Don’t Wait to Set Up Your Goals

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Immediately set up goals for all submission forms.

As essential as goals are to Google Analytics, it’s imperative to remember that they are not retroactive and that you should therefore set them up as early as possible in your implementation to begin calculating goal data immediately.

At a minimum, make sure to set up a goal for each submission or transaction confirmation page that you have included on your website (and that you’re not tracking with Google Analytics ecommerce).

If you have not designated your confirmation pages as goal URLs, you’ll miss important metrics such as conversion rate, abandonment rate (available if you associate a funnel with your goal URL) and $index (if you have specified a monetary value for your goal).

Don’t delay – set up your goals as a topmost priority.

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Avoid the Built-in “Non-paid Search Traffic” Advanced Segment

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Your own organic nonbranded segment is generally more useful than the “Non-paid Search Traffic” segment.

For most purposes, the “Non-paid Search Traffic” Advanced Segment predefined in Google Analytics is too broad to be very useful.

A significant portion of organic traffic to most websites results from branded searches. For example, if you work at a company named Get to the Point that makes pencil sharpeners, you should not treat organic traffic originating from “get to the point” or “gettothepoint.com” searches the same as organic traffic originating from “pencil sharpener” searches.

You should instead define your own Advanced Segment to exclude company name, domain name, and possibly branded product names as well. A regular expression, as shown in the screen shot, can help to exclude multiple variations.

You might also specify that the segment exclude (not provided), which is the keyword that the Google search engine passes through to Google Analytics for searchers who were logged into gmail/Google; in many instances, the obscured keyword is also branded.

In applying this segment to your visitor and conversion reports, you’ll be sure to gauge your actual organic performance much more accurately.

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Review Your Error Pages in the Navigation Summary

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Navigation Summary indicates entrance percentages, previous pages, and exit percentages for your error pages.

Worthwhile data to review in the Navigation Summary for your website’s error pages :

  • Entrance Percentage – if many of the pageviews were entrances from external sources, you might need put a 301 redirect in place to avoid the error.
  • Previous Pages – since these pages are within your own site, you should be able to fix the requests. Also, if your error page URL don’t indicate the page that was requested, bad requests on your own pages can help you determine the entrance errors.
  • Exit Percentage – how many people are abandoning your site after the error? This can indicate the extent of the damage.

Keep in mind that the default Web server error pages do not contain the Google Analytics tracking code (GATC), so make sure that you have specified one or more custom error pages in your Web server configuration and that these pages do contain the GATC.

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