< GO BACK

The Amateur’s Guide to setting up Google Analytics and Filters Like a Pro

Posted on August 4, 2016   |   




Have you ever used the term “data-driven decision making” to inform your business marketing efforts? Like many small business owners, the idea of knowing where and what marketing metric tools to focus on sounds nice, but in practice, may seem daunting. Where do you begin to find information to make better marketing and PR decisions? Once you have that information, how do you discern which data is important? How do you budget in the time (or money) to learn and use yet another skill to make your business grow?

Luckily, the data you need to inform your business marketing decisions is everywhere. The best part? Many of the tools to help you are free (It doesn’t get more valuable than that). Follow the instructions in this article, and in about an hour, you can start gathering information that will get closer to “data-driven decision making.”. How simple is that?

You will need:

  1. A google account
  2. Access to your website files or WordPress dashboard (or assistance from your webmaster)

To help you through this tutorial, below are the topical sections…

 



Setting up Google Analytics

One of the best free actions you can take for your business is to setup Google Analytics on your website. Google Analytics will help to provide a fairly accurate view of how people use your site, in what volume, how they found you, and much more.

Back to Top

Adding Google Analytics to your site

*Note: If you already have Google Analytics running on your site, skip to Setting up your Google Analytics filters like a digital marketer.

Go to https://www.google.com/analytics

  1. In the upper right, click Sign In > Google Analytics.

    Google Analytics Sign In
    Google Analytics Sign In menu
  2. On the following page you will either need to login with your existing Google account or create a new one.
  3. Once logged in, click the Sign Up
  4. Under What Would You Like To Track?, select Website
  5. Under Account Name, enter your business name. If you are an agency, enter the name of your agency and your client’s name in the next field.
  6. In the Website Name field, enter the name of the website you want to collect data from.
  7. In the Website URL field, unless your webmaster has told you otherwise, select http:// and then enter your website address (ex., www.mydomainname.com)
  8. In the Industry Category drop-down menu, select the most appropriate category for your business industry.
  9. Under Reporting Time Zone, select your Country and the Time Zone for where your business is located.
  10. Make sure all of the following checkboxes are ticked and click Get Tracking ID.
  11. Finally, accept the Google Terms of Service.

The resulting page will give you your Google tracking ID. This will be under the Website Tracking header and begin with <script> and end with </script>. This code should be added before the </head> of every page in your site. If you have a webmaster, you should ask them to do this on your behalf.

Back to Top

Adding Google Analytics to WordPress sites
If your site is built on a WordPress site, we recommend installing the Tracking Code Manager plug-in. This will help make installing tracking codes a cinch and you’ll be able to upgrade your WordPress themes without accidentally losing your valuable tracking data.

  1. With the Tracking Code Manager plugin installed, visit your WordPress dashboard and then go to Settings > Tracking Code Manager
  2. Click the Add New Tracking Code button
  3. In the Name field, enter Google Analytics
  4. Paste the tracking code in the large text area below (including the <script> and </script> tags)
  5. In the Position inside the code drop-down menu, select before </HEAD>
  6. In the Show only on device field, leave the All entry
  7. Under Where do you want to add this code?, select the Standard code tracking in your WordPress radio button
  8. Click Save

Back to Top


 

Verifying your Google Analytics setup

  1. Go to https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/
  2. Click All Web Site Data under your website name. This should take you to a blank Google Analytics dashboard
    Google Analytics All Web Site Data View
  3. On the left hand side, click Real-Time
  4. The menu will expand. Click on Overview
    Google-analytics-real-time-overview
  5. Open another browser window and visit your website
  6. Return to the browser window with the real-time analytics and wait a minute. You should see at least one visitor (you) on your website. If your analytics report that user, your analytics are setup correctly.
    Google Analytics Real-Time Overview Dashboard

Back to Top

 


Setting up your Google Analytics filters like a digital marketer

While Google Analytics is a wonderful free tool that will change the way you look at the utility of your website, there are a few extra steps to make sure you’re getting the most plentiful and accurate data.

Back to Top

Creating a new view in Google Analytics

Creating multiple views can be very useful for many reasons. For right now, we want to create a view that filters out fake visitors in the form of “referral spam” and “known bots.” This bad data can really skew information and make it difficult to understand how well your site is actually performing.

  1. Go to https://www.google.com/analytics
  2. In the upper right, click Sign In > Google Analytics
  3. At the top of the screen, click Admin
    Admin menu item in Google Analytics
  4. On the resulting screen, you’ll see three columns. Make sure that your Account and Property columns are showing the correct names. The third column, View, should show All Web Site Data. Click on that menu and select Create New View
    Create New View In Google Analytics
  5. Under What data should this view track?, select Website
  6. In the Reporting View Name field, enter the name Bad referrers and known bots removed mm/dd/yy
    *mm/dd/yy should be changed to reflect the current date. I like to include the date in my new views since analytics won’t back fill the new view with data.
  7. Under Reporting Time Zone, select your Country and the Time Zone for where your business is located
  8. Click Create View
    Grant Google Adwords Robot permission to your Google Analytics Account

You will be taken back to the three-column Admin view, but now you should see your new view in the third column. If it’s not, select the new view from the View drop-down menu.

Back to Top

Removing known bots from your analytics

  1. With your new view selected, click View Settings from the options below
    google analytics view settings
  2. Scroll down and look for Bot Filtering and select the Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders checkbox
    *Note: Only do this on the Bad referrers and known bots removed. We want to always leave the All Web Site Data view untouched as our safety in case something goes wrong.
  3. Click Save
    Remove Known Bots from Google Analytics

 

Back to Top

Removing bad referrers (a.k.a, spam)
We consider following these few steps crucial to gathering accurate data. At Philosophy Communication, this is part of our minimum setup to ensure that as much spammy information as possible is removed from our reports.

  1. Go to https://www.adwordsrobot.com/en/tools/ga-referrer-spam-killer
  2. Click Select Google Analytics Accounts
    Google Adwords Robot Ghost Referrals Select Google Analytics accounts
  3. A pop-up window will ask you for permission to access your Google Analytics account. Click Allow
    Grant Google Adwords Robot permission to your Google Analytics Account
  4. You should now see a folder with your Google Analytics Account Double click the Account name
  5. Below that, you should now see a folder with your Google Analytics Property. Double click that Property name.
  6. Below that, you should now see globes with your Google Analytics View. Tick the checkbox next to your Bad referrers and known bots removed view. Make sure no other Views are ticked before proceeding
    Google adwords robot select view
  7. Click Apply Filters. This will take a few minutes to complete.
    Google Adwords Robot Apply Filters

With this step taken, you will have far fewer bad referrers reported in your view. It’s important to keep in mind that not all bad data will be removed, but much of it will be.

Back to Top

Filter yourself (and your teammates) out
As long as there have been ways to track the number of visitors to your site, there have been webmasters who count their own visits to the site as legitimate traffic. Is the goal of your business to sell or inform its own employees? I’d hazard a guess that it’s not. For that reason, it’s best practice to exclude yourself and employees from other locations from your reported traffic, so that the data you analyze only includes your site visitors.

  1. Go to Google.com and type “What is my IP”
  2. Google will respond with 4 sets of numbers separated by periods (ex. ##.###.##.###.) Copy these numbers including the periods.
    Image of Google results after typing what is my IP
  3. Go to https://www.google.com/analytics
  4. In the upper right, click Sign In > Google Analytics
  5. At the top of the screen, click Admin
  6. In the third column, make sure you’re on your Bad referrers and known bots removed view
  7. Click Filters in the third column menu
    Google Analytics Filters
  8. On the resulting page, click the red + Add Filter button
    Google Analytics Add Filter button
  9. Under Choose method to apply filter to view heading, Select the Create new Filter radio button
  10. In the Filter name field, enter Internal Traffic
  11. Under Filter type, select Predefined
  12. In the Select filter type drop-down menu, select Exclude
  13. In the Select source or destination drop-down menu, select Traffic from the IP addresses
  14. In the Select expression drop-down menu, select that are equal to
  15. In the IP address field, enter (or paste) the IP address that Google reported in step 2 of this section
  16. Click Save
    Google Analytics predefined filters

If you have employees at multiple locations, you will want to recreate these steps using the IP address from each office (have a team member at that location execute step 1 and report back to you.)

Note: This isn’t the most efficient way to exclude multiple IP addresses, but it’s pretty fool-proof for people who are new to analytics and filtering.

Back to Top

 


Setting up and connecting Search Console

We’re almost done setting up analytics and making sure we capture the most data possible from your website – and trust me when I say that if you’ve taken all of the recommended steps so far, you’re going to be blown away by the information that’s revealed.

The last step we need to take is to setup Search Console and link it up to your Google Analytics view.

Back to Top

Setup Google Webmaster Search Console

  1. Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters.com/tools
  2. Sign-in with your Google username and password
  3. Under Add a property, make sure Website is selected from the dropdown menu, and then enter your full website URL (pay special attention to whether or not your site uses www. or not, and enter it correctly in this field)
    add domain name to Google search console
  4. On the resulting page, click the Alternate methods tab and select Google Analytics and click Verify
    verify Google search console
    Google search console alternate methods of verification
  5. If everything checks out, your site should now be verified in Google search console

 

Back to Top

Connect Google Search Console to Google Analytics

Now, let’s connect this up to Google Analytics

  1. Go to https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/
  2. Click the Bad referrers and known bots removed view under your website name. This should take your to Google Analytics dashboard.
  3. On the left hand side, click Acquisition
  4. Under the Acquisition menu, click Search Console
  5. Under Search Console, click Queries
    Google Analytics Search Console Queries
  6. On the resulting page, click Set up Search Console data sharing
    Setup Google Console data sharing
  7. On the resulting page, scroll to the bottom and click the Adjust Search Console button
  8. Click Edit under the Search Console site heading
    Connecting Google Search Console to Google Analytics
  9. Select your Search Console site and click Save

Now that you have your site setup to collect data, and you’ve created a view that removes misleading data, the only thing left to do at the moment is wait. After eight or nine days, you’ll have around a week’s worth of data to review. In a September blog post, we’ll show you how to understand that data and use it to focus your resources. Subscribe to our newsletter below and we’ll be sure to send you an update when that new blog post is published.

[yikes-mailchimp form=”1″ title=”1″ submit=”Subscribe”]