Ben Childs
By Ben Childs | Analytics, SEO | May 29, 2015

Google Analytics Webinar

Thank you for watching my Townsquared webinar about Google Analytics which was posted earlier this week. I hope that I could sell you on the idea that, no matter what you do online, it’s tough to know what happened without the help of Google Analytics. John Wanamaker, a marketing innovator from the turn of the 20th century, once said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Google is a $55 Billion company because they’ve solved that problem for you. I guarantee you’ll become addicted to seeing how your traffic is doing (or what it’s doing right now). It’s easy to teach yourself. Even better, it’s free.

Installing Google Analytics:

I’m going to reference Liz Lockard from Lizlockard.com in this section, as she’s written a couple definitive guides for getting started in Google Analytics. If you don’t have Analytics, read Liz’s post about signing up and putting in the code. She will make it easy for you. If you have a popular Content Management System (CMS), here are some great walkthroughs for installing Analytics on them:

If you have a CMS that isn’t as popular as WordPress is, just type in whatever the name is + “Google Analytics installation” into Google and you will assuredly find a write-up on the subject.

Ghost Referrals in Analytics and Referral Exclusions:

Referral exclusions can be difficult. If you’re not sure what you’re doing in Analytics (and that’s a lot of us!), I would suggest taking a month or so to get used to the program and to collect data before you try to add referral exclusions to your Analytics portfolio. Exclusions use what’s called regular expressions, or Regex. Regex a language that uses symbols to tell Analytics what to look for in the English language, like the URLs it scans and searches for. The problem is if you don’t know what you doing, or don’t follow directions 100% you can easily get lost and waste your time, or worse, corrupt your data entirely. This is why I advocate waiting to get a good grasp on the program first. Once you are ready, you will find a step-by-step guide below: Click the Admin Tab (1), then click “Filters” (2) on the right under “View.” After this, you’re going to add a new filter. It’s going to look exactly like the screenshot below, except you’re going to use your domain name instead of mine which you see here.

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You can copy and paste the Regex code.*digitalreachagency.com.* into the filter field, and substitute your domain. Then click “Save.” PLEASE NOTE: do not get rid of the periods and asterisks that I have used for your commands, as this can incorrectly modify your Analytics traffic numbers.

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Setting up Goals in Analytics:

Google has great documentation (which you can find right here) on how to set-up and test goals for yourself. This is something that I would also wait about a week to set-up after you’ve installed Analytics. Once you add a goal, Google will test it retroactively and tell you how many conversions you would have gotten over the previous 7 days. If this number returns 100% of your visits (or some wonky number), then we know it wasn’t right!

Integrating Call Tracking with Google Analytics:

If you’re a local business that relies on phone calls, tracking them is the only way to know what actually provides them. Learning what channels, keywords and pages on your site lead to calls can have a significant impact on choices you make to increase your calls month-over-month. There are seemingly thousands of call tracking companies these days, but we’ve been working with Calltrackingmetrics.com since we started almost 4 years ago. Between paying for numbers and minutes, most local businesses will be spending $10-15/month on call tracking. A quick note: call tracking uses what’s called “dynamic number swapping.” If someone comes from PPC, for example, it will swap out your number from 444-4444 to 555-555-5555. Do not be afraid- there have rarely, if ever been issues with this. In 2015, people do not save your number in their phone. They will Google, Yelp, or find you online some other way so they can click a button to call you. Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any questions about the webinar, or Analytics in general. Although I answer every email, realize that Analytics is a Google product, so everything about it can be found online if you search on Google! Thanks again, and here’s to a bright future of making money off of your web presence online! Ben

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