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How to Conduct a Google Analytics Audit

16 Mar 2023
Google Analytics Audit

1. Introduction

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for website owners and operators to measure traffic, engagement, and conversions. It is important to audit your Google Analytics setup to ensure the data collection is accurate. This will build ongoing trust in your data, and provide insights with confidence.

2. What is a Google Analytics Audit?

An audit is a process of examining to see where can it be improved. You can uncover critical errors that are affecting your website traffic, user experience, and even your bottom line. Most website audits can be performed through Google Analytics audits. You should not underestimate Google Analytics Audit for data is useless if it’s not accurate.

In a full GA Audit, we analyze every component and identify missed or incorrect settings that could prevent us from unleashing the full potential of Google Analytics functionalities. In this article, we explain step by step process of auditing your Google Analytics.

3. How can I do a Google Analytics audit?

3.1 Check if you have inserted the tracking code into your website

Let’s begin by downloading Tag Assistant.

Tag Assistant is a useful Google Chrome extension (created by Google) that lets you see if your Google Analytics is collecting data or not.

If it is already installed in your browser, you must manually enable it and reload the page to see the results.

Don’t know where to insert a Tracking Code on your website?

As a general rule, follow the < head> section of any page you want to track. Still unsure? Google Analytics help articles are always a fantastic location to look for solutions. You could ask your developer for assistance as well. The tracking code should be placed on all pages you wish to measure.

3.2 Set up the Google Analytics Admin section:

Go straight to Admin section:

3.3 Check your Property settings -

The property represents a single product (e.g., a website, support page, blog, or web app) with a unique Tracking Code. Your Google Analytics account can include up to 50 Properties, however, we recommend keeping that amount to a bare minimum.

Change the name of your property. It should be the same as your URL (for example, “https://yourwebsite.com,” “https://app.yourproduct.co,” or simply “http://some-example.com”).

Set the URL as the default. It should be your website’s precise address (keep in mind the distinction between “http://” and “https://”)!

3.4 Have you enabled demographics and interest reports?

Enable it and Interest reports by checking the box. It allows you to collect data on your users’ age and gender (but make sure your Cookie and Privacy rules allow it!).

3.5 Is your Tracking Code collecting the right data?

A dropdown list of options displays. All of the other settings are fine (in the great majority of cases) if left alone.

3.6 Are your referral exclusion settings configured correctly?

Make sure that your website’s domain is included in the database. It is necessary since it avoids the issue of self-referrals (referral traffic originating from your own domain), which artificially inflates the number of sessions on your website.

Are product links connected?

Select All Products to see if all of the Google products on your website (such as Google Ads, Search Console, and so on) are linked to Analytics.

3.7 View and View settings

In Google Analytics, a View is a subset of a Property. The default View in GA is called All Website Data. This measure is removed in GA4.

View Settings-

Set your Website’s URL to the precise domain that you want to track with this View (again, keep the “http://” or “https://” in mind).

3.8 Test things in "Test" View-

The purpose of a test is to try things out. If you need a new filter, simply test it first. Only once you have confirmed that the filter is correct can it be safely implemented on the main View (Master).

3.9 Check your "Master" View-

The main GA reporting View with the most dependable filters and settings is the Master. It can be used to analyze traffic and gain insights. Always exercise caution when modifying its configuration.

3.10 Is your Time Zone and Currency Configured-

Check that the timezone and currency are correctly set. Otherwise, the number of conversions per day may be distorted or out of sync with other data sources. Both of these factors should correspond to your company’s location.

3.11 Are you tracking Bots too?

Turn on Bot Filtering. Bot traffic should not be analyzed because bots exaggerate the bounce rate and send erroneous data of almost no time spent on your website. It simply skews your numbers significantly. This cool filter prevents such traffic from being measured.

3.12 Switch on Site Search Tracking-

If your website has a search bar, it should be enabled. This function requires the presence of query parameter(s) in order to function. With everything in place, you will be able to gain insights from Google Analytics’ Site search reports.

3.13 Check Goals-

Goals differ depending on the type of website you run. Each company can have its own set of objectives. Setting goals is essential with Google Analytics. You should create at least three goals (appropriate for your organization) to measure the most crucial data and determine if you’re on the right track. If you’re unsure, Google can help you discover more about goals here.

3.14 Create Filters and remove unwanted IP addresses-

You must configure at least two filters on both the Master and Test Views.

First one- To avoid self-generated traffic, exclude your IP address (as well as the IP addresses of your remote team members and contractors).

The second mandatory filter converts the URL to lowercase. This will prevent you from typing the same addresses in multiple circumstances (/blog vs /BLOG).

Using View Filters to Remove Internal Traffic:

Proceed by going to the Google Analytics Admin page and selecting All Filters from the Account dropdown on the left side. This allows you to apply the filter to many Views at once.

To add filters you can go to Admin- View- Filters- Add Filters.

For a single IP address, select one of the predefined filters and simply enter your IP address as seen below:

To exclude an IP address range, click Custom Filters, then Exclude and IP Address from the dropdown list. Then, for the IP Address range, enter the following regular expression:

3.15 Check Ecommerce settings:

If you have e-commerce tracking enabled on your website, make sure the Enable Ecommerce switch is turned on. Similarly, if you have a more powerful enhanced e-commerce setup on your site, make sure Enable Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting is enabled.

You’re now all set in Admin. Your most basic data flow has been enabled and fixed. You are now ready to begin the analyzing process in Reports.

3.16 Google Analytics Report

In Google Analytics, there are five types of Reports:

  • Realtime
  • Audience
  • Acquisition
  • Behavior
  • Conversions

4. Real Time Reports-

Real Time displays the current state of your website, such as how many users are now browsing your pages. Because the numbers here are continually changing in tandem with the traffic, it is impossible to draw too many quality-related inferences from them.

It’s a great place to see if your website’s Tracking Code is operating properly.

5. Audience Reports-

This section includes information on your users, such as their gender, location, and the devices or browsers they use to view your website.

6. Audience Network-

Select Hostname as the primary dimension.

You can see your domains and staging domains here.

Check that all of the domains (and subdomains) in this section are yours and under your control. If you don’t, this is probably traffic that shouldn’t be here.

7. Audience Overview-

This section shows how your traffic is distributed between desktop and mobile devices. You may also examine how both of these traffic kinds perform.

8. Acquisition Reports-

You can discover the sources of your traffic here. In other words, where your users came from (where they clicked).

Google separates traffic and assigns it to one of the Channels listed below:

  • Direct
  • Organic Search
  • Social
  • Email
  • Referral
  • Paid Search
  • Display
  • Affiliates
  • Other Advertising
  • (Other

9. Acquisition Referrals-

Examine whether the Referral channel contains sources that should not be categorized as referrals, such as email sources (e.g., mail.google.com) or organic search sources (e.g. yahoo.com).

  • Search for Self-referrals- Search for your main domain in the search box to see if there are any issues with subdomain or cross-domain tracking. If you see any results, you may be having tracking issues between those domains/subdomains (cross-domain tracking).

10. Acquisition Source/Medium-

Check to see if the (direct) / (none) traffic ratio is greater than 20%. If it is, it signifies that more than one-fifth of your traffic is coming from who knows where. This is a bad situation. Apart from users who accessed your site by clicking on a bookmark or manually typing the URL address, this traffic is also created through clicks on links about which Google has no information.

11. Acquisition Channels-

If the “Other” channel is specified, it should account for less than 2% of total traffic. It usually displays incorrectly labeled campaigns (for example, ad campaigns) — if you have a lot of them, learn how to tag URLs.

12. Behavior Reports-

This area collects data on how users interact with specific pages of your website (for example, the number of page views, time spent on the page, bounce rate, and what the landing and exit pages are.)

  • Behavior All Pages- When you have a lot of parameters in your report, the data on some pages becomes delaminated. How to find parameters in a URL address?

It’s as simple as in the first argument is always followed by a question mark. The following ones are all preceded by ampersands.

  • Behavior Landing pages- A landing page is the initial page that a person sees when they visit your website for the first time (in other words, a new session).

13. Conversions Reports-

You may assess the performance of your website depending on the goals you specify and – if applicable.

  • Conversions Overview- You can check here to see if your goals are too specific (i.e., they are met by practically every visitor) or too generic (i.e. hardly any users meet them). If you believe this is the case, check your goals and consider adding some more.

That’s the end of it. Your Google Analytics is operational. Hooray!