The Huge Collection of Google Analytics Tips

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Putting aside all recent arguments and gossip as per privacy issues (yep, nothing is probably totally free and Google Analytics should be using its (your?) data in some way), I should confess, I love the tool and use it.

I’ve been compiling the list of advanced Google Analytics tips that open up plenty of possibilities to track and evaluate. Today I am sharing the list and expect you to share yours too!

Note: I haven’t tried all of these tricks with the new Google Analytics code yet, so if there are any problems with any of them, please report.

Track 404 page

  • Classify your site visitors, e.g. track the browsing and buying behavior of your “customers” (those who subscribed, made a purchase or downloaded your product):

<script type=”text/javascript”>pageTracker._setVar(‘Marketing/PR’);</script>

Google Analytics help page gives the following examples of the option usage:

  1. Track visitors that landed on a particular page;
  2. Track visitors that clicked a particular link;
  3. Track visitors according to their form selection.
  • Track your (outgoing) links: add a code to each link you want to track:

<a href=”” onClick=”javascript: pageTracker._trackPageview(‘/outgoing/’);”>

  • Track your banner ads with the same code as the above one. For Flash banners you should use this code:

on(release) {
getURL(“javascript: pageTracker._trackPageview

  • Track your downloads (PDF, AVI, or WMV) with this code:

<a href=”” onClick=”javascript: pageTracker._trackPageview(‘/downloads/map’); “>

  • Track mailto: links with this code:

<a href=”mailto:[email address]”onClick=”javascript:urchinTracker(‘/mailto/jerry’);”>[email address]</a>

  • For WordPress blogs: use “Ultimate Google Analytics” plugin that also allows for lots of other handy features (easy Google Analytics installation, simple configuration screen, all types of links tracking, etc.). Google Analytics for WordPress is also great for this and and for tracking AdSense clicks, image search keywords, etc. (More information on counting outbound clicks without the help of plugins.)

Full referring URLs

Track e-commerce transactions

  • Set up email alert on a regularly-scheduled basis – go: Analytics Settings => View Reports => Email=> Schedule:

Set up email alerts

  • Exclude internal traffic: Analytics Settings => Edit => “+Add Filter”:

Exclude internal traffic

  • Compare traffic / page views over different periods of times, e.g. compare how your two viral campaigns performed compared to each other:

Compare pageviews/ traffic

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty

Brand amd Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing,... Read Full Bio
Ann Smarty
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  • Tekka

    Wow, thanks for that great post. I was looking for a solution to track the count of downloads of a pdf (cheat sheet: seo for WordPress). I will try it now with your given hints.
    Sorry for my bad english… ๐Ÿ™

  • Mercy

    After a weekend, you have come up with a excellent post Ann! I have an issue. For my multilingual site, my file names are too in French. So that comes up with some special characters, (contactez-succ%E9s.php) when i add my contact success page in goal tracking, even though a goal completed in a specified date, Google Analytics is not showing up! How shall i overcome this?

  • Andrew Miller

    Great post, definitely going to re-visit frequently.

    One of my favorite GA features is Funnel Visualization (within Goals). For some reason, clients love this report because it appeals to senior management types who aren’t used to looking at raw data.

    The graphics work well to show the results of landing page or shopping cart conversion optimization. Side-by-side comparisons of two date ranges drives home the point that each step in the conversion funnel leads to higher site abandonment. If you can measure it, you can improve it.

  • g1smd

    I use multiple profiles per site. I have a profile that tracks only stats on the domain itself using an “include domain” filter, and I use another one that checks only the stats on other domains using the “exclude domain” filter. Those other sites include the Google, Yahoo, and Live Search caches, as well as anyone else that has scraped the pages. Both of those also exclude all staff accesses, using a custom filter for that too.

    All Staff are excluded from tracking using a Custom Filter that matches the Cookie that they receive by visiting a special password-protected “start” page. There is only one user name and password to access the page, and it drops a “do_not_track_me” cookie on to the users machine when visited. Most staff always go through that start page, as that is what they have been told to do, but actually the first visit per browser is enough to to make it work. Staff are told to always use that start page, so that they can be re-cookied when they change browser or get a new machine.

    There is a third profile that has no filters and shows “everything”. I rarely look at it, but it is there if needed.

  • netmeg

    I have some nice ones that show true search queries for AdWords, and others that will append the keyword to a transaction, but I’m not altogether sure how to post them here.

  • Ann Smarty

    @netmeg: you can email me at seosmarty @

  • Gidseo

    You’re good – that’s a great huge collection.

  • monni

    Thank you nice post

  • WebDesign Romania

    thanks for this post, I started up working with Google Analytics a month ago and it’s just great.

  • Marion Nesmith

    Again, Michael Martinez followed by your post. Each day I’m learning more and more. Oh yea, did I mention everybody else talking link, link, link…..and more link

  • DVBC

    I though it was a huge number of tips… it’s just like recollect…

  • Alex

    Nice list. I have been tracking Sphinn for a month or so – no good articles on this topic.

  • Deepti Makati

    Really nice list!!

    Thanks SEOSmarty!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Internet Fan

    Wow very good post. Thanks a million!

  • ZaggedEdge

    Hey SEO, thanks for the code!

  • Ad Manager

    Great collection. One more: if your site has different areas (eg: visitors vs. subscribers) you can create multiple profiles and track them separately.

  • jyoseph

    NICE article. Putting this on my delicious and going to study it. Very helpful tips indeed.

  • Amit Agarwal

    Ann – Thanks for this list.

    A big requirement for most of these tips to work is that your Analytics code must be placed before the function call is made.

    That means your script has been in the head portion of the site and that may sometime increase the loading time because the script will download before any of your real content.

  • Tim

    Ann, do you know if there is a delay in GA reporting search traffic from other engines? I can see traffic in firestats and pmetrics showing Live sending me traffic at about 50% the rate of Google, but GA doesn’t report this at all.

    Can you point me in the right direction?


  • hamid jalali

    Please increase my ranking in google
    very thanks

  • Sleep

    The external links tracking tip is pretty nifty. How does it word with adsense? Or will Google Analytics ever consolidate that data under the Analytics platform?

  • zayarsan

    delicious posting

  • TraiaN

    Hi Ann,

    I also wrote an article about Google Analytics tips. It’s called Google Analytics Tips and Tricks. Please, take a look.

  • Gizmos

    Hats off to you dear! Collection of superb tips. I appreciate and bookmarking you for future posts. Also applied on most of my website.

  • Webkios Advert

    There are also other free tracker but not as accurate as this tips.

    Thanks for sharing it to us.

  • Richard

    Might I suggest using to track some more intricate things that google doesn’t do very well, they have a nice blog to:

  • MikaelT

    Thanks for the tips!

    I nice function if you want more then 500 lines in a report. Just add “&limit=50000” and you will have 50000 lines. It wont actually show in analytics but when you export a file it will have that amount of lines.

  • The Business Solution

    Thanks for the info!

  • Andi

    Thanks for the excellent tip.

  • roblogger

    thanks for the info and ciao from romania.

  • Icreongame

    Thanks for these valuable tricks.

  • Josh

    Any luck with GA and internal (non-anonymous access) SharePoint sites? I know older versions of the GA code did not directly access the sites, but is this still true? The GA dashboard states the code is not installed, but I can verify it is, and typo free. Sitescan engines are unable to verify due to the authentication requirements….any help is greatly appreciated.

  • Josh

    I was able to get the code recognized by moving it from the body section to the HEAD section. However, no data is being collected…even though the GA status shows OK.

  • lauren

    thanks for this post, I started up working with Google Analytics a month ago and it’s just great.

  • nike dunk

    such a big collection, love you guys,lol.

  • Josh Stauffer

    Very useful. I definitely need to use the tip regarding 404 tracking. Thanks!

  • Website. designer in faridabad

    Thanks a lot …. this will really be very helpful and the matter of the fact is the whole content fall so smoothly at place …. make it very readable …. appreciate the effort.

  • Copywriter

    The &limit=50000 does not work at the end of the url. Does it go somewhere else then?

    • MikaelT

      Sorry for late response!

      I’ve just tried on Content in GA, the limit seems to have changed to 20,000 lines. Also tried same procedure for Keywords, same result, only 20.000 lines.

      But it never shows in GA, must be downloaded as CSV to get all lines.

  • Julia

    Very cool post, I love it! Special thanks for tracking 404. I’m off right now to implement it.

  • Alex

    I can only agree, does not work for me too, otherwise great tips collection, thanks

  • HowTo CentOS

    Great post and some very useful tips! If I may add one that allows you to track where Keyword positions are displayed on a Google Search

  • rtpHarry

    I have one more tip to add which really brings together your tracking pdfs, mailto links etc tips.

    The samples that you give use urchinTracker and trackPageView but GA now includes a special feature called event tracking which is specifically designed for tracking these kinds of events.

    How to automatically track events with Google Analytics and jQuery:

  • Divakar

    Thanks Ann for such a very very useful tips. I was searching to track the PDF download which a got here.
    Thanks a lot.


  • Rilwis

    Nice article. I cannot imaging that GA can do such a lot of things. Thank you very much.

  • Krabi

    Very nice post with huge collection of GA tips. PDF download track tips is really first time i see. Thank you for sharing…

  • rajivdave

    It was nice post I like to learn. Thanks keep update good collection

  • Gloria Petyarre

    Its true Google Analytics is an excellent tool for getting quality website stat and tracking.

    Thanks for sharing these useful tips and resources.

  • Gloria Petyarre

    Its true Google Analytics is an excellent tool for getting quality website stat and tracking.

    Thanks for sharing these useful tips and resources.

  • Chiranjeev

    Really these are the best Google Analytics tips. Thanks for sharing it.