How to Set Up Google Analytics: 5 Quick Videos That Make it Easy

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Andy Crestodina
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8 Minute Read

Everyone goofs sometimes. But an ‘error of omission’ is the worst. It’s incomplete work, started and never finished.

In Google Analytics, the most common mistake is not finishing the setup.

But, it’s an easy fix. After you add the tracking code to your site, setting up Analytics just takes a few clicks. To keep this simple, we’re not just listing the steps. We’ve made a tiny video for each type of setup.

  • Goals

  • Filters

  • Site Search

  • Webmaster Tools

  • Dashboards

Easy peasy, right? Let’s go.


1. Setting up goals in Google Analytics

Why set up goals? So that you can see how many visitors are taking action, converting into leads, subscribers and customers. You can see what sources of traffic are sending visitors that are most likely to convert, and which pages are the most convincing.

A “destination goal” is easy to setup and works for most accounts. Here’s how to set up goals in Google Analytics:

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Click “Admin” in the header

Step 2: Under “View” click “Goals”

Step 3: Click the “New Goal” button

Step 4: Enter in the name of your goal. For example: Contact Lead

Step 5: Select “Destination” as the type of goal and click on “Next step”

Step 6: Under Goal details, set the destination equal to your thank you page URL, such as “/thank-you”

Step 7: Select “Value” > “On” and assign a monetary value to your goal, even if it’s arbitrary. Setting a $1 value for each goal is perfectly fine.

Step 8: Select “Funnel” > “On” and enter in the URL of your Contact form “/contact” then select “Required” > “Yes”

Step 9: Click on “Create Goal” and you’re all set!

Troubleshooting goal setup:

Your website needs “thank you” pages in order to set up goals using this process. This is because Google Analytics is based on Javascript on pages. There are two main reasons why websites don’t have thank you pages…

  • The website has a simple email link on the contact page, rather than a contact form.

  • The website has a popup thank you message, without a separate page and URL, when a contact form is submitted.

These are big problems for Analytics. Without thank you pages, you’ll need to create “event” goals, which require a bit of programming. Not only is that more work, but you miss out the marketing benefit of thank you pages.


2. Setting up filters in Google Analytics

Why set up filters? So that traffic from you and your office doesn’t show up in your stats. You are not your target audience, so you don’t want your data in your Analytics. Clean data means better decisions.

An “IP address filter” is the easiest to setup and works well for most accounts. Here’s how to set up an IP filter in Analytics:

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Click “Admin” in the header

Step 2: Under View, click on “Filters” > “Create New Filter”

Step 3: Name your filter

Step 4: Choose Filter Type > “Predefined Filter”

Step 5: “Select filter type” > “Exclude”

Step 6: “Select source or destination” > “traffic from the IP addresses”

Step 7: “Select expression” > “that are equal to”

Step 8: To find the IP address of your network, search in Google for “what is my IP.” Your IP address will be at the top of the search results page. Copy and paste it into the IP address field in Google Analytics.

Step 9: Click “Save”

Troubleshooting filter setup:

An IP address filter only works if the IP address of your network doesn’t change. If your office or home network doesn’t have a “static” IP address, then your network is grabbing a new IP every time and the filter won’t work!


3. Setting up site search in Google Analytics

Why set up site search? So you can see what people are searching for on your website. If visitors are confused by the navigation, they may use your search tool. Knowing what they’re searching for may give you ideas for tweaking your navigation, moving content to the home page, or renaming things.

It’s a way to listen to your visitors. Here’s how to set up the Google Analytics Site Search report…

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Click “Admin” in the header

Step 2: Under “View” in the third column, click on “View Settings”

Step 3: Under “Site Search Settings,” select “On”

Step 4: If you don’t know the query parameter of your site search tool, perform a search on your website and look for it in the URL. For example, a search for “Keywords” on the Orbit blog, shows this in the URL: https://www.orbitmedia.com/?s=keywords&submit=Go%21

The query parameter appears just before the keyword in the URL, so for the Orbit site, it’s “s”

Step 5: Click on “Strip query parameters out of URL”

Step 6: Click “Save”

Troubleshooting site search setup:

The Google site search report works by pulling the keyword from the URL. So if the search tool on your website doesn’t cause the keyphrase to appear in the URL, Analytics won’t be able to see it and you won’t be able to use this report without special programming.

Of course, this report only works for websites that have a search tool on their website. Not every website has (or needs) a site search. No site search, no report.

The report of broken dreams: Once you have this set up, you can use Analytics to find the phrases that people are searching for but not finding. You can learn how to generate this report here, where it is listed as Tip #2.


4. Connecting Google Analytics to Google Search Console

Why connect GA to Search Console? When you connect these two accounts, they share data, making more reports visible in Google Analytics: the “Search Engine Optimization Reports.”

These reports show how your site is performing in search. They include the following:

  • Queries: Which keywords are you ranking for? Which are getting clicked?

  • Landing pages: Which pages are ranking? Are they on page 1 of Google?

  • Geographic summary: Where in the world are your search visitors from?

The first two are especially useful. They allow you to see and improve the performance of your website in search engines. The insights here let you do real blog optimization.

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Click “Admin” in the header

Step 2: Under “Property” in the second column, click on “Property Settings”

Step 3: Under “Search Console” > select “Adjust Search Console”

Step 4: Select the Search Console site that you’d like to associate with your Google Analytics account.

Step 5: Click “Save.” Once you get the “Add association” popup, click “ok.”

Step 6: This should take you back to your Google Analytics account. Click “Save.”

Troubleshooting Search Console / Google Analytics setup:

To check to make sure it’s set up properly, click on “Reporting” in the header. Scroll down on the left column until you see Acquisition (where people are coming from). Select “Search Engine Optimization > Queries.” You should see the full Query report.


5. Adding dashboards in Google Analytics

Why add dashboards? Because you’re busy. Not only do dashboards make all of your favorite reports visible with one click, but they can be automatically emailed to your inbox on any frequency you’d like.

The most common complaint about Analytics is “I don’t have time,” so this little trick fixes that problem by making the most important reports more visible to you. The easier it is, the more likely you are to use it.

Here’s how to create a Google Analytics dashboard and have it emailed to yourself regularly…

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: While viewing your favorite report, click “Add to Dashboard” in the header

Step 2: From the “Select Dashboard” dropdown, click “New Dashboard”

Step 3: Enter a name for your dhasboard, and check the boxes for the report “widgets” you’d like to add

Step 4: Click “Add to Dashboard”

Or start with a dashboard that’s already been created…

Step 1: Click “Reporting” in the header

Step 2: In the left column select “Dashboards > New Dashboard”

Step 3: Here you have the option to use the starter dashboard or import a dashboard from the Solutions Gallery.

Step 5: Once added, you can edit the dashboard reports or layout. Add reports that are meaningful to you and your business!

Now email the dashboard reports to you and your team regularly…

Step 1: Above the dashboard click on “Email” and enter the email(s) you’d like to send it to.

Step 2: Select the frequency “daily, weekly, monthly” and the day of week or the day of month.

Step 3: In the Advanced Options, set the duration for this automatic emails (i.e., 6 months) and the message within the email.

Step 4: Click “Send”


You hadn’t set these up yet? Don’t feel bad…

Even expert marketers and big blogs often haven’t finished setting up Analytics. It’s very common. Even worse, Analytics may be set up perfectly, but the marketers don’t look at the data, even though a simple dashboard would make it easy.

Analytics is more than a scoreboard, it’s a decision support tool.

Once you have things all set up, it’s time to start paying close attention. Don’t just look at weekly traffic and smile or frown. Ask questions and look into your Analytics for answers. Analytics isn’t just a scoreboard. It’s for analysis!

Ready for more?
Here are 4 videos that show you how to use Analytics for real analysis.

Special thanks to Analytics pro, Amanda Gant for her help on this one!

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What are your thoughts?

Comments (27)
  • Thanks Andy – really useful and straightforward video guides. I’m going to add some new dashboardsfrom the solutions gallery.

    • It was a small thrill the first time I saw all those dashboards and custom segments. There’s an entire community of people there helping each other use Analytics. Brilliant!

  • Thanks Andy! this is great. Something I’ve always struggled with is confirming that my Google Analytics E-commerce tracking is working properly. I have it enabled & it says that it’s on, but nothing is tracked. Any advice on e-commerce tracking? Thanks again!

  • This is so timely for me. I’m setting up a personal blog and need to get GA and Webmaster Tools set up. Now my lazy self won’t have to go figure it out on my own 🙂

    • Perfect! Let me know if you have any problems, Kim. Sometimes, it’s hard to get GA and GWT to be friends. 🙂

  • Thank you Andy! Great videos! It was very helpful.

    • Glad to hear it, Silvana! I’m thinking of adding videos to more posts. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  • Thanks Andy… nice and concise tutorials…perfect

  • Incredibly valuable and timely. May need more professional and paid consulting as the value derived is immense. Thank you!

    • We don’t do Analytics consulting, but I’m happy to help you anytime, Martin. Feel free to reach out. It’s good to see you here in the comments!

  • Connecting GA account to my WMT dashboard was fast and easy. Nice one Andy!

  • Thanks Andy, this was AWESOME!

    I didn’t realize how great it would be to add the search box. So I did! Excited to check back later and see what kind of data I get.

    Question regarding Setting up Goals in Step 8. My site has opt-in boxes on all my pages, so does that mean it is not applicable to me? I also have created separate pages for opt-ins for when I do guest posting. Do I need to do separate goals for each of these then? Hopefully that makes sense 🙂

    Thank you so much, your site ROCKS! <3

    • Thanks for the feedback, Jenny. I’m glad you liked this one.

      About your signup box, it sounds like yours is like ours: on every page. In that case, just skip step 8, since you don’t really have a funnel. But you’ll still be able to see what people were reading when they signed up. Just look at the “Reverse Goal Path” in Analytics.

      Hope this is helps!

  • I can’t believe, how you explained everything in details. For the newbie or business owner its very big problem to set a Google Analytics in a proper way but after seeing this article I can do it with any core experience.

    Thanks Andy for sharing valuable resources!

  • Awesome info Andy thank you… I have a question when viewing the Analytics is there a way of filtering the origin of payment via Pay Pal. I have noticed that in the Pay Pal stats there are 5 columns and know that some of these are driven from links on Facebook but dont know how to set them apart.

    Thanks Audrey

  • Hi Andy,

    As Always, another great Article posted by you on orbit media. No doubt, Google analytics is one of the best tool ever by Google. I had already connected my analytics accounts with webmaster tool when I start using this platform. But, I didn’t hear about how to set up goals and how to filter. Through this post it comes to know me and I gonna follow your tips.

    Thank you for sharing!

    -Mustafa

  • Good read! I would love to be able to learn more on Google Analytics and be able to benefit my small at home business. I will continue reading more and make some adjustments to my business.

  • The best thing i get here is the site search tracking. All steps are defined in an easy way and really effective for the website. Thnaks

    • Thanks for your comment, Mandeep. If you like to track Site Search, you might find this really useful: Tip #2 on this post…
      https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/things-to-put-on-your-website/

      It explains how to generate the “Report of Broken Dreams” which shows what people are searching for but not finding.

      I hope you find this useful!

    • Absolutely right

  • Thanks Andy – I always learn something new from you, it helps me a lot 🙂

    Good bless you, Keep it up!

  • Andy,

    Just about everyone of the steps worked great for me! However, I have tried multiple times to Connect Google Analytics to Google Search Console but when I check to make sure it’s set up properly by clicking on “Reporting” in the header and under Aquisition, the “Search Engine Optimization > Queries” tab is not there for me to select to see any of the keywords. Under the Search Console Settings, my property (website) is there with 1 view selected (All Website Data) but still no SEO tab. When I click on edit to try to add again and click “Save” or “add site to search console” it opens a new tab to the Search Console – Add a Property/Manage Property page rather than taking me back to the Analytics page. Please help me. I could really use the ability to see which keywords are working best for me.

    Thanks

  • thanks !!!

  • Something I’ve always struggled with is confirming that my Google Analytics E-commerce tracking is working properly

  • i am very happy to read this article. All steps are defined in an easy way and really effective for the website. Thanks

  • Should have explained with some screenshots.

 
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