When on-boarding a new client, there is a lot that needs to get done. Usually the list includes a tech audit, reviewing content, and combing through back links to name a few tasks. A review of the analytics implementation is often overlooked though.
If you don't review how the analytics account is set up, you could set yourself up to waste a lot of time down the road, even finding yourself investigating an organic traffic drop that doesn't exist.
Below is my Google Analytics checklist that I review when starting a new account. Many of these items joined the checklist as the result of previous "learning experiences." My hope is that this list will help you avoid those same experiences.
Exclude internal IP addresses
• If we don't exclude internal and partner IP addresses, we will over-report traffic and reduce our conversion rate. • To implement, go to Admin > Filters (in the appropriate view) > New Filter. • Documentation can be found here.
Pro Tip: Create a copy of the profile, and apply the filter to that copy. If your filter creates a problem, you won’t be able to get back any lost data, so it’s nice to have a backup.
Google Analytics code on all pages
• If GA code is missing from pages, we will get incorrect site engagement metrics and misappropriated conversion data. A quick way to check this is to look at your referrals report. Do you have any self-referrals? • It is not uncommon for pages in the checkout process to not include GA code. If this is the case, you will see almost all conversions are from "referral" or "direct." • To check this more thoroughly, fire up Screaming Frog and update the custom field to check for the proper UA ID
UA account is only listed one time
• Running two GA codes simultaneously is ok. Two instances of the same code is not. • The two separate instances of Track Pageviews will mess up metrics such as pageviews, time on site, bounce rate, and pages per visit. • The best way to find this one is to pull up the source code and search for "ua-".
• If you don't have auto tagging enabled, odds are your paid search traffic is showing up in Google Analytics as organic traffic • To check the status of auto tagging, log into your AdWords account, go to Account Settings, and then to Preferences. • Documentation can be found here.
• If you're not including UTM parameters in your non-Google paid campaigns, the traffic is most likely being counted as organic search visits. • Google Analytics interprets utm_medium=cpc and utm_medium=ppc as paid search traffic, so one of these should be used for the medium. • Documentation can be found here.
Vanity domains redirect using UTM parameters
• This will allow you to easily attribute visits and conversions from the vanity domain to the campaign associated with the vanity domain
Email campaign links use UTM parameters
• This will allow you to properly attribute visits and conversions to the right email marketing effort
Conversions and interactions
Set up goals
• This should be a wide range of activities such as purchases, contact form completions, creating an account, time on site, signing up for a newsletter, etc. • Associate monetary value with these goals if possible. • Documentation can be found here.
Set up e-commerce tracking
• Ecommerce tracking will allow you to understand not only how much revenue you're making but what channels are responsible for driving revenue • Documentation can be found here.
Set up event tracking
• Event tracking is a simple way to track how users are interacting with your site. • You can track just about anything such as videos played, submitted forms, if people scroll through your content, or downloads. • Here's an overview of event tracking from the SEER blog. • Further documentation can be found here.
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