4 Check Google Analytics Tags
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to check Google Analytics tags properly on each page. The easiest way to find missing pages, i.e. when a page has either broken or missing Google Analytics tags, is when it will appear separately as a referral link in a conversion path or in the acquisition report – almost as if it was a separate website altogether. We call these self-referrals, and they are a good indicator of whether all pages have been tagged up or not.
Start from within the Google Analytics interface
Inside Google Analytics, select Acquisitions from the left-hand navigation bar > All Traffic > Channels. Once loaded, make sure that you select the relevant conversions from the drop-down menu located at the right top of the report (next to Conversions).
Scroll down to the data table at the bottom of the screen that lists your individual channels. You should see Direct, Organic Search, etc.
Then click on the channel labeled “Referrals”.
In the resulting report, look for instances where your domain name (website.com) appears in the report, or any sub-domain (abc.website.com). These indicate problems with the tracking setup, although always use discretion on the number of conversions that they impact.
You might find instances where your domain name (website.com) appears in the referral report. This is an indication that a page along the conversion path is either missing GA tracking code, has an inconsistent implementation when compared to the other tags on the site, or was installed incorrectly. This problem needs to be addressed as soon as possible, as it is polluting your data and preventing the right channel from getting the credit it deserves.
For instances where you might have subdomains (abc.website.com), you could consider combining these multiple properties into a single profile. The single benefit of this action is the ability to track all visitors within a single conversion path, even as they move through individual properties, and being able to tie those actions back to the original ad click or channel that introduced your website to this visitor. The solution can be referred to as cross-domain or subdomain tracking.
Referral Exclusion solution
A simple solution is to exclude your own website from within Google Analytics through the “Referral Exclusion” option. This could be handy if you use subdomains or an external payment solution. More complex information on configuration and troubleshooting for cross domain or subdomain tracking can be found here, if that does not solve your own site from showing up in the Referrals report.
Use the Google Tag Assistant to check your Google Analytics tags
Another way to finding missing or malfunctioning Google Analytics tags is using Google Tag Assistant. You can now look at what pages are (not) correctly firing the Google Analytics tags by going through some of the common paths that visitors might follow on your page. If you consistently see the “green light” , you can assume that the right information is being sent to Google Analytics. For more information on how to interpret the findings of Google Tag Assistant, watch this video.
Why am I not seeing results immediately?
The Acquisition reports look back thirty days in standard mode. There could hence be a serious reporting delay. Also, these changes are not applied retroactively, so you may not see your fixes to the issues described in this section right away. However, directional trends, such as a measurable decrease in self-referrals on a daily basis may provide an appropriate guide to observe whether the change may have been effective.
So once you have addressed the above correctly you should be collecting hits correctly. Google Analytics Diagnostics, the notifications bell on your top right hand corner, will give you further instructions on quick fixes if you have somehow still missed out on some common tagging mistakes. You can read up on this great feature here.
In addition to the tips, here is some context. For websites in the top five hundred a more thorough scan of the website is probably appropriate. For anyone else these three steps described above should be more than enough.
There is a relatively simple way to find tagging mistakes through recording paths that visitors take on your website. This allows you to see what Google Analytics code fires as you proceed through the site. Check the Google Tag Assistant recordings instructional video here. Or alternatively, get in touch and let us check your digital properties.