In between those times where you use Google Analytics to do reporting, there is plenty of maintenance to do to ensure that the data that you rely on to make decisions is accurate and will lead to the best decisions. I’m going to cover three Google Analytics issues that come up regularly in our work for clients that everyone should address. It’s important to address any issues that crop up as soon as you can, so schedule some time to take a look in the next couple of weeks while things are quiet. It’ll give you the chance to start the new year off right.
Fighting Referrer Spam
We’ve talked about referrer spam and how to remove it in this post. This spam can affect how accurate any number of metrics appears for your website. So take the time to read the post above and learn how to filter out the junk. It’s actually not that time consuming to do so, especially if you use something like Referrer Spam Blocker. We recommend using the blocker, but also recommend checking that there aren’t spam sites that it missed that you then need to manually filter.
Social Media Configuration
Hidden in Google Analytics is a way to set up your social media channels so that Google Analytics tracks the content that you share on social channels and splits it up from other’s shares of your content on the same channels. First you need to configure the settings found here.
In the screenshot above, I’ve shown how you get all your settings into the admin panel. Once you’ve done that visit this report inside Google Analytics while logged into the right Google account and you’ll see social traffic is broken up into /social (your own social sharing) and /referral (other people sharing your content on their social channels) as shown in the screenshot below.
This can come in handy when start to determine which part of your social strategy needs attention.
Connecting Google Search Console
Last but not least – want to get search engine data inside Google Analytics? Good news is you can tell what searches are bringing people to land on the specific pages on your website. To get this information, all you need to do is visit and walk through Google’s Search Console, add a property and then connect it with your Google Analytics account (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). It’s super easy to do. Once you’ve added the property into the page linked above, you’ll follow a wizard that will allow you to verify the site is yours using Google Analytics.
You’ll see queries that people use, the landing pages that they come into your site on and other information. I personally like to use the report to see the CTR rate of our blog posts given the number of impressions those landing pages get. There are a variety of ways you can use it as with the reports above.
By configuring all of these settings and addressing these Google Analytics issues, you’ll be way ahead of the curve for 2016. You’ll get more information and more accurate data for an hour worth of work. That’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself as a business for the new year.