A Google Analytics audit is a critical foundation for data accuracy across the board. This foundation will allow you to move forward with specific SEO strategies, all of which rely on crisp, clean data.
Auditing your Google Analytics implementation will help you fix common data issues that plague most Google Analytics implementations. These issues can include data inaccuracies, data integrity issues and problems with your data coming in from event tracking.
All of these can cause significant errors in data processing, and can ultimately have a negative impact on your decision making process.
By working with a professional experienced in Google Analytics audits, you can ensure that your data reporting is always accurate from the get-go, rather than fixing errors after-the-fact.
What Is a Google Analytics Audit?
Quite simply, a Google Analytics audit is an audit of, well, your Google Analytics! This type of audit takes a deep dive into your Google Analytics setup, uncovering issues that may be affecting the accuracy of your data.
Data accuracy issues can affect your SEO strategy decision-making process for the worse. For example, if you’re relying on event tracking that’s skewed because of a wrongly-attributed event, then you will likely make wrong decisions about changing specific event-tracking buttons.
If your goal tracking is mis-attributed, then you may make inaccurate decisions regarding the tracking of those goals.
For instance, if you’re making choices about someone’s performance, but that performance was mis-attributed to an inaccurate event tracking tag, then that data is not reliable and you should not trust any of it.
If you’re making decisions about phone numbers based on tags attached to the event button, you will want to ensure that you don’t have that button duplicated anywhere. This is because such duplication can lead to data over-reporting.
What Are the Benefits of a Google Analytics Audit?
There are many advantages to performing a Google Analytics audit. From uncovering issues affecting underperforming data, overperforming data and performance data with glitches, GA audits can uncover many facets about your GA setup that you didn’t know existed.
The following benefits are a thousand-fold and can help you increase the accuracy of your reporting data:
- You’re able to get the full story of your data.
- You can create custom reports to track specific data attributes.
- If you’re unfamiliar with discrepancies in your data, the audit can help identify them.
- If your data is failing you at any point along the pipeline, GA audits can help correct those errors.
Do not underestimate the power of the Google Analytics audit. It will be able to help you identify these issues and much more.
An Audit Can Help You Have Confidence In Your Data
Are you entirely confident that your data is reporting the activity on your website accurately? If you have any doubt whatsoever, then you may want to invest in a critical GA audit.
Did you know that critical errors in a GA setup can impact your data quality? It’s true. Data quality can be impacted by seemingly innocuous steps during a GA setup such as:
- errors collecting data that you need in your profiles;
- missing code that may have gotten through QA testing;
- errors in the measurement of your data, such as custom dimensions or variables;
- identifying spam and bot traffic;
- errors in your query parameters;
- identifying traffic from your own IP vs. everyone else’s; and
- much, much more.
Many of these issues can cause you to lose confidence in your data along with your overall reporting. Fortunately, a GA audit can help restore your trust.
What Are the Signs You May Need a Google Analytics Audit?
Indications you may require a GA audit usually jump out at you. For example, you may find a situation where you have reviewed all of your data but during a meeting, your team presents something that is inconsistent with that data (such as goal completions going up when lead volume actually went down).
Or, perhaps you have noticed a lot of spammy bot traffic showing up in your reports as of late. Or maybe the (not set) value is listed as one of your top landing pages.
Figuring out that you need a Google Analytics audit is only half the battle. The other half of the battle is dealing with how to take full advantage of it. You want to make sure that all of your data is exactly correct from the get-go, rather than waiting until later for problems to arise.
There may be other obvious issues at play but you are not exactly aware of them at the outset. That’s OK. That’s why a Google Analytics audit is critical to your venture.
What Does a Google Analytics Audit Do For a Business?
In short, a Google Analytics audit can help any business get their data reporting up to speed. You can identify shortcomings in your existing implementation (if any), and make sure that all the checkboxes are ticked in a new one.
Any audit should serve as the foundation for the business moving forward, ensuring that all reporting issues are ironed out for the foreseeable future.
With an investment in a Google Analytics audit, you are investing in the reporting accuracy of your organization.
Why Are Google Analytics Audits Necessary?
GA audits are an integral part of creating a robust, accurate GA integration that will make sure that your data can be trusted for months to come.
They are necessary to ensuring the health and accuracy of your data. A Google Analytics audit can help you make sound, data-driven decisions regarding your ongoing SEO strategy.
Data-driven SEO strategy decisions are dependent on accurate data. If anything about your Google Analytics implementation is out of whack, then the decisions you make will be ineffective at best and detrimental at worst.
What Are Your Google Analytics Audit Goals?
When embarking on a project of this magnitude, it’s important to set your goals and objectives at the outset. To do so, you may find it helpful to ask yourself questions such as:
- What do you hope to achieve through this project?
- What are your expectations for the project?
- Do you anticipate any results after the project’s conclusion?
- How do you think the end result will impact your bottom line?
- Why are you investing in a GA audit?
All of these questions are important for gauging where you are at, as well as for setting your expectations before the project begins. Let’s take a closer look at each.
What Do You Hope to Achieve Through This Project?
As an SEO practitioner, you may have heard about how Google Analytics audits can help you ensure the accuracy of your data. However, it can result in so much more.
An audit is also capable of revealing weaknesses in your implementation, along with security issues. You may also find out that you have not set up your analytics in the most accurate fashion. This can lead to erroneous data that you may in turn contribute to bad decisions.
Google Analytics is so much more than just a pretty interface for reporting your traffic and conversions. It’s also a tool to manage your SEO efforts from beginning to end.
What Are Your Expectations for the Project?
Project expectations are important to set right away. You want to make sure that you invest wisely, as well as that you’re not getting the wrong kind of audit.
It’s crucial to realize that a GA audit may not generate direct results to your bottom line. Why is that?
A GA audit focuses on the back end reporting data, not necessarily on your efforts in the front end. This means that you won’t see results purely from putting time and effort into analysis and reporting tasks.
Your GA audit will translate into positive results, however, when you make data-driven decisions based on accurate data.
Can this translate into higher rankings and traffic? Absolutely. Just make sure you’re aware that it’s more of a subtle “We did this because of what this audit reveals,” rather than “We did this audit and it immediately increased rankings.”
Do You Anticipate Any Results after the Project’s Conclusion?
If you are expecting instant results, this could be a mistake. Unless you have prior experience implementing Google Analytics audits, you cannot accurately anticipate any realistic results until after you have seen the implementation in action.
Even then, the results will not drastically impact search performance. Instead, it will be a softer, more subtle impact. This impact will be felt in terms of your SEO specialist’s greater accuracy in creating SEO strategies, and the way those strategies will ultimately manifest in increased traffic and rankings down the line.
As with any technical project of this magnitude, some faith is required in the beginning, because you don’t know exactly what the state of your Google Analytics implementation is in (unless you set it up yourself). Even then, you may run into surprises you didn’t even know existed.
What Impact to Your Bottom Line Do You Expect?
The ideal situation is that you will expect significant improvement in the accuracy of your data, if you have a data implementation that is flawed at the outset.
If, however, you are expecting something else, or have unrealistically high hopes, it is likely that you may want to wait and sign on the dotted line until you are more sure of what you will be receiving.
Why? It’s easy to fall into the trap of wondering where your organization’s money is going. However, delayed gratification is the name of the game in an audit such as this. With a GA audit, you’re auditing all of the backend data that will be critical to the success of your website later on.
This is why going into a project such as this with delayed gratification as the mindset is so vital.
Why Are You Investing In a Google Analytics Audit?
This is an important question to ask before you ever commit to an audit: Why are you investing in this project to begin with?
Exactly how much confidence do you have in your Google Analytics data? Again, we are reaching the point where you have doubts about your data’s accuracy. You may have made a decision based on inaccurate data. Or, you might have other reasons to doubt that your data is not in the best shape it could be.
Asking yourself this question at the beginning of your auditing endeavors is always a good idea, because it gives you clarity on why you are choosing to move forward. If you’re acting based on a salesman’s suggestion, you may be disappointed in the results. If, however, you’re moving forward based on your own experience, and because relying on the data in the past has proven harmful, you may be pleased with your outcomes.
By exploring the why behind this audit before you move forward, you can avoid signing up for a project you may not even need.
Is Investing In a Google Analytics Audit Right for You?
Yes, we know: We always want clients to say “yes” and sign up for a Google Analytics audit. But the truth is, not everyone needs one. If you are confident in your SEO efforts and you consistently make data-driven decisions that prove to be beneficial, you may not want to move forward with a GA audit. In such a case, it would be little more than a waste of time and money.
If, however, your data is a mess, you don’t have internal control over that data or you have significant issues with making data-driven decisions within your organization, you may want to seriously consider investing in a Google Analytics audit.
This could be the only way for you to regain control over your data and ensure that you have the clean, actionable insights you need at your disposal.
Featured Image: Shutterstock / Apr 2021