Making Sure You Get Good Data in Google Analytics

analytics-bar-graphAfter you insert your Google Analytics tracking code in your website’s HTML, you’ll need to wait a while (a few hours or a day) for the data to come in. Sometimes when people set up the analytics they don’t configure it properly, so be sure to follow the verification steps outlined by your analytics provider. Here are a few tools and tricks to make sure you get the best data possible.

SiteScan

First, make sure you installed Google Analytics correctly. While the initial sign-up process will give you a nice, friendly verification mark (after you log in) to tell you that Google has found the code on your website, appearances can be deceiving. For a host of reasons too geeky to get into here, you may have the analytics installed on most, but not all, of your website. To make sure you have a Google Analytics tracking code on every page, use EpikOne’s Google Analytics SiteScan tool. According to Google:

SiteScan picks up on some classic signs indicating that your site has improperly implemented tracking code like:

1. No data in your account. The tracking code was either never implemented or has the wrong account number.

2. You’re seeing a high bounce rate even though your site isn’t a blog and has more than one page. If you’ve only tagged your homepage, your Google Analytics account will be unable to identify any other page views from your site. SiteScan then reports each page in an easy-to-read file after you’ve installed the tool.

This makes it easy for you to isolate the pages with tracking problems, fix them, and effectively manage your Google Analytics Tracking Code installation.

URL Builder

Google’s URL Builder allows you to measure the success of specific online marketing initiatives by tagging your online ad URLs with specific information (like campaign, medium, and source), so that Google Analytics can track your marketing campaign and show you which activities (pay-per-click ads, Twitter links, blog mentions, etc.) are paying off. If you want to track specific marketing elements (like a text link versus a button in an e-mail marketing piece), you can create a unique link for each element you want to track in your marketing e-mails, social media campaigns, and pay-per-click (PPC) ads with the URL Builder tool (http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/ answer.py?hl=en&answer=55578).

Filter Yourself

Google Analytics has a filter option that further ensures the accuracy of monthly data, allowing you to remove your web use as well as that of your organization, your colleagues, and even your webmaster. Sometimes internal organization web use can really skew data. To create filters with Google Analytics, start by visiting www.myipaddress.com to get the code for your unique IP address, then put it into the Google Analytics filter, and your Analytics report will only collect visitors’ data from people who are not filtered by the IP addresses. Filters give you a better picture of your actual monthly traffic patterns—specifically, the people you are trying to serve, support, and sell.

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