Tracking goals or leads need to be as accurate as possible. Is using confirmation pages a good way to do it?
Tricia: The URL contains a certain value at the end.
David: Okay, so it’s the landing page view?
David: And what is the problem?
Tricia: When I look at my events or conversions, it says count, which to me, is how many times somebody landed on that page.
Tricia: And then users. So, I’m wondering if they’re landing on the page and leaving it and then coming back, maybe? Because it says I have 74 counts, and I’m like, I didn’t have 74 people schedule these Zoom calls with me. Then it says users 12, and I’m like, okay, that could have been. I could have had twelve. So, I guess between the 74 and 12, I’m trying to figure out where that discrepancy is, like why it would be that big of a number.
David: Right, so, I have noticed that, and it goes to a pet peeve of mine. Have you ever met anybody who doesn’t ever close a tab on their browser?
Tricia: Are you trying to talk bad about me, David?
David: I had a client who had so many tabs open on his browser that he couldn’t find the X button to close it. I mean, we’re talking thousands of tabs opened. And, on some of those tabs, he had filled out a form. Each time he started up his browser, it would reload.
Tricia: Yeah. Okay.
David: And agency owners are the worst culprits.
Tricia: Yes. Because I’m already looking at my screen now, and I’ve got a whole thing across there. But last night, though, I did close all of them out. So, at first, for a minute, I was like, uh oh, is there an issue? But that was a thought in my mind that that could be what it is. Okay.
David: And here’s where it gets worse. In UA, it only counts as a goal, per user, per session. But with GA4, it literally counts the goal every single time. So, what you’re having is that just every time.
Tricia: Yeah, because it says count, but then it does say user. So, let me see. That was events. Okay. Yeah. So, my conversions say… Yeah, it’s saying count is 74, when I really have to look at my events and say it was only 12 users. So, really, it’s only 12 instead of 74.
David: What you’re hearing here is an argument for not using the confirmation page to track goals.
Tricia: So. Okay.
David: I like using the confirmation page to track goals, but this is the problem with it.
David: So, you can track the click of the button in GA4. But the problem with that is that if someone has an invalid form, let’s say they have an invalid email address. They click the button, and that is a click, even though it is not a submission.
Tricia: Yeah. Yeah.
David: So, you have to weigh the decision kind of thing. I always like having a confirmation page.
David: But I also want to have accurate data.
David: Here’s another thing that I would double-check if I were you. Make sure that your confirmation page is not in your XML sitemap.
Tricia: Okay. Alright.
David: Because if it is Google, and remember we used to talk about the idea of having a productive confirmation page? If you have a very helpful confirmation page, people want to go back to it. Or Google might serve it to people because it’s helpful.
David: You have to exclude it from your XML sitemap so Google doesn’t even know it’s there.
David: So, within Yoast, that’s really easy to do. It’s under the advanced section. You can just say, do not allow search engine to index this page, and it removes it from the sitemap.
Tricia: Okay. I’ll have to check.
David: And it no indexes it at the same time.
Tricia: Okay. I will definitely check on that.
David: That is a super common thing, too. I’m doing a huge audit. I delivered it today, and they have all kinds of things in their sitemap that they don’t want people to see.
David: There are 404 pages in their sitemap. Okay, we have to fix that.
Tricia: Yeah. Okay. I’m just in here…
David: Alright, well, let’s see if Onawa has a question to ask.
Onawa: I didn’t. But obviously, this is really helpful because we all have leftover UA pages that haven’t been transferred over, and I haven’t thought about it. And you need to do something with them.
Tricia: Or Google will.
Onawa: I just got the confirmation pages tracking. So, I don’t have much to worry about yet.
David: Just double-check to make sure they’re not in your sitemap.
Onawa: Yeah, I did make a note of that.
Tricia: Yeah, that’s what I’m checking right now.
David: And you know, it’s not hard with GA4 to set up click tracking as the conversion. Especially if you use a really good plugin on WordPress like Gravity Forms or something good. Gravity Forms will actually send the event, and you can capture that event as the completion because it’s not just… How do I say this? Gravity forms will allow you to see that it wasn’t just the button that was clicked, but that it was a valid button clicked, and all the required fields are filled out and stuff like that.
Onawa: I had wondered if it would actually go to the confirmation page if you had a form submission, but it was spam. And reCAPTCHA, would it actually go to the confirmation page at that point?
David: It shouldn’t. If it did, then your reCAPTCHA isn’t working.
Onawa: Yeah, that’s fair.
David: Which, you know, could be true, too. Right?
Tricia: So, okay.
Tricia: So, I’m just checking something on one of my thank you pages. And so, I have Yoast. So, I just went down, and I said no in the field, allow search engines to show this page in search results.
Tricia: Okay. And that means that Yoast does not include it in the site map.
David: Right. There are two things. It adds a no index to the page, and it removes it from the sitemap.
Tricia: Okay. All right. I need to make a note of that.
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