Having Google Analytics work effectively on your website is important. Here’s how to make sure it’s working on every page.
Dave: So, I went through the Site Kit install, your videos, which were very, very, very good. Thank you.
David: Good. Thank you.
Dave: Sometimes I worry about recording videos like that, and then all of a sudden, Google changes their interface, and you have to redo it. But there have only been slight changes. It was really good.
David: Okay, good.
Dave: Of the three videos, the last one said, keep going. Here’s another video on how to tell if it’s on your site, and I did not see the video.
Dave: So, I may be…
David: Let us look and see. So, you’re in step one?
David: Okay. Maybe I didn’t record or publish that video. Okay, Add Google Analytics and Site Kit. Use GTM and Site Kit to add Google Analytics to a website. Let me just look at this really quick and see if maybe it’s at the end.
Dave: That’s all. I just wanted you to point out where it was.
David: Okay. Okay. So, let’s talk about that right now. Since I obviously didn’t record the video. I feel like I wanted to and didn’t. I’m going to look and make sure I didn’t record it and forgot to publish it or something like that.
Dave: Well, I guess if you want, you can just use this as your recorded video and splice it up.
David: I mean, I could.
Dave: You don’t have to do it now. It’s totally fine because I verify it with a Google add-on kind of thing.
David: So. Yeah, I’d love to hear what your process is for testing it, in case it’s different from what… I’m always open to new ideas, too.
Dave: Yeah. The only thing that I do right now is going to the home page. And I’m using Google Tag Assistant Legacy.
Dave: And I can share my screen if you want.
Tricia: Yeah, I use that as well to see what’s in there.
David: Yeah. All right. Go for it. For some reason, I’m having a hard time keeping my camera on. But go on.
Dave: Okay. So, like for this page, it’s this… So, you have to actually hit the record button, Google Tag Assistant Legacy. So, this is the site. And the question is… This should be what I see, I hope.
Dave: Yeah. And I followed that.
David: Okay. So that should be fine.
Dave: So, that would be a good video to verify how you do it on each page and then make sure you don’t double-count?
David: Yeah, yeah. So, I’m going to share my screen. And I’m going to show you what I do, just slightly differently. So, there are two ways to do this. I’m looking at a page in Curious Ants. I use the Ghostery plugin.
David: It does what the tag assistant does, plus a couple of other things. Number one, it blocks Google Analytics from firing. So, I know I’m not inflating my clients’ data by looking at their websites.
Dave: I have a question for you on that.
David: Okay. But it also confirms all the different codes that are being executed on this site outside of just tag manager, just Google products. So, if I was running Facebook, it would show here too. If I was running LinkedIn, it would show it. If I was running CallRail… All the different tracking scripts on a page. Again, it’s on a page-by-page basis, so you’d have to go and click on several different pages to confirm. Right? But with each page, I can go, oh, look, there’s Gravitar. There are a couple of other… Clarity…
Tricia: Clarity. Yeah. So, where it says the site analytics, Google Analytics, does it tell you what that is like? Is that…
David: It says analytics.js, not gtag.
Tricia: So that would be your GA4?
David: No, analytics.js is Universal.
Tricia: Universal. Okay. Yeah.
David: Right. But so, here’s what’s going on here. Ghostery is making the error of conflating Google tag manager and gtag. I don’t know if you can read this on the small screen.
Dave: Yeah, I see it.
David: But it’s gtm.js. That’s tag manager. And I know that’s because it’s got a GTM – something number. Then gtag.js ID equals G-, which is GA4.
David: So, I’m using a little different install. I’m using analytics.js for Universal. I’m using gtag for GA4. And then I’m using tag manager. And because this is blocking based on the URL, this says Google Analytics URL, this is tag manager, it’s not blocked… I’m just learning something here. It’s actually not blocking Google Analytics 4. So, what I can do is I could say block on all sites.
Dave: Block on all sites?
David: Right? So now, it’ll stop the tag manager from executing anytime I visit a page when Ghostery is applied.
Tricia: And when you say visit a page, do you mean on this URL, or is that what we’re talking about?
David: So, with Ghostery, I can block all sites, restrict only this URL, or always trust on this site.
David: So, I just killed tag manager on all because I also don’t want to inflate GA4 data. So, I’ve learned something here. Especially working with small clients, you have to be careful about visiting their sites. If you’re the only visitor in a day, that doesn’t really deliver confidence.
David: So, I like Ghostery because it not only does what the tag assistant does, telling you that Google Analytics is on the site, but it also blocks it, so I don’t inflate data. This also helps me identify what other codes are being tracked.
Dave: So, two questions on that. One is, do you recommend that your clients install this, so they don’t inflate their own numbers?
David: If a client looks at their own website a lot, I would.
David: There are other ways to do it. You can do IP exclusion if, for instance, you have a big company and they all use the same IP address. You can exclude their IP from executing.
Dave: Yeah. I think a lot of my clients would have… What is it? It’s not a fixed IP.
David: Well, if you don’t have a fixed IP, you can’t exclude their IP address. They have to have a static IP.
David: Otherwise, for instance, I’m working at home, and my Internet service provider is a company called Comporium. So, my IP address is shared with my neighborhood. Or at least my street, you know. And so, I don’t want to exclude people on my street. But you have to be careful about doing that. I could potentially prevent people who use Comporium from showing up in my Google Analytics. So, you have to be running a static IP to do that. Dynamic IP won’t work if you use IP exclusion.
Dave: Okay. You mentioned that on the entire site. Does this verify the entire site?
David: This is page-by-page, kind of like the tag assistant. So, what I would do first for the entire site, is go to Analytics. I’m going to go ahead and log in real quick. All right, I’m going to share my screen again. So, this is Google Analytics. For some reason, it’s showing today, but I can go to reports. And I can get real-time. So, this shows me that I was being tracked by GA4 because this is where I am.
Tricia: And me in Florida, Port Charlotte.
David: And this is Dave. And Onawa is not on the Curious Ants site. So, what I can do is I can use the real-time report, and as long as I don’t have something like Ghostery preventing me from getting to the site, I can check around a few pages and just make sure it’s on every page.
Dave: Yeah, it seems like the chances are if it’s on contact or something like that, and the home page, it’s going to be everywhere else.
David: Right. So, with WordPress, actually using the plugin is a superior option. Something like site kit plugin because it will tend to add it to every page, which is what you need to do. However, if the site was built without them, I think WP head or a WP header, site kit might have a hard time adding it.
Dave: But you’ll know that right away.
David: You would because what I would do with a WordPress site is check every type of page, every template. Check a couple of examples of every template. Say you have service pages, and they’re all built with the same template. Well, the content on each might be unique, but I would check a couple and make sure they’re showing up. That would confirm the codes on all the templates. Check a couple of blog posts. If it’s on a couple of blog posts, it’s inevitably probably on every blog post. Check every template that’s possible, including your 404 page. You want your Google Analytics to execute on your 404 page because that helps you keep track if people are visiting pages that don’t exist.
David: Another little trick you can use is to look for referring traffic from your own domain. Sometimes you’ll see this if you ever see that a referring website is your own website. There are several reasons why this could happen. One of which is that the Google Analytics code is missing from a page, which means when someone visits a page and then visits another, the session starts over, and the website referring is your own website. So, that means you might be missing the Google Analytics code from the page on your site. It could also mean other things. For instance, if you have a pdf on your website. Well, Google Analytics code can’t execute on your pdf. So, if you click from a pdf to a home page, well, it’s referring from your own website. If you spend more than 30 minutes on a page without interaction, meaning the session ends, and then you click on another page, then your session starts over, and the source of the session is your own website, right? So, that’s one of the reasons in the weekly analytics dashboard, I ask you to set up a measurement for self-referring traffic. Because you want to keep an eye on that and make sure you understand and can account for referrals from your own site. Does that help give you options for troubleshooting whether Google Analytics is on every page?
Dave: Yeah. I think that makes sense. That’s a good way to do it.
David: You can also use Screaming Frog, which I love. It’s an SEO tool. It’s not free, but you can tell Screaming Frog to look for gtag.js on every page and tell me if gtag.js is missing from a page.
Dave: That’s a good idea.
David: Right. Things like that. It’s important to check.
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