We had a lot of questions about Google Analytics in this week’s Office Hours. The one we spent most time with was about following them through your website.


The conversation started in an important place: what’s the best place to get baseline data of a website before it launches. Sure, you could add Google Analytics to the old site (and it might be worth it) but that’s a lot of work (even if it’s worth it). We talked about a couple options here so a client knows a new website is worth the effort.

Next we talked about some rumors of SEO ranking factors. Everyone has an opinion and some claim to have the secret sauce. Others just like to pick out one, small detail, to make it look like you’re not doing “SEO right.” One of our Colony members received some accusations that they weren’t doing SEO right and wanted some confirmation on whether or not Google cares if:

  • You mention “Home” (and link to your homepage from it) in your menu.
  • Does text need to be above the fold, for SEO.

The short answer is, it doesn’t hurt but it’s probably not as big of a deal as this person wanted to make it.

We also talked about Hostname traffic as a way of monitoring the accuracy of your Google Analytics data and preventing web spam.

But most of our time was talking about how to follow a website visitor through Google Analytics. This is hard because Google Analytics believes that following individuals in their data is a privacy violation. You can get some broad strokes to see how people interact with your site in general, but you cannot do this with Google Analytics. If you need to do this, you might need to invest in an analytics system like KISSmetrics. But that’s expensive.

The most important question about this is why you’d want to know this? What do you hope to learn by tracking people as they view your website? In this case, the Colony member wanted to see if their social media efforts were generating other benefits besides leads. We investigated several ways to get at some data (without following individuals) from Google Analytics.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask at the next Office Hours? Join the Colony and you can ask them yourself!

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