5 Easy Ways to Make Google Analytics YOURS
Google Analytics can be a pretty intimidating tool.
There are buttons on top of buttons. Filters within filters. The snozzberries even taste like snozzberries.
Oh, sorry. I promised no Willy Wonka references.
The real power in the analytics tool comes with customization and configuration. This might scare away some small business owners and novice users but fear not. I have some easy tips to help make your Google Analytics work better for you and your business.
Are you your website’s biggest fan? There is a good chance you are. If you are actively making updates, you often check to see how the edits look on your site. Every page load acts as a new pageview. Throughout the month, you’ve added numerous sessions and user counts that won’t ever translate to sales. This is why you should always filter internal traffic.
Filter Traffic from Employees and Offices
There are some built-in tips for many web platforms (like WordPress) that can filter out the hits when you are logged in, but this doesn’t default for every account. You want to filter by IP addresses. You can do single IP addresses or an entire range. It’s not a very difficult process.
Filter from known bots and spam
This can be a little more complex, but still some easy solutions. I have a feeling that that Amazon Bot from Ashburn, NC is not coming to your location to order pizza. We probably shouldn’t track their data when we try and gauge our success.
When you install Google Analytics, you get a tracking code to put on your website. This one tag pulls all of that lovely information into their dashboard. You, however, have the ability to segment that data into different views. For instance, you can make a view for all of your raw data (without employee and spam filters). You can also have a view that only grabs your Google Search Traffic.
Often you create several views by default:
- Master Data – with filters
- Test – used for testing filters, goals, and events
- Raw – Google Analytics as is
Creating views can help you easily review the data that is important to you.
That backslash at the end of each website url can be a pain. Do you type this in when you visit a website? Yeah, I don’t imagine many do. But guess what, GA will treat the .com and the .com/ as separate pages.
When you want to see how many times your Bellaire location was visited, you will have to add your .com/bellaire and .com/bellaire/ together. This isn’t very helpful. Good thing there is a way to fix this.
The trailing backslash learned his ways of annoyance at the same school as UPPERCASE and lowercase. Once again, the same website can be viewed differently based on capitalization. Let’s look at one location site:
Right away, you see that we have some wonderful problems trying to get a total. All four options are logical and correct – yet we just want one version.
It is common to force all URLs to be lowercase to avoid this hassle.
Link Search Console
Google Analytics is free and just requires a Gmail account. If you already have that Gmail account, go ahead and get another free tool from Google – Search Console. Formerly called Webmaster Tools, this is an amazing tool when synced up with GA.
What does Search Console do for you? Have you ever wondered what people typed in to find your website? Search Console provides the answers. Although it doesn’t always translate well in Google Analytics, you can visit the Search Console website for a list of impressions, clicks, pages, locations, etc…
Having these tools linked can help you determine what pages are being found and what terms/keywords you should target for additional content (low-hanging fruit).
Google Analytics Should be Customized
These five tips are just the beginning of customizing your data. The more accurate and true you can get your traffic, the better you can help your customers and bottom-line. Just because your Grandma is visiting your site to read all of your latest blogs doesn’t mean that spike in traffic from Shadyside is from a billboard. Get that clean data and let the analytics tell you a story.