The Google Analytics Audit You Didn’t Do

Another Audit, really? Yes, really. Because this is the Google Analytics Audit you didn’t do. Based on the hundreds of Google Analytics accounts I’ve seen working with SMB’s and large corporate brands – this audit is necessary. In a world where analysts and marketers jumps from one shiny new thing to the next, the basics are sadly often forgotten along the way.

This article was written and published for State of Digital.

Let’s start by asking yourself: can you trust your data? I don’t think you do. And you don’t need expensive consultants to get these basics right. Set aside one hour and follow these steps with your favorite album playing in the background and a nice cup of coffee.

Google Analytics admin interface

Audit the Basics

Every time I see a Google Analytics account with the basic features not set up, a part of me dies. Let’s fix that right away. Log into your account and navigate to the Admin interface.

First you need to review user access to your data. I’ve seen accounts where previous agencies still have access to the data and in some occasions, even with permission to manage users and and the possibility to edit the data. Not good. Brands need to be aware of who’s got access to what.

Implementing your tracking with Google Tag Manager? Take control of your account and get to know the security risks. Usually we talk about the awesomeness that is GTM and how easier implementing tracking and changes to our tracking can be. But as little as we check our user management section in Google Analytics, we take a minute and ponder the security risks of Google Tag Manager.

A good consultant always digs his or hers feet down in the filters. You need to understand how the data is being manipulated. What are you including, excluding and changing? Looking at data which is collecting employee visits could be devastating. I’ve seen SMB accounts drop half of its traffic just because the data was picking up the sales and support team (that spent most of their days on the corporate website).

icon-clipboardReality check: Have you actually opened up your own Google Analytics account by now and checked the basics? Do it now. This post will be waiting for you when you’re done. Stop reading, start auditing.

Audit the Traffic

Use the filter function wisely, not just to exclude your own visits. When you identify bad referrals and spam traffic, exclude it. Don’t sit and wait for solution to be presented. Create the solution.

Under View Settings you should have checked the box next to Bot Filtering. There is no reason to collect data on bots. But don’t go nuts and block them from accessing your website. Search engines needs to have access to your content to sort into their index.

While we’re tweaking our View Settings, make sure you’ve set a default page and enabled site search tracking. Websites with an internal search function and no site search tracking are missing out on visitor intent. Collecting this data is golden – that’s why you’re just about to check if this is set up in your account.

icon-clipboardReality check: If you have site search tracking already set up, do you know what people are looking for on your website and do you have the content/products they’re looking for?

Audit the Goals

Goals doesn’t have to equal a product sold or a newsletter signup. Use goals to support your own vision. Do you want people to read the page about you or follow you on Twitter? The saddest Google Analytics accounts are the accounts that have not a single goal set up. Don’t buy a sports car to look at it. Buy a sports car to drive it.

Google Analytics goals

Audit the Connections

Navigate to Property Settings and review the connection to Googles Search Console (previously called Google Webmaster Tools). If this is the first time you hear about a “Search Console”, create your account and verify your website. This connection gives an overview of the keywords being used in Google to trigger our website and its pages.

Next step is under Product Linking where we’re making sure that you have linked Google AdWords to your Analytics account. These are basic steps to check, but still so many website owners get it all wrong.

icon-clipboardReality check: What search queries are driving tons of impressions but almost no clicks to your website? Review the page meta title, meta description and content. Its always sad to see the right content ranking in search but not getting the traffic it deserves. A lot of the times we’ve just done a poor job “promoting” the page with its meta title and meta description.

Audit the Outcome

The last actions I want you to follow is to audit the outcome of all this data and all reports you’ve created. Ask yourself what difference you’ve made the last quarter. Is your function to report “all systems good” or to improve the user experience and marketing efforts based upon all the data? I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’re creating actions based upon the data. Constantly improving the website.

icon-clipboardReality check: Did you read this article and forgot to check all the steps mentioned above? There is no better time to do your Google Analytics Audit but now.

I'm a digital strategist by heart. SEO Manager working from Stockholm. Here to help teams and businesses to improve, and manage their digital (and people) assets.

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