How To | 3 Steps to Set Up Google Analytics to Track Site Performance
Companies who are using their website to drive business should be using Google Analytics to track their site performance.
I am often surprised by how many companies don’t use Google Analytics properly or don't use it at all. It's free, it provides really incredible insight into your site performance, and is super easy to set up. Seriously, this is basic marketing 101.
Why should you use Google Analytics
Understand the performance of your site:
When I say this, I really do mean the basics.
- Are people visiting your site?
- How many are there?
- Where are they coming from?
- What content are they looking at?
The ability to answer these very basic questions provide you with data that will help you to:
- Benchmark your marketing performance
- Understand what information people care about reading on your site
- Determine which sources people are coming to your site from
- Know which sources deliver the best visitors
With this insight, you will be able to make better marketing investment decisions. Then by adding in data from Google Search Console, your measurement powers become even stronger!
When I start working with a client, I set up the foundational tracking systems for their site. Here's my checklist for setting up site performance systems.
1. Set up and install Google Analytics on the client's site. (Time Required: 10 Minutes)
This is incredibly easy. Simply go to Google.com/Analytics and create a new profile. Once the profile is created, Google gives you a tracking code that you or your site developer will copy/paste into the <head> section of your site.
2. Set up Google Search Console (Time Required: 5 Minutes)
Google Search Console, integrates with Google Analytics and provides incredible insight to enable you to optimize your site. Here are a few of the benefits of Search Console (taken from Google's support page):
- Make sure that Google can access your content
- Submit new content for crawling and remove content you don't want shown in search results
- Create and monitor content that delivers visually engaging search results
- Maintain your site with minimal disruption to search performance
- Monitor and resolve malware or spam issues so your site stays clean
Discover how Google Search—and the world—sees your site:
- Which queries caused your site to appear in search results?
- Did some queries result in more traffic to your site than others?
- Are your product prices, company contact info, or events highlighted in rich search results?
- Which sites are linking to your website?
- Is your mobile site performing well for visitors searching on mobile?
So! To set this up, it's simple—just visit Google.com/Webmasters and select Search Console. From there simply follow the prompts and when you're asked to "Verify" your site, select the "Advanced" options. Choose to "Verify with Google Analytics" Since you've already set Google Analytics up, you don't have to do anything technical.
Now that you have activated Google Analytics and the Search Console, these systems will begin gathering information for you. In order to make sure that you have clean data, I take a simple step:
3. Filter out internal site visits (10 minutes to an hour, depending on your IP structure)
If you're like me, you probably visit your own website a dozen times per day. I don't want my visits diluting my Google Analytics data. So, I use a tool to filter out my visits and other employee visits. Here's how it's done.
- Set up a new "View" You want to preserve a view that has all visitor data in case you ever need to refer to it. So, I set up a separate View that excludes internal visits
- Add a Filter. In the example below, I exclude by IP Address, simply by searching "What's my IP address?" But, there are other filter options. You can find more information here.
Now you're all set to dig into your site performance. I recommend giving both Analytics and Search Console a couple of days to populate information and then playing around with the data.
If you have questions or need help, feel free to reach out to me via email, email@example.com