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Configuring Google Analytics for Local Businesses

by Jan Pickering

When utilised properly and correctly configured, Google Analytics is a very powerful and efficient tool. This provides us with valuable information about our website, our visitors, which pages are working well, and maybe even what search phrases we’re using, especially when it’s linked to Google Search Console. There’s a lot of useful information here that may assist us in making informed business decisions about our internet marketing or SEO efforts.

1. Bots and spiders are not allowed.

Now, there are five key stages we’ll go through today to help us create our Google Analytics account as effectively as possible. The first is to keep bots and spiders out. This is significant since bot traffic accounts for up to 25% of total traffic, according to some research. I’m sure that any of us who have gotten very granular with our Google Analytics account has seen some of those cases of very clear bot traffic.

So, under Google Analytics, there is a lovely little tool that we can use to accomplish this. There’s a lovely little box that reads Bot Filtering if you go to Admin > View > View Settings. What this does is it takes information from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and ensures that it is filtered against a list of known spiders and bots.

2. Spam and personal traffic are filtered.

The next stage will be to separate spam and personal traffic. Now, isn’t it true that incorrect data is worthless data? We’ll have a hard time making correct business judgments about our SEO efforts or internet marketing if we don’t have reliable facts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen business owners who are attempting to make judgments based on outrageously incorrect data.

As a result, it’s critical that we obtain as much precise information as possible. There will always be some margin of error, but the more we can do to reduce it, the better. To filter our own traffic, navigate to Admin > View > View Filters and then Add Filters. What we want to do is make sure to filter out our own IP address, possibly the IP address of our team, our home office, our real main office location, stuff like this.

We can do this by going to Google and typing in “What is my IP.” You’ll be able to locate your IP address, and from there, you’ll be able to block it.

3. Establish objectives

Setting goals is the third step. Goals are really essential since setting them allows us to measure our progress, right? It’s all about keeping track of your accomplishments. By heading to Admin > View > Goals and then New Goal, we can create goals.

Goals with a specific destination

We may be able to build up a variety of different goal kinds, and it all depends on your business and what you’re looking for. However, a thank you page or a destination-based objective is one of the most popular.

Consider this scenario: you’re an HVAC firm seeking to get new clients, and you want to know how well your website is working, which pages are bringing in traffic, and what type of URL path (or goal path) is being followed.

Using a destination-based goal is one method to measure that. We want to make sure that once someone fills out a form, they are directed to that thank you page, and that every time they engage with that thank you page, they land on it, it can be considered a goal. This is really beneficial in terms of gauging the success of whatever we’re aiming for, whether it’s our company objectives or what we’re attempting to do that month or quarter.

Goals based on events

Another sort of goal is destination-based goals vs event-based goals. There are more than two types of goals, but we’ll just discuss two today. Setting up event-based objectives is a little more difficult than setting up destination-based goals. It’s not impossible, but it’s a little more difficult. Event-based objectives have nothing to do with a certain page or URL, but rather with the actual event that occurred, as you might expect.

For example, if a user fills out a form or clicks a certain button, these are instances of event-based goals that may be tracked. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you have any particular parameters in the URL and they don’t match exactly, you might not be able to count for that objective if it’s a destination-based goal.

You may get around this by changing “equals to” to “begins with.” Learning regular expressions is another alternative, and it’s probably a little bit better. That can assist us in sorting through the many alternatives and providing us with more precise information. Another thing to keep in mind when working with event-based objectives is to make sure that adequate validation is in place.

So, for example, if a user begins to fill out a form but does not finish it, it may have been logged as a goal when they initially clicked that button, even though they did not complete it. So there are a number of more steps we’d like to make sure we can sort out before we publish it and move on. We’ll be able to acquire correct information this way.

4. Link GA and GSC

Connect Google Analytics and Google Search Console as number four. Now that we have these two strong reporting and information tools, we want to make sure they can communicate effectively with one another. As we all know, Google Search Console has a wealth of information about our organic search, including what particular search queries, specific pages, how they’re doing, the average position, and so on.

We’ll double-check that it’s linked to our Google Analytics account. Now, we can accomplish that by navigating to Admin > Property > Property Settings, and then selecting Search Console from the drop-down menu. Now, before we get started, double-check that your Google Search Console account is active. That is always the first step. So, if we can get it set up, connecting those two should be a lot easier.

In fact, you won’t be able to accomplish anything unless your Google Search Console is set up. So make sure that’s in place, and then double-check that you can link those.

UTM tracking tags are a great way to keep track of your progress.
Finally, but certainly not least, employ UTM tracking codes. UTM tracking codes are an extremely efficient tool for us to measure the efficacy of certain campaigns, as well as where our users, website visitors, and what specific sources, media, or campaigns were effective in that respect.

For example, you may include a UTM tracking code in your Google My Business link profile so that any users who arrive from Google My Business can be correctly identified in your Google Analytics account as visitors who came directly from Google My Business. This must be done on a regular basis, not in the sense of Google My Business, but on a campaign-by-campaign basis.

So, if you’re a smaller, local firm with limited time or finances for whomever could be working on this, it might be preferable to focus on just a few of the larger campaigns, anything that’s a little more permanent or any single huge campaign. Perhaps you’re hosting a local event or running a special offer every few months. Those may be occasions for which we wish to use UTM tracking codes to track the efficacy of our efforts.

We can really set this up, and anyone who wants to set up their UTM tracking code may do so with Google’s Campaign URL Builder. In the remarks below, we’ll make sure to connect to that specific page. A UTM tracking code, on the other hand, has a few different components. Today, we’re only going to look at three of them: the media through which they originated, the source, and the campaign name.

So, for example, the medium might be email, the source could be whatever specific newsletter was sent out, and the campaign name could be anything you want it to appear as in Google Analytics, depending on how you want that campaign classified. So there are the three major portions of what your UTM tracking code may have. All of this information may be entered into Google’s Campaign URL Builder. There are also a number of alternative URL generators available. However, Google supplies one that is simple and convenient for us.

Learn how to use Google Tag Manager as a pro tip.
One more piece of advice. Learn how to use Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s absolutely doable. I’m confident you’ll be able to achieve it. When you understand Google Tag Manager, it makes a lot of other things much easier, notably putting up event-based objectives and integrating some of our other accounts, such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

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