Google Analytics is an easy and necessary program to install for any website owner. A robust analytics program allows website owners to analyze specific areas of traffic to their website and track goals and sales to the knowledge of where your visitors exit the website.
To setup a Google Analytics account, create a Google account and then navigate to the Analytic portion (www.google.com/analytics) to register your website. You can also grant additional users access to your website profile by typing in their email in the + New User tab of the admin page. The first step is to accurately place tracking code on every page of your website so that Google Analytics can accurately track traffic to your webpage.
Understanding how Google Analytics works will allow you to more accurately track traffic to your webpages. There are a number of tools Google Analytics uses, which allows it to accurately and efficiently track SEO success. This includes tracking goals, adding filters to analytics results, tracking external clicks and, most importantly, tracking keywords that drive traffic and increase E-commerce.
Setting up and tracking goals for specific webpages can help you monitor which keywords are driving in traffic; any goal action can be traced back to the original source. For example, if people are using your website to access a certain page, such as a contract page or a subscription page, this allows you to track certain keywords associated with goals and target them more aggressively.
There are three types of goal matches: head, exact, and regular expression. Head matches include identical characters starting from the beginning of the string up to and including the last character of the string you specify. This is helpful for URLs that are unvarying and include parameters at the end you wish to exclude.
Exact matches include every exact character in the URL, without exception, and is used when URLs are easy to read and don’t vary. A regular expression uses special characters to enable flexible matching and is useful when stem and trailing characters can vary in URLs for the same page.
Google Analytics’ filters allow you to track pages separately and even allow you to exclude your own IP address from tracking, which may skew results. When adding an IP address to filters use regular expressions as they are commonly used when performing textual data manipulation tasks. If the filter is going to be used for additional website profiles you can simply add it to other websites through the Filter Manager.
You can also exclude traffic reporting from a particular domain. This is important if you are the owner of a company and you don’t want traffic from your coworkers to be included in the report; for it’s not a true barometer of SEO growth. This may also skew important reporting data, such as average time on site and visitor loyalty, so it’s helpful to exclude certain networks from reporting. One neat trick to experiment with is creating two profiles; one with and another without the ISP filter. This will give you a clearer view of the traffic that goes to your site. The traffic increase from the unfiltered version should equal the amount of traffic you are gathering from your local ISP.
In order to track specific directories, it is easier to create a separate website profile. This process allows you to include or exclude specific pages from tracking. This is useful for websites that include multiple categories or themes. This is valuable information for negotiating rates with potential advertisers.
If you’re setting up traffic trades it’s important to track external clicks and bounce rates between pages. A bounce occurs when visitors leave your website without viewing other pages. If you have numerous external links than it’s important to track the correlation between bounce rates and specific external links.
Tracking keywords and your ecommerce come hand-in-hand and are invaluable tools for SEO, PPC’s, and media campaigns. By tracking where your website ranks in terms of specific keywords, you can gather which keywords are already working for your website and which are not. This allows you to target specific keywords that drive traffic to your website and ensure success in your SEO campaign.
By accessing Google and Yahoo pages, you can gather hits on a number of keywords viewers have been searching for. Most likely, analytics’ reports will uncover keywords your website has been marketing for, but will also uncover words that can greatly improve your website’s performance. These reports also give access to information on hits, goal conversions, and the e-commerce value of individual keywords.
When viewing keyword reports, limit yourself to analyzing at least 30 days of historical data or more. This time range gives the most accurate view of the potential in your referring keywords. Sometimes isolated conversations occur and are not indicative of larger patterns. For example, a keyword may drive 40 visitors one day and then 5 then next. Larger time frames give you a much more accurate estimate of the actual traffic volume and value.
If your website sells products, Google Analytics allows you to track purchases back from the original source of the visit. To properly gauge traffic sources, it is important to analyze all e-commerce website transactions. This allows you to attach a dollar value to each keyword that brings you visitors. By tracking this information you can gather which keywords are driving traffic to specific purchases and push to extract more traffic from these sources to ensure higher profits. After you set up Google Analytics to track this information, a month should be sufficient time to accurately collect meaningful data.
Another way to track e-commerce purchases is to insert tracking code on your Thank You page. The variables you use for the tracking code will depend on the shopping cart software you use. The basic idea of tracking, while using third party software, is to get information about the sale transferred from the remote cart back to your website. If you use a third party for shopping cart software, contact the company and ask them to identify the variables for you. If your third-party shopping cart is unable to allow you to set up Google Analytics to track your sales, you should consider using another e-commerce shopping cart provider or hosting your own shopping cart. Consider what kind of service you are paying for that wouldn’t allow you to use the largest and most encompassing free analytics tool. Though it can be a bit of work, hosting your own shopping cart makes tracking transactions easier.
Google Analytics also allows you to get automated email reports of the information you wish to analyze in a number of formats, including PDF and CSV. If you wish to create a separate archive of your website’s progression, setting up automatic e-mail reports, at a regulated frequency, can prove to be a fruitful tool for SEO marketing.
This is also useful in providing progress reports to clients involved with your company on your website’s page views, but not revenue or traffic sources. PDF is an ideal format for printed reports and XML, CSV, and TSV are ideal formats for building long-term databases for your website statistics.
Google Analytics Academy – Directions
1.Placing Tracking Code
To accurately place tracking code on each webpage you must sign into your Google Analytics account. Once you click on the relevant profile, the reporting tool should appear. Click on the Admin button to gain access to settings. Click on the Tracking Info. Tab and the Google Analytics Tracking Code page should appear.
At the bottom is your tracking code and you will take that code and copy and paste it into each webpage directly before the </head> tag. It is crucial to complete these steps carefully and to receive the most accurate information. It is advised to install tracking code on every page of your website. By clicking on the Tracking Info tab of the Admin page you will see if the tracking code was installed successfully; this will be indicated if the status is “Receiving Data”
- Set Conversion Goals
This is a relatively straightforward process. In the settings/Admin page of your Google Analytics account you will simply click the profile which you are adding the goal. Then click the Goals tab and then click + Goal, right beneath, which will give you access to the Google Analytics Goal page.
Give the Goal Name a relevant name, such as Contact Page. Then select the Goal Type, such as URL Destination (URL destination allows you to specify a page with its own URL as a goal; You can check how many people viewed the page and how they arrived). Enter your goal URL; this URL will act as the beginning of your conversion goal cycle. Select the match type based on your individual goals and click save. You can choose to make this case sensitive if you wish and you can choose a goal value and set up a goal funnel during the process.
- Exclude Your IP Address With Filters
To exclude your own IP address from tracking, go to the Admin page of your Google Analytics profile. Click on the Filters tab and then click + New Filter, which will bring up the Adds Filter to Profile page. After giving the filter an appropriate name (ex. Internal Traffic), you will leave the Predefined filter option selected and select Exclude traffic from the IP address that are equal to in the three columns. Underneath you will type in your IP address in the relevant field.
- Exclude Traffic From a Particular Domain
This process is virtually the same as the process of excluding your own IP address from the analytics results and you will follow the same steps, which led you to the Add Filter to Profile Page. After giving the filter an appropriate name (ex. google.com) and leaving the Predefined filter tab selected, you will select Exclude traffic from the ISP domain that are equal to and enter the domain name in the corresponding column underneath.
- Include Only Certain Directories
On the Admin page of the Google Analytics profile click on the Filters tab and then click + New Filter. Give the filter an appropriate name that avoids confusion for your master domain profile. This can avoid confusion and prevent other users from gaining access to restricted information. Leave the Predefined Filter option selected and select Include only traffic to subdirectories that are equal to the subdirectories that are equal to in the Filter Types menus. Enter the name in the subdirectory you wish to include and leave the Case sensitive option selected no and then save. It’s advisable that you create a new website profile for any page you wish to track separately. This can be done by clicking + New Profile on the Profiles page. You can apply the appropriate filter from there.
- Track External Links
Open the source file for the page that contains the external link you want to track and locate the link. Insert onClick=”recordOutboundLink (this, ‘Outbound Links’, ‘example.com’); return false;”. following the end of the link. The best practice for separating links is to use the URL names, as opposed to website names, to avoid confusion and distinguish where you have sent visitors on another domain. After 24-48 hours you can track website statistics by clicking Content on the sidebar and selecting the Events Overview page. Clicks on the tracked outbound links are then logged as Event Actions with their respective labels.
- Automate Reporting
Go to your Google Analytics account and click on the relevant profile. Click email. Type in the email you wish the automated reporting to go to (Separate different email addresses with commas). Fill in the relevant information, such as subject line, file type, the frequency with which you would like the report to be sent, and a relevant body message.
Google analytics sends information up until the last fully completed day and does not include any data from the current day it is sent. Click Send. To delete or edit emails, go to the Admin page and click on the Assets tab. Click Scheduled Emails and a list of Scheduled Emails will be available to edit. Within Scheduled Emails you will be able to add or remove email recipients as well as delete any Scheduled Email by clicking on the Actions menu from the schedule you want to do delete and simply clicking Delete. Deleting emails will be effective immediately.
- Using Analytics to Analyze Keywords
Click on the Reporting tool within your Google Analytics profile and visit Search Engine Optimization>Queries. If your account is linked to your Search Console, you’ll be able to see the top keywords for your site. Dig deep here – see what you’re ranking for and find see what you are missing out on.
- Set Up E-Commerce Tracking
Go to the Admin page of the relevant Google Analytics profile. Click the name of the profile you will track E-commerce data from and the Google Analytics Profile Management page will appear. Click the Profile Setting tab and then a General Information page should appear. Under E-Commerce Settings, click yes and then click Apply. After sufficient time has passed you can view E-commerce reports within your Google Analytics profile. On the bottom right corner your sales sources will be listed and you should click any of the sources that are search engines. By using Google Organics you will be provided a full list of your top keywords. Click the Revenue column to sort keywords based on the amount of revenue each earned.
- Insert Tracking Code on your Thank You Page
Ensure the regular Google Analytics tracking code is correctly installed on the thank you page. Below the regular tracking code paste the portion of code that catches the variables from your shopping cart. You must replace the placeholders inside the brackets with the actual variables for whichever shopping cart your site is using. Don’t include the brackets within your final code. You should place an empty placeholder for unspecified arguments to avoid errors. While not required, it’s a good idea to call _trackPageview on your receipt page if you want to associate that particular page with the transaction data.