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The Neoreef Guide to Google Analytics

Getting started or optimizing your Google Analytics (GA) is no small task. Google Analytics can be quite complicated.

In fact, when I first delved into the GA waters, it took me a while to catch on and understand what it all meant. Since there are so many concepts, jargon, and reports to learn and understand, it can be quite intimidating. Even when I was first learning GA, I would have to rewatch videos and look back on notes I took. 

After countless hours reading, watching videos, and learning through trial and error, it turns out now I have quite a good grasp on Google Analytics. And you can, too.

So here’s a guide to Google Analytics, intended for both people who are just learning and people who want to optimize your GA account(s) further. 

Now let’s jump into what

Where You Can Learn Google Analytics 

Getting started with Google Analytics can be overwhelming, so I am here to help you get started and set you up to succeed when it comes to using and understanding your GA. 

While there are many resources out there to learn how you can use Google Analytics, this is the content I found most helpful when I was learning Google Analytics. I still go to these resources if I have any GA related questions, which you will have without a doubt. 

Reason being, there is so much to Google Analytics that you have to take it in bits and pieces, and not all at once. Anyway, the first place I would go to would be Google Analytics Academy, since it offers the fundamental knowledge and much more as you grow your GA skill set. 

First and foremost, I would work on getting training and certifications in GA in order to not only showcase your skills to current or future employers, but for you to learn how to use a platform many companies use to track how their own or client’s website is performing. 

And, if you are looking for resources that will help while learning GA, I would suggest first starting with Google Analytics for Beginners to see where your skill level is when it comes to GA-- as well as building a steady concrete GA foundation. 

From there, I would suggest using YouTube, especially Google Analytics’ YouTube channel (and other related videos) to visually see how things work. 

Last, but not least, I would suggest not only using the Google Analytics Academy for GA, but also for other related free courses such as Data Studio and Google Tag Manager


How to Implement Your Google Analytics 

First things first-- you need to set up a Google Analytics account or make sure you use a primary GA account that acts as an umbrella for other accounts you manage. 

During this time, I also suggest setting up Google Tag Manager, since it allows you to easily update and add tags to your Google Analytics code and updates. 

For instance, if you want to track how many people have clicked on a specific link, you just add a new tag to your Google Tag Manager in order to track those clicks. This should be a GA account you plan to keep forever and decide who may be granted access to it. 

Reason being, you want to ensure there will always be access to that data, even if someone leaves the company, because with each change over/change of hands, you will have to start over. 

So once you have a Google Analytics account set up a property onto your account. Then, you will want to install your GA tracking code onto your site in the raw header. 

The next thing you want to do is to set up goals so you know when something important happens on your site, such as leads generated for your company through a contact form. From there, you can set up additional accounts and properties to your GA account. 

And when your Google Analytics account is all set up, it may take Google Analytics about 24 hours to start collecting data. Once you start getting GA data, you can start learning about your website traffic, and making changes based upon that data, to further improve your site’s user experience, speed, and performance. 

Don’t forget to set up a Google Search Console account and link it with your GA account. Google Search Console is a powerful and helpful tool that helps guide marketers and webmasters gain invaluable search metrics and data. 

By having a Google Search Console account for your site, you can see what your site’s search crawl rate is, see how Google analyzes your site, figure out what internal and external pages link to your site, and dive into keyword queries to see how you rank in search results. 

You can link with other applications such as Google Tag Manager and Google Search Console to better track, understand, and make changes based on the data you are seeing. 


Why You Need Google Analytics 

Google Analytics is not only a tool you can use for your site, but also a tool that provides you with indispensable information about your website, visitors, and much more. 

Since about 60 percent of all websites use GA, it is among the most popular tools for digital marketers because of the immense amount of information it offers regarding your site’s visitors. 

Some of the data you can get from GA includes the amount of traffic your site gets, the sites your traffic comes from, where your leads come from, and demographic information about your site visitors. 

Also, GA can be used for your marketing strategy, site performance, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. The information GA provides you with is invaluable. If you are still not convinced as to why you need GA, here are more reasons why:

  • To see where your visitors come from 
  • To segment your customer base 
  • To create ad track campaigns 
  • To see what search terms bring in traffic 
  • To understand why visitors may be bouncing off your site 

So if you do not have a Google Analytics account already, or not using it when it comes to creating content or looking for ways to improve your site-- well, you should be using GA, no questions. 


Are You Ready to Track?

This guide only scratches the surface as to what Google Analytics offers. There is so much more for you to explore and see what best fits your business or client’s needs. 

Sooner rather than later, you will want to delve deeper into custom dashboards, metrics, and audience segments. 

Never think you are alone on this GA journey, because you can always get free video resources or seek out support from Google Analytics Academy

And if you feel your GA skills are not stacking up, you can also go to Analytics Academy to improve upon your skills. 

Since I myself have recently learned how dynamic Google Analytics can be, I usually seek out Google Analytics YouTube or support articles to either relearn a skill or to get guidance in how to set up something for a client. You can always bookmark this guide and come back to it as you continue learning and improving on your GA skills. 

As you take the next steps on your Google Analytics journey, I want to wish you luck and a YOU GOT THIS! 

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