12 Deadly Google Analytics Mistakes To Avoid
1. Not Installing Google Analytics
The biggest mistake is not installing it in the first place. It’s free so why not use it. If you have a comparable piece of software that’s fine, though odds are it’s alot more expensive. If you have any suggestions as alternatives leave a comment at the bottom.
2. Not Monitoring the Reports
Another mistake is having it installed and just ignoring the information and doing everything on a whim. No one pays attention to the information and all website development, updates and changes are made without even looking at the information and what it tells you. You might just delete a page or section of the site that users found engaging and that was driving plenty of conversions.
3. Not Owning Your Analytics Account
I see this all the time. The Google Analytics account belongs to the web agency, and they’ve set your analytics login under their account where all their 100’s of client accounts reside. You have no admin details and just user read and analyse access. Someday you’ll not be able to get hold of the web agency, they’ll be gone. There’ll not be much you can do and all the years of historical data may be lost.
You should own your Google Analytics account and have full admin rights to your account. Web agencies should create an individual account for each client.
4. Not filtering out IP addresses or test pages
Make sure if the web developer is quickly doing an online test, that he filters out testing pages. So if he’s working on a test page default-test.php, make sure that page is excluded, and his 100 tests don’t skew the amount of sessions you’ve had.
Also make sure the IP addresses of your team, your developers or outside agencies are excluded, again so you don’t skew results.
5. Make sure to create a backup View of raw data
When I’m working on sites, I tend to create a number of views. There’ll be a raw view that doesn’t have anything filtered out and collects all the data, and there’ll be a ‘main’ view that has IP addresses and junk spam visitor sessions amongst other things filtered out.
The raw view acts as a backup, should there ever be an issue or mistake with the ‘main’ view.
I think Google now in there wisdom has created a rubbish bin, just in case you delete any views.
6. Don’t forget to set up Goals and Events
Google Analytics set up and running without Goals and Event tracking isn’t meaningless, but it’s certainly not using GA to it’s fullest. You need to identify what’s important to your business and keep track of what people do on the site. For instance tracking sales as a goal conversion, will make it easy to view all sales, where the sales came from, how much you make from the sales, see what the best sellers are and make business decisions based on that information. You may decide to put your best sellers on the homepage or make them more prominent in the category. With ecommerce tracking configured you can easily see all the sales information.
7. Segment Your Data
If you just view all your information in one block, you’ll not be able to differentiate between the different sources of traffic. Use Google Analytics advanced segmentation and compare how different sources of traffic such as traffic from Google Organic, Google Adwords or referrals do. You can also compare mobile, desktop and tablet and judge how users find the experience on different devices.
8. Use Annotations
It’s helpful to know when something on the site was changed. Make use of annotations so it’s easier to track, and it makes it easier to do comparisons. Using Annotations also makes life easier for others who come along, these annotation comments be invaluable as to what was implemented and when.
9. Make use of Custom Alerts
Not setting a custom alert can be an issue if you don’t log into your Google Analytics on a daily or regular basis. There are a number of alerts you can set up so that you get an email notification when a problem arises.
Once such alert can be set if your traffic for a 24hr period is 0.
10. Link Adwords and Webmaster Tools
Make sure you link all your Google Webmaster Tools and Adwords Accounts with your Analytics. This allows you to view the search engine optimization report in Analytics and see what keywords you’re getting traffic on, or you can view some additional metrics in Adwords and see the bounce rate and pages per session on your Adwords traffic.
11. Test To Make Sure Google Analytics is Installed
ScreamingFrog let’s you test all your webpages to make sure that your Google Analytics code is present. There are a number of tutorials on the internet that will show you how to search your site for custom code.
12. Don’t Forget Campaign Tagging For Email marketing and Banner Ads
If you’re not adding tracking code to email marketing and banner ads then it’s very difficult to assess the performance your marketing.
Use Google’s link builder to track campaigns
Michael Wall is an experienced SEO & Google Adwords specialist with over 14yrs and 10yrs respectively. He enjoys all things related to search, helping clients and runs CodefixerSoftware.