Google analytics is arguably the best free tool to use for search engine optimization because it gives you insight into some ranking factors straight from Google themselves. Analytics is also handy for improving the conversion rate of your website by understanding how users flow through your site and interact with your pages. I’m still surprised that you can have access to all that data for free.
With Analytics, you can track the amount of visitors you get (traffic), where they come from, what day/time they visit, and where they go on your website. All this information can help you improve your website not just for SEO, but also to better anticipate your client’s needs and improve your website for more conversions.
There are a lot of things that you can learn when diving into your website analytics, and I know that sometimes it can feel like an overwhelming amount of data. The important thing about measurement is to just get started and keep experimenting. You’ll begin to see what works for your unique site and business, and may even find unexpected areas for growth.
Francoise Brougher, Vice President of SMB Sales and Operations at Google
So what are you waiting for?! You need to get Google Analytics on your website right away.
Even if you’re not completely sure how to interpret all the fabulous goodies Google gives you, you should install it on your website because you need at least six months for the data to represent a good average of your website’s performance. During that time, you’ll either learn how to understand the data by taking Google’s course on analytics, or eventually hire an SEO expert and they will need that info to do a good job.
Here is the step-by-step process with pictures to outline how to get Google Analytics on your website.
*Pause* when you hear “step-by-step” do you automatically think “ooh baby, gonna get to you giiirrl”? Nope. Just me? Ok – moving on…..
1. Sign up for a Google Analytics account
Visit www.google.com/analytics/. Press “SIGN IN” in the upper right corner. On the drop down select “Analytics”. Then press “Sign up” if you don’t already have an account. It’s easiest to use your Gmail or Gsuite account for analytics.
Keep in mind you can manage multiple websites from the same account. I recommend choosing the email address that is over-arching to yourself as a community leader and business owner. That way you can keep all the info in one place. Makes it easier in the long run. You can also assign other users to the account to read the data – so don’t feel like you have to make an new gmail account that the whole team can access, just for analytics. You can assign new users later.
2. Fill out your details
Account Name – The account name in Google Analytics is your parent organization. If you own or manage multiple websites for different branches of your business, non-profits, hobbies, etc. You need to choose an Account Name that represents all of them.
Website Name – This is the name you’ll assign to the first website you’re setting up. You can add others later. I used the brand name of the website I’m tracking.
Website URL – Enter your website address. If you have “https”, make sure to select that from the drop down. If you typically use “www” in front of your web address, then add that too. I don’t ever use “www”, so I’ve omitted that.
Industry Category – The choices are super limited. Get as close as you can to being accurate without stretching the truth. Keep in mind, this is for the current website you’re inputting, not your overall account (which may contain multiple websites).
Reporting Time Zone – Choose the time zone you live in. Unless you’re managing for a business or organization in another time zone or you’re a nomadic wanderer whose brain is always acclimatized to the time zone of a certain location. The time zone you choose is going to report the data based on that time zone vs. the time zone of the person visiting your website.
You can leave all Google’s recommended settings selected. Then hit “get tracking ID”
3. Copy/Paste your tracking code
They should pop up the Tracking ID screen next. But if not, go to Settings (gear icon on lower left) > Property > Tracking Info > Tracking Code.
Highlight all the code under “website tracking” in the box and copy by pressing CTRL+C
4. Place it in the “head” of every page on your website
Learning pause The HEAD of a web page contains the information a browser (like Chrome or Safari) needs to interpret a page on a website. It loads first and stays invisible to the person who visits your website – unless they have a peek at your code by using developer tools. Every website platform should have the ability to inject code into the HEAD.
Install Google Analytics on Weebly
If your website is on Weebly, go to Settings > SEO. Paste the code into the area called “Header Code” by putting the cursor inside and pressing CTRL+V. You could also put into the Footer Code as Weebly suggests, but I’m an old-school traditionalist and I feel it’s best in the head. Technically, it will work in either area. Don’t forget to hit “save” and “publish”.
Install Google Analytics on Squarespace
Squarespace likes to bury their head code injector. Go to Settings > Advanced > Code injection. Paste the code into the area called “Header” by putting the cursor inside and pressing CTRL+V.
Install Google Analytics on WordPress
If your website is on WordPress, there may be an area in your theme settings to inject code into the head. Or you could modify your PHP files directly. But for most people it’s easier to use a plugin. Go ahead and search for “header and footer”. Install and active the plugin by WPBeginner (NOTE: at the time of writing this blog, WPBeginner is a good option – however, use your best judgment when choosing a plugin for your website and make sure to use one that is regularly updated and from a trusted source).
After the plugin is activated, look along the left panel of WordPress for Settings > Insert Headers and Footers. Paste the code in the area that says “Scripts in Header” by putting the cursor inside the content box and pressing CTRL+V. Then click “save”.
It’s time to celebrate! You’re well on your way to collecting data about your website in order to better understand your traffic and the people who visit your website on a daily basis.
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