The Complete Google Analytics Guide for Local Businesses

The Complete Google Analytics Guide for Local Businesses

Google Analytics is one of the best tools you can use for tracking the effectiveness of your website. Keep this Google Analytics guide handy as you are setting up your account.

With Google Analytics, local businesses can take advantage of a wide range of demographic tracking to pinpoint campaign effectiveness, web conversions, and more.

[thrive_headline_focus title=”Google Analytics Guide Step 1: Set Up Your Google Analytics Account” orientation=”left”]

Login at Google.com/analytics. If you already have a Google My Business, YouTube, Blogger, Gmail or other Google account set up, you can use the same username and password to set up your Analytics account. If not, you will need to set up a Google account for your business. Once this is done, you will then come to a page that looks like the one below. Click the “Sign up” button.

google analytics guide sign up

On the “Sign up” page, fill out all the information about your business. When you are done, click on the blue “Get Tracking ID” button at the bottom. Next, accept the Google Analytics Terms of Service.

At this point, you will see a page like the one below that has a tracking ID and code for your website. You will need to implement this into your website. If you’re using the All-in-One SEO plugin, you can copy/paste the UA-XXXXXXXX-X code in the settings. If you use Yoast WordPress SEO, or no SEO plugin at all, check to see if your theme allows you to add scripts to the header. If not, you can use the Google Analytics by MonsterInsights plugin.

google analytics guide tracking id

To verify that your tracking code is working, open a separate tab and go to the homepage of your website. On your Analytics tab, click on “Reporting” at the top. Then, on the left-hand side, click on “Real Time > Overview”. You should see a large number 1 at the top and your general location on the map (this may not be your exact location, but somewhere near you). If you don’t see your location, you may need to go to the tab you have open with your website and click on a few pages. Then go back to Analytics and see if you register on the Real Time page. If it still doesn’t appear, something went wrong – go back and verify that  you followed all the steps exactly.

google analytics guide real time

[thrive_headline_focus title=”Google Analytics Guide Step 2: Eliminate Spam” orientation=”left”]

A couple years ago, we started seeing a huge spike in traffic in our Google Analytics account. At first, we were really excited. Someone is linking to us and people are clicking. Woot! Woot!

Wrong! That wasn’t the case at all! As we dug deeper, we saw that most of this referral traffic was sent from weird websites such as free-social-buttons.com and free-video-tool.com. What in the world are these sites doing referring traffic to our websites?

The answer: they’re not! They are actually robots that have gotten in and messed with the analytics data by reflecting false traffic.

The main reasons we recommend blocking these spam referrers is because they skew all of your analytics data. A few hundred hits a month on a huge site like walmart.com isn’t going to move the needle when compared to the sheer volume of traffic they get daily. However, on a small site for a local plumber, 30 sessions per day is likely going to be 70% spam referral traffic, suffocating the remaining legitimate traffic and making marketing analysis a frustrating endeavor.

So how do you get rid of these spam referrers? Thankfully the people at Analytics Edge have created a template that we can import into our Analytics account.

Here’s how to do it:

Make sure you are still signed into your Google Analytics account. Go to this page on Google Analytics Solutions Gallery and click on “Import”.

google analytics guide eliminate spam

On the next page, click the dropdown that says “Select a View” and choose “All Web Site Data”. In the box below that, leave the wording the same – “All Sessions (Spam Removed)”. Then click the blue “Create” button.

google analytics guide spam view

On the next screen, you will see two boxes with web addresses. In the top box, you need to change “my-domain.com” to your website domain (without the http:/www at the beginning.)

The second box already has some spam sites listed. If you ever have more sites that look like spam (you’ll know one when you see it) you can add it to this box. Simply go to the end, insert a pipe – | – (on Windows, hold the shift key and press the key to the top-right of “Enter” on your keyboard). Then you can paste the URL you want to remove – no spaces or www.

When you’re done, click the blue “Save” button at the top.

google analytics guide spam domain

Now that the spam filter is set up, you need to know how to view your results with spam removed. Click on the “Reporting” tab at the top. Next, click on “All Users” in the rectangle… you’ll see a box drop down. Then, uncheck the “All Users” box and check the “All Sessions (Spam Removed)” box. Lastly, click the blue “Apply” button at the bottom.

You will now see all data with spam removed!

google analytics guide spam removed

[thrive_headline_focus title=”Google Analytics Guide Step 3: View Your Data” orientation=”left”]

You can look through all the different metrics available on the left side of your screen. There’s a lot to analyze and it might be a little overwhelming!

Don’t worry, we have put together a free dashboard that you can import into your account and it will have everything you need to track for your local business.

First, make sure you are logged into your Google analytics account. Next, go to our Website Stats for Local Businesses free template from the Google Solutions Gallery. Then, click on the “Import” button, just as you did for the spam filter above.

google analytics guide import stats

On the next screen, you will again need to select “All Web Site Data” from the first dropdown box. In the text box, you can leave the name the same or change it to whatever you want. Then click the blue “Create” button.

google analytics guide import stats data

You will now be able to see the dashboard template we have created. For future reference, you can get back to it by clicking Dashboards > Private > Website Stats for Local Businesses (or whatever you changed the name to when you imported).

google analytics guide stats dashboard

Make sure when viewing your dashboard that you click on “All Users” at the top, uncheck “All Users”, check “All Sessions (Spam Removed)”, and click the blue “Apply” button so that you’re seeing accurate data. Also, you can change the date range by clicking the date box at the top right.

google analytics guide dashboard spam removed

[thrive_headline_focus title=”Google Analytics Guide Step 4: Set Up Mobile Call Tracking” orientation=”left”]

There is one last thing you will want to set up for your Google Analytics dashboard that you just imported.

Mobile Call Tracking. This is an awesome feature that we love to use for our local businesses. Basically, it tracks how many times your “click-to-call” phone numbers were clicked on a mobile device. This section appears on the right side of the dashboard and looks like this (once you have data).

google analytics guide mobile call tracking

It’s super easy to set this up… here’s how:

Where ever your phone number appears on your website, you will need to insert the following HTML code:

<a href=”tel:123-555-1212” onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’,’Phone Call Tracking’,’Cedar Rapids‘,’Header‘]);”>123-555-1212</a>

We’ve color coded the sections that you can customize for your needs.

Replace the blue text with your phone number.

Replace the red text with custom text. We have many clients who service multiple cities, so It’s nice to know which city gets the most clicks. If you don’t need this metric, simply replace Cedar Rapids with Click/Touch.

Replace the green text with the location of the phone number. This might say “Header”, “Footer”, “Contact Page”, etc. Make sure to update this for each place your number appears on your website. Now you can track exactly where people click your phone number the most.

That’s all you need to do! You don’t need to do anything in Google Analytics, they will reade the coding you used above and the data will show up in your account.

The website stats dashboard you imported will only show how many clicks you got from the text in Green (see the pic above). To view the data you established in Red (i.e. the city name), scroll down and click on “Behavior” on the left side of your screen. Next, click on “Events” and then click “Overview”.

google analytics guide behavior events

By clicking “Event Action” you can see the text you defined in Red above.

google analytics guide event action

By clicking “Event Label” you can see the text you defined in Green above.

google analytics guide event label

[thrive_headline_focus title=”Google Analytics Guide Step 5: Set Up Email Reports” orientation=”left”]

Business owners are busy and might not have the time to be logging into Google analytics all the time to check their stats. Thankfully, Google has a nice feature where they will email you a PDF of your analytics so you don’t have to worry about remembering to check your account.

Here’s how you do it.

On the top left, click on Dashboards > Private > Website Stats for Local Businesses (or whatever you might have changed the name to when you imported in step 3).

Again, if you followed step 2 above, be sure to remove spam by clicking on the “All Users” box, uncheck All Users, check All Sessions (Spam Removed), and click the blue Apply button.

When you set up emailed reports you will be able to tell Google how often to send it: just once, daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. We recommend you have it sent weekly. You will also be able to select what day of the week you want to receive your report. For example, if you want to receive your reports on Mondays, you need to change the dates to display one week of data, from Monday to Monday.

Click on the dates in the top right and select the last week, from Monday to Monday (or whatever day of week you want to receive the report). Then click “Apply”.

google analytics guide email week

Next, click on the “Email” button.

google analytics guide email

In the pop-up box, select which email address you would like to send your report to. Most likely it will be to yourself, but if you would like to add multiple email addresses, simply separate each address with a “comma space” (i.e. “kristin@localwebstrategies.com, info@localwebstrategies.com”.

You may leave the subject line the same or change it to something different that you will recognize better in your inbox.

Next, decide the frequency that you will receive the reports. You can choose to have it sent just once, daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. We recommend you have it sent weekly. Then, pick whichever day of the week you would like to receive it. Perhaps Monday is a slow day for your business, so you would like to have the report sent on Monday. Pick whichever day fits your schedule best so that you will have time to look at it.

google analytics guide email settings

Lastly, if you click on “Advanced Options” you will see “Active for” with a drop down box. We recommend that you select 12 months in the dropdown. This means that Google will continue sending your report according to the settings you just established for the next 12 months.

Also, you are required to put something in the message box which will be included in your email. You can use this space to remind yourself to look at certain metrics or just put something generic in the box like the example below.

google analytics guide email message

When you’re done, click “Send”. You will now receive emailed reports!

We all make mistakes, so don’t worry. If you need to correct an error or change/add an email address, here is what you need to do.

Click on “Admin” at to top.

google analytics guide email admin

On the far right, scroll down near the bottom and click on “Scheduled Emails”.

google analytics guide email scheduled

Next, you will see the scheduled email that you just set up. Click on the blue hyperlink which is the subject line of the email.

google analytics guide email subject

Now you will see the settings box as you did before and can make changes accordingly.

google analytics guide email edit

Maybe you need to extend the expiration date on your scheduled report. This is a simple adjustment. Simply click on the actions button on the far right and click on extend.

google analytics guide email extend

Well That Does it for Your Google Analytics Guide for Local Businesses

You’re now on track for being able to successfully set up your Google Analytics account for your local business. If you did not set up email reports in step 5 of this Google Analytics guide, make sure to check it often – at least once a month – so that you know how your website is performing and what changes you might need to make.

We hope this Google Analytics guide has been helpful to you!

[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=”In the Comments…”]Please let us know in the comments if this Google Analytics guide has been helpful to you or if you have any questions![/thrive_text_block]

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