The 4 Most Overlooked Items During Google Analytics Setup
Google Analytics offers incredible insights on your site visitors, and the data it provides helps you make the most optimal business decisions. That being said, there are countless items in Analytics that usually end up overlooked when a new site is launched. If you want the cleanest, most relevant data possible from your Google Analytics, here are four key items to pay attention to during your setup.
1. Site Search
An easily overlooked Analytics option, site search can provide invaluable data on how your users are utilizing your internal search. Setting this up is a very simple process. First, perform a search on your site and then look in the resulting URL for the term you searched for. The string between the "?" and and "=" is the query parameter. In the case of Delegator.com, the query parameter is "s", as seen below. Now that you know your query parameter, head over to the Admin panel in Google Analytics and click "View Settings" at the Profile level. Towards the bottom, you will see what's in the screenshot below. Just check the box for "Do track Site Search", enter your query parameter, click Apply, and you're good to go!
2. IP Filters
Decisions are best made when backed by accurate, meaningful data. There's no quicker way to muddle your Google Analytics data than to ignore its awesome filter options, specifically IP filters. A common best practice is to exclude the IP addresses of anyone on your team who is regularly on your site, so you're not skewing your data.
To find out your IP address, just visit WhatIsMyIP.com and record the IP address it returns. Next, head over to the Admin panel in Google Analytics and click on "Filters" at the Profile level, then click on "New Filter". Enter in a name for the filter and follow the layout in the screenshot below, inserting the IP address you recorded earlier. Then, just click save and you're done! Repeat this process as needed for more employees or internal computers.
3. Linking AdWords & Webmaster Tools
As simple as these two items are, I've seen them overlooked time and time again in Analytics audits. If you don't link your AdWords account to Analytics, you are flying blind on your AdWords spend with respect to on-site metrics and ecommerce data. Don't be that guy - it's foolish to ignore such juicy, free data. Google walks you through the process in very clear detail here.
While you're at it, linking your Webmaster Tools is a very simple process as well, outlined here. This lets you view Webmaster tool data within the Analytics interface, which is a lot more streamlined and easier to navigate.
4. Missing/Inaccurate Ecommerce Tracking
There are few things more frustrating in Google Analytics than having no ecommerce data for an ecommerce website. Setting up ecommerce tracking is a tricky piece that will most certainly require a developer to help implement, but it is absolutely invaluable to your long-term success. If you don't have crystal clear transparency on how much revenue your various traffic sources are driving to your site then you are making suboptimal decisions, plain and simple.
These four items only represent a small portion of what often gets overlooked with your average Google Analytics setup. There are countless things you can do with remarketing lists and custom metrics. Same can be said for custom dashboards, reports, and advanced segments. The moral of the story? Don't be content with "Vanilla Analytics". Get out there and make your GA data more accurate and relevant!