

Heres how to set up each type of conversion as a goal in 12 clicks:

Note: Were going to create destination goals, which are thank you pages or receipt pages for ecommerce. If visitors who take actions see a thank you message, rather than a separate thank you page with its own URL, setting up goals wont be so simple. Youll need to set up event tracking. There are at least 14 other good reasons to have thank you pages.

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  1. Click the gear icon in the bottom left to go to the Admin section
  2. Under View in the right-hand column, click Goals
  3. Click the big red New Goal button at the top
  4. Enter in the name of your goal. For example: Contact Lead or Newsletter Subscriber
  5. Under Type select Destination then click Continue
  6. In the Goal Details section, enter the web address of your thank you page. Notice the suggestion under the field. Dont enter the full URL with the domain name. Just enter the address of the page, such as /thank-you
  7. Under Value switch the toggle to On and assign a monetary value to your goal, even if its arbitrary. Setting a $1 value for each goal is perfectly fine.
  8. Under Funnel switch the toggle to On.
  9. Enter the page name and URL of the contact form (ie Contact Page and /contact) then under Required? switch the toggle switch to Yes
  10. Click Save and youre all set!

Note: All kinds of things can be set up as goals in Analytics. For example, a visitor spent five minutes on the website or a visitor visited three pages. I recommend against creating these types of goals unless you have a strong reason to do so. If you create lots of these less important goals, your overall conversion rate becomes meaningless.

2. How to filter out traffic from yourself

Visit your website, and that your visit will be recorded. Your information is recorded. However, you can remove yourself by providing Analytics your IP address for the office. This is particularly important for websites with low traffic in which the traffic of websites owners can be substantial.

Heres how to create a filter in Google Analytics in 11 clicks:

  1. Click the gear icon in the bottom left to go to the Admin section
  2. Under View in the right-hand column, click Filters
  3. Click the big red Add Filter button at the top > Create new Filter
  4. Name your filter (ie Chicago Office)
  5. Now set the three dropdown menus…
    Change Select Filter Type to Exclude
    Change Select source or destination to traffic from the IP addresses
    Change Select expression to that are equal to
  6. Now enter your IP address into the box
    If you dont have this memorized (who does?) find it just by searching Google for What is my IP. Just copy and paste that number into the box.
  7. Click Save and youre done!

Once complete, the filter should look something like this:

To verify that the filter is functioning check a specific seldom visited page and examine the Real-Time report. Do you see a visitor to the page? If not it is, then the filter is not working.

Once you have it in position, Google Analytics will forever remain more precise. It is possible to testing your contact forms without impacting your conversion rate.

Important: An IP address filter works only in the event that the address for your internet connection isnt changed. If your home or office network does not have an static IP address, it is getting the latest IP each whenever you browse the internet so the filters wont function.

Additionally, if you relocate offices, switch internet providers, or reset your router your IP address could change, and youll have to upgrade your filters.

3. Exclude traffic from known bots and spiders

Why is it important to exclude spiders and robots from your website? Because they arent your ideal customers. Theyre not even human. There are many bots in the world. The IAB/ABC maintains a lengthy list of bots. As a by default Google Analytics tracks them as if theyre human. I find that odd.

Heres how to get the known robots out of your data in 3 clicks:

  1. Click the gear icon in the bottom left to go to the Admin section
  2. Under View in the third column, click on View Settings
  3. Scroll down toward the bottom to Bot Filtering
  4. Check the box next to Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders
  5. Click Save

Thats it. Your data is now more accurate.

Tip! Before you remove bot traffic or removing traffic from your workplace, create an entirely new View named Unfiltered so you can keep a reference to should you need to. Once traffic is filtering within a view, it is able to be never changed.

4. Setting up Site Search

This search box on your site is a great way for visitors to find items quickly. Its also a great listening device for you.

If youve setup the Site Search reports, youll discover what users are searching for at your site and whether its lacking important content.

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Here is how to set up the Google Analytics Site Search report in 7 clicks:

Step 1: Click the gear icon in the bottom left to go to the Admin section

Step 2: Under View in the third column, click on View Settings

Step 3: Scroll down to the Site search Tracking section. Switch the toggle to On

Step 4: Now enter your Query parameter into the box.

To determine your querys element, type in something using your tool for searching and check its URL results page. It will be displayed just after the phrase you searched for.

For instance, a search is Analytics on this blog This blog you can use the parameter query to be thes in the letter s. Other common query parameters are q search_term, and keyword.

Are you unable to find a query parameter when you browse your site? If so, it could be that you have path based programming behind your sites search. It is necessary to install an advanced filter that is fancy to find out what people are looking for.

Step 5: Leave the box next to Strip query parameters out of URL unchecked and leave the Site search categories toggle off.

Step 6: Click Save and youre good!

Once complete, it should look something like this:

Once youve set it up After establishing your website, youre only a few clicks away from determining if content is absent from your website or if something is difficult to locate and when your navigation labels are unclear. The report is also an excellent source of ideas for new blog posts.

5. Connecting Google Analytics to Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is the symbiosis tool of Google Analytics. Its an excellent source of information related to search.

However, the reports are less clear and its a good idea to link them so that you can view the GSC data inside your GA.

After youve connected, youll be able to access the following reports underAcquisition. These reports provide you with information about how your site performs on search engines.

If the two reports arent linked, the reports are empty.

If youve setup GSC with verified ownership, this is how you can link Google Search Console with Google Analytics in just 9 clicks:

Step 1: Click the gear icon in the bottom left to go to the Admin section

Step 2: Under Property in the second column, click on Property Settings

Step 3: In the Search Console section, click the Adjust Search Console button.

Step 4: From the dropdown, select the Search Console view like to associate with your Google Analytics account.

Note: If there is no dropdown, click add which will send you to GCS. As long as youre logged into an account with access to the GSC property, select the relevant account then click Save. Once you get the Add association popup, click ok. This should take you back to Google Analytics.

Step 5: Click Save.

When the process is complete, the information will not be available immediately. Keep checking back for the insights, and then perform some incredible blog optimization. If youre in a rush All the information is available within Search Console.

6. Adding Campaign Tracking code

This isnt just a once-off setting job. Its an ongoing process. Its equally important as anything else in this list, because it helps make your data more precise and more valuable.

A few aspects of what you do are intended to direct users to a certain page via a particular channel. They are referred to as campaigns. It could be an email, an advertisement an affiliate link or any other method.

If you put in a bit of more work when planning your Analytics, theyll be more efficient. If you dont do this, the people youve worked so hard to get (or you paid a lot for) will be tossed into the mix with all the other visitors.

For instance, if you mail out newsletters via email, however, you dont track this traffic with campaign tracking codes You cant view them in isolation. The email subscribers could appear in referral or direct traffic. This is not a good sign.

If you also add campaign tracking codes, all of the visitors are individually tracked and each of their conversions could be properly attributed.

The difference is in the Campaign tracking codes (aka UTM tracking code) found in the emails. The link is exactly the same however, there are three pieces of information that are added to the end of the link: source medium, and the campaigns name. Thus, a link similar to this, without tracking code:

https://website.com/article

…gets the extra UTM tracking codes at the end

https://website.com/article?utm_campaign=nov-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter

Its the same link, its just telling Google three things about where the visitor came from:

  • Medium
  • Source
  • Campaign Name

Heres how to add campaign tracking code to a link in 7 clicks:

Its possible to do this using the URL Builder of your choice. Google is of course, has one available however its not the easiest one to use. Heres a great URL Builder weve used.

  1. Enter the address of the landing page for the campaign into the URL field
  2. Enter the source: this is the specific origin of traffic (newsletter, twitter, facebook)
  3. Enter the medium: this is the specific marketing effort (fall-special, marketer-recruiting)
  4. Copy the new URL with the tracking code appended.
  5. Paste this URL into the campaign, wherever you are creating the ad, the post or the email

Tip! Always use lowercase letters. The source, medium , and campaign will show up within Google Analytics exactly as you entered it here.

After the campaign is completed the campaign is complete, all traffic generated by the campaign will be tracked in a separate manner. It will show how engaged the visitors were, and whether any of them made a purchase.

Heres a look at what the campaign report will look like for a company sending out email marketing.

Find out more about how you can monitor campaigns, and heres useful information from the author of our blog, Amanda Gant.

Warning! Dont add campaign tracking code to your site. In the event that you do so, real source (source as well as the medium) of visitors who click this hyperlink will not be revealed because the tracking code information will override the initial source.

Your Analytics are less precise. This isnt necessary. The movement of your visitors is also available in different reports.

7. Creating Annotations

The last step! Lets make a small note to let people know that weve made some changes in our analytics. So anyone who checks this account in the future will be able to be able to see what has changed.

What caused the traffic to drop? Look at this annotation, it indicates that a filter was set up.

What made the conversion rate increase? Look at this annotation, it states that a new goal was set.

Annotations make your data more interesting by telling stories. Thats the purpose of Analytics Answering questions, finding new insights, and telling stories.

Its basically a note you attach to the date. It is displayed in an overview of the reports timeline.

There are five main reasons to add annotations.

  1. Website change: updated an important page, added a feature, redesigned
  2. Analytics change: changed or added a filter or goal, excluded a query parameter, etc.
  3. Advertising change: turned ads on or off, started or stopped recruiting, etc.
  4. Email sent: sent a newsletter or promotional message
  5. Press hit / Influencer mention: Someone loves us today!

Heres how to add an annotation to Google Analytics in 3 clicks:

Step 1: Click on the tiny arrow on the tab below the timeline to open up annotations

Step 2: Click Create new annotation in the top right corner

Step 3: Choose the relevant date and type your note

Step 4: Click Save

As time passes youll accumulate many of these tiny notes. Heres a suggestion to make them easier read: begin each note with some basic words.

Make use of the bolded words in the above list to create an easy naming convention. It will make it easier to search through and find later.

Better data forever

We did it! We created Analytics with just 52 clicks but whos really counting?

Your actions today will determine what youll be doing next year. The Analytics configuration you have today will determine what you can expect from your data and insight in the coming year and beyond.

Analytics is more than a scoreboard, its a decision support tool.

If you do it right, your data will be able to tell better and more compelling stories over time. Your actions results will be evident. This was a success! It did not…

If you do it wrong, youll do a lot of digging, pondering and delving. What went wrong? Was there something wrong in this report?

If youve got Google Analytics set up on your site, youre one of the many millions of websites that use the most well-known analytics tool available on the web.

This video and post can aid you in confirming that the system is installed correctly.

If youre not installed, youre only two clicks away. This is the complete guide to install Google Analytics quickly for the most accurate and reliable reporting.

Lets answer a few basic questions and then go into the step-by-step instructions. But first, heres the complete video: