Google Analytics Audit 101
Google analytics can be complex over time, as your website becomes larger. The analytics team will keep implementing new features, which may get messy over time. The google analytics audit’s goal is to find out whether the most crucial setting is working correctly. You can be working for a new client who wants to run a GA audit. You might be auditing your website; whatever the reason is, I will give a few essential audit checkpoints that will help you start the journey. I am not a professional writer, but I am improving my writing skills by publishing content weekly. My knowledge of google analytics is coming from the CXL Institute. It’s a great website if you want to learn digital marketing and specifically tools provided by Google. Knowing something is always a tedious process, especially when you are diving deep. You ever need a reason to horn a new skill when you are learning something new. I have still managed to continue my learning journey because I am trying to implement all my knowledge on my project Prepmock. It’s a great way to keep up the motivation. I suggest you do something similar if you are struggling to keep up the peace.
Let’s move on to the google analytics audit.
Account and Property Level
The first starting places of your google analytics audit are account and property level settings. I am listing out some required fields that you should make a note of in an excel sheet. A well-formatted excel sheet will be highly useful to continue this auditing process neat and tidy. Check the image below to understand how you should document the audit report. I am also explaining them in short.
GA Account: The name of your account.
GA Property Name: The name of the property.
GA Property ID: Your GA tracking ID
GA View: We will always use the production or master view.
Number of Views: You should at least have three views. Ex Raw, Testing, Master
GA — which version (classic, universal, global — ga.js, analytics.js, gtag.js): Which version you are using to pass the data to GA from your website.
GTM: Your GTM container ID which is sending your website data to GA using GTM. I highly recommend that you use GTM instead of using GA directly.
Let’s move on to the accounts level
Filters exist: Does it have any filter?
IP Filters exist: Does it have any IP filter?
Hostname filter: Does hostname filters exist?
Number of filters: How many filters it has.
Number of Users: Account management permission.
Number with “Manage Users”: How many permissions with user management.
Now that we have some useful information’s on the account and property level, we are moving to property and view level audit.
Property and View
I am sure you are keeping this data in the excel and organized way, and you will do the same for this section.
Default URL: it doesn’t affect the data collection, but It should be there.
Default View: The default view every time you open GA
Google Search Console: It’s highly essential to connect your search console to GA.
Referral Exclusion: Check if you have this setup correctly.
Custom Dimensions: You should be use ClientID and Hit Timestamp.
Number of Views: How many views exists
Name of Main View: What is the name of the main View.
Raw View Exists: It should exist.
Test View Exists: It should exist.
Default (Property) and Website (View) URLs match: Check both of the URLs.
Bot Filtering, Search, Search Query Parameters: It should be enabled for the main View.
Google Ads Present: Linking google ads account with GA account.
Annotations: It’s helpful to use annotations. You may use that regularly.
Low Traffic Alert: This is for the safety and to stay updated about the account.
Raw View has filters: Do not apply any filter in the raw View.
Raw View includes search, GSC, ads, EEC, etc.: Check and make a note accordingly.
Google Analytics Data Accuracy
Once you setup your analytics account, you can check the Real Time report and check it. The purpose of the Real Time report is to find out if it is working correctly. Most of the time, you may find it working correctly, yet you should check it thoroughly. Keep this data in the same excel sheet.
Page Views: First thing you should the page view hit.
Undercounting: It can be checked using the google developer console. This is highly important and can make lots of difference in the results. Use the developer console to check if the data is sending properly to Google Analytics.
Overcounting: This is not something familiar, but it usually happens when you migrate from GA to the google tag manager and forget to remove the GA code. It may look like everything is going right, but the data will be messy for sure.
Google Chrome Extensions
You should use some tools that will undoubtedly help you to reduce your effort when auditing. One of my favorite tools is the Google Tag Assistant extension. This chrome extension is handy and can save you time when you are doing auditing.
Another useful Google chrome extension you should use to track your website’s redirects when a website has too many redirects that will make the page loading real slow. Use Link Redirect Tracer to find out how many redirects that the site has.
I haven’t mentioned all the auditing checkpoints in this article because I always keep my posts short to get lost and distracted by reading extended content. I will try to develop a second content on auditing that will cover some advanced issues you should be considered when auditing.
Feel free to reach out to me if you need the exclusive auditing template I am using to audit websites. It is going to save your time and make the auditing very well organized and useful. Also, don’t forget to check my old posts on google analytics. I am sure you will find them helpful.