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Google Analytics, Tag Manager & Search Console

Google Analytics, Tag Manager & Search Console

Google provides numerous free tools that can help you make informed decisions about your business. The three data driven tools are covered in this article.

  1. Google Analytics tracks all activity on your website and who’s using/visiting it. It’s imperative that the account is set up correctly in order to provide the necessary data.
  2. Google Tag Manager makes it easy to manage the snippets of code (tags) needed to track your website, users and actions.
  3. Google Search Console provides additional information on your website and how it is found in search results. This is tracked within your Google Analytics if set up correctly.

Together, these 3 tools provide the data that enables you to make informed decisions about your marketing campaigns, identifying target audience/s, product development and advertising.

Why is Google Analytics important to my e-Commerce website?

Google Analytics is the most widely used option when tracking who visits your website, where they come from and their movements across your site. Knowing this information is crucial because it provides conclusive information about your website based on actual user data (no more guessing!).

With Google Analytics, you’ll begin to see which of your advertising ventures are yielding the most optimal results. It also provides clarity on which pages of your website gets the most traffic, where people spend the most and least time on your site.

This tracking data can then be used to help you narrow down your advertising audience by, amongst other things:

  • location,
  • demographic,
  • referral source
  • technology used

Google Analytics Data is critical when comparing your website’s performance over selected periods of time. We’ll go into a deeper understanding and use this data in an upcoming article.

At this stage, just ensure that all these tools are properly set up and linked to your website in order to efficiently track the data you’ll be needing.

With the introduction of Google’s new requirements for search optimization, having this information certifies that you are presenting the best website to your ideal clients who are searching the web for your products.

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager works hand-in-hand with Google Analytics, creating an easy-to-access “dashboard” to manage the various tags that are used on your website. Tags are bits of code that are used on your site to track your clients’ behaviour/activity.

These may include, but are not limited to:

  • page views
  • forms submitted
  • products viewed
  • products added to cart
  • products purchased
  • subscriptions sign up
  • And others…

You can even manage the tags and tracking information from social media and other platforms within the Google Tag Manager.

Once the Tag Manager code is added to your account, all website tags can be managed from one central location, making it easier compared to managing multiple plugins or pieces of code on your website. This also makes the checking for duplicate or conflicting tags so much easier for you or your web developer.

Google Search Console

Previously known as “Google Webmasters” or “Google Webmaster Tools”, Google Search Console is an app that communicates with Google and tells them that your site exists, where it is, its contents and notifies you when you, or your web developer, have to address any issues, potential/existing threats or errors.

Linking Google Search Console to your Google Analytics account gives you access to more detailed information on:

  • How users are finding your site
  • What the most common search terms are
  • Where clients are landing on your website based on their search terms

This, again, gives you more detailed information on how to target your audience, creating marketing campaigns, and increasing your sales and traffic.

How do I set up Google Analytics, Tag Manager and Search Console for my ECommerce Website?

The key aspects to setting up your Google Analytics account correctly is, placing the tracking tag on your website and informing your clients that you’re using tracking codes on your websites.

Setting up your account starts at https://analytics.google.com . As with many Google products, there is a fairly simple walk-through provided, and the aim is to get to the tracking code for your website.

Once you have this tracking code, you’ll need to place it on your website so that the data starts showing up on your Google Analytics dashboard. As mentioned, Google Tag Manager can be used for this, or you can set it up with your web developer or use a plugin such as Monster Insights.

Once you’ve set up your Google Analytics account and linked it to your website, you also need to inform your customers/site visitors that you’ll be tracking their data and in line with GDPR requirements, you have to obtain their permission to do so.

We recommend doing that using a comprehensive cookie notification plugin or service such as GDPR Cookie Compliance Plugin by Moove. This plugin will help you decide how you notify your customers and where to put that specific information.

How to get set up on Google Tag Manager

The key aspects of setting up your Google Tag Manager account correctly are:

  • Setting up the account
  • Linking the account to your website and Google Analytics account
  • Adding all the necessary tags to your account

Start here: https://tagmanager.google.com/, create a new account, set up the details you’d like for the container, then set up the tags and versions you want to manage for each of those containers.

While setting up your account, you or your web developer will need to place a tracking code on your website giving Google Tag Manager access to it. Once the account is correctly linked, set up all the tags you’ll be using for tracking all activity on your site.

If you link your Google Analytics account to your Google Tag Manager account (which we recommend), you will need to replay the Analytics tracking code, with the Tag Manager code.

There’s no need to add any additional information to your cookie policy, as your Tag Manager is purely for managing the tags you’ve already disclosed above.

How to get set up on Google Search Console

Previously known as “Google Webmasters”, Google Search Console is an app that speaks to Google and tells them that your site exists, where it is, its contents and when to deal with any errors.

It’s a great way to find out if Google is flagging any particular issues or threats on your site. Google Search Console can be used for:

  • Getting verified
    • DNS verification / adding code (or by Google Analytics account)
  • Sitemap submission
    • You can tell Google what you want it to index, how often and how important it is to the site.
  • Checking for coverage errors
    • See which pages Google can or can’t index in your site, and why.
  • Deal with errors
    • By running tests within the Search Console
    • Along with the base indexing errors, there may be structural data (schema) errors

These 3 things are vital when setting up your Google Search Console:

  • Signing up for an account
  • Verify that you’re the owner of the website you’re wanting to link
    • The verification process is simpler if you already have a Google Analytics account that is properly set up.

Sign up for your Google Search Console account here: https://search.google.com/search-console.

Once the sign up process is complete, move on to verifying that you own the website. The quickest way to do this, if you’ve already set up your Google Analytics account, is to link the two via the “verify” button.

You’ll also need to authorise that Google Search Console information be used in your Google Analytics account.

This is an uncomplicated action that only requires the clicking of a button and following a few prompts.

Conclusion

If set up correctly, Google Analytics can be a wealth of information on your website data. It can provide some much needed assistance in advertising and marketing decisions for your business. Getting the account set up correctly is vital. It is important that the site is tracking correctly in order to provide useful and useable data.

Google Tag Manager keeps all of the various tracking codes organised in one place. These codes are necessary for tracking specific actions of your website users. This helps you, or your website manager, ensure that you aren’t duplicating the systems that are used to track the data.

Google Search Console helps you understand what is being indexed for searches on your website. It lets you know if there are any issues that affect your ranking. It allows you to link the information from Search Engine entries to your Google Analytics.

Together, all these tools help you make the best decisions for your business when it comes to marketing and advertising.

Want to get some help on Google’s tools?
We can help you make the best of using Google’s tools. Book a call with us.

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