Google Analytics Checklist – The Complete 2019 Edition

Having confidence in your Google Analytics data is critical. Before you make a business decision based on what you’ve found in your reports, it’s important to take the time to check that you have a complete set of data and that your data is as accurate as possible.

That’s where using my Google Analytics checklist can help keep your data accurate and actionable. In my checklist you will find a range of things to check inside your Google Analytics account (or accounts). We’re going to break down each stage, from planning, right through to analysis. Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  1. Planning checklist

  2. Implementation checklist

  3. Setup and configuration checklist

  4. Technical setup checklist

  5. Campaign tracking checklist

  6. Ecommerce checklist

  7. Event tracking checklist

  8. Goal checklist

  9. Site search checklist

  10. Integration checklist

  11. Analysis checklist

You can also download my Google Analytics Checklist and use it as a quick reference when reviewing your implementation.

Google Analytics Checklist

Planning Checklist

The first step is to ensure that your business and website objectives align with the features you will be using in Google Analytics. For example, if you’re looking after a website for a real estate agent, then the objectives (and the way you configure Google Analytics) will be different to someone looking after an ecommerce website with thousands of products.

Even if you’re already using Google Analytics, it’s a good idea to quickly document these key areas, so that you can see any possible gaps when it comes to tracking your website and your audience. Here’s what to check when you begin planning (or reviewing) your Google Analytics implementation:

  • Website objectives have been defined

  • Goals that reflect the website objectives have been identified

  • Google Analytics features and configuration options have been selected based on business needs (for example, event tracking, user ID, ecommerce tracking, etc.)

  • A concise measurement plan has been created to ensure the Google Analytics implementation reflects business and website objectives

  • New Google Analytics features and configuration options are reviewed periodically

Google Analytics Checklist

Implementation Checklist

The implementation checklist is focused on adding the tracking code to your website and making sure that all of the pages (and other important actions) are being tracked correctly. Here’s what you should check first:

  • If there is no existing Google Analytics property for tracking the website, then a new property has been created

  • The Google Analytics account is only being used to track related websites (unrelated websites should be tracked in dedicated accounts)

  • The tracking code has been implemented using Google Tag Manager (or implemented directly on the website)

  • The implementation has been checked using the Google Tag Manager debug console (using the ‘Preview’ mode)

  • Google Tag Assistant has been used to check that the tracking code is correctly installed

Google Analytics Checklist

Setup and Configuration Checklist

There are lots of setup and configuration options available inside the Google Analytics interface. These are important to check when setting up Google Analytics for the first time, but it’s a good idea to double-check these if multiple people have been managing your implementation, or they haven’t been reviewed in a while. All of these options can impact the quality of the data presented in your reports. It’s time to check that:

  • The reporting time zone is correct

  • The reporting currency is correct

  • The default page has been configured

  • Filters to exclude internal traffic have been applied

  • Filter to only include appropriate hostnames have been applied

  • Bots are excluded in the view settings

  • Appropriate data retention has been set for the property

  • There is a raw (unfiltered), a primary, and a testing view for each property

  • User-based reporting has been enabled (in ‘Property Settings’)

  • The Demographics and Interests reports have been enabled

  • The Benchmarking reports have been enabled

Learn more about using filters in Google Analytics, and removing bot traffic.

Google Analytics Checklist

Technical Setup Checklist

Some configuration options need to be implemented in Google Tag Manager (or by modifying the Google Analytics tracking code). These technical setup options might require the help of your developer if they’re not configured correctly:

  • Cross-domain tracking is implemented if users can travel between multiple domains

  • The tracking code hasn’t been accidentally duplicated on pages

  • The latest version of the tracking code has been implemented (if Google Tag Manager is not being used)

  • Social sharing options are being tracked into the Plugins report (under ‘Social’)

  • If appropriate, User ID has been implemented to track users across multiple devices

  • Content grouping has been configured

  • There are no self-referrals (website being tracked does not appear as a referral)

  • 404 error pages are being tracked

  • If appropriate, Google Optimize has been linked to Google Analytics

  • If appropriate, Google Tag Manager or the tracking code has been correctly configured to work with Google Optimize

  • If appropriate, the anti-flicker snippet has been implemented if using Google Optimize

Google Analytics Checklist

Campaign Tracking Checklist

Having accurate campaign data inside your Google Analytics reports is critical. It’s time to check that Google Ads and your other marketing campaigns are being tracked and reported correctly. Check that:

  • Google Ads and Google Analytics are linked

  • All Google Ads accounts are linked

  • Clicks from Google Ads approximately match sessions in Google Analytics

  • No campaign tags are used in URLs inside Google Ads

  • Campaign tags are being used for other inbound marketing

  • Campaign tags use a consistent naming convention

  • No campaign tags are used for internal links within your website

  • If appropriate, custom channel groupings have been configured

Learn more about linking Google Ads to Google Analytics, tracking campaigns, and correctly tracking internal promotions.

Google Analytics Checklist

Ecommerce Checklist

If people can purchase on your website, then you’ll need to implement ecommerce tracking. Hosted platforms (like Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Squarespace) include integration with Google Analytics, so you should be able to get up and running quickly. Here’s what you should check:

  • Ecommerce tracking has been implemented

  • Enhanced Ecommerce is being used on the website

  • Ecommerce data is accurate

Google Analytics Checklist

Event Tracking Checklist

You can track people’s actions within the pages of your website using event tracking. This allows you to track everything from embedded YouTube videos, people scrolling your content, and more. In most cases, you will be able to use Google Tag Manager to configure event tracking on your website. When you’re ready, here’s what you should check:

  • Event tracking has been implemented for outbound links, mailto links, and downloads

  • Event tracking has been implemented for internal campaigns (for example, promotional banners within the website)

  • Event tracking has been implemented for interactive content, like embedded YouTube videos

  • A consistent naming convention is being used for events (categories, actions, and labels)

  • If appropriate, events have been set as ‘non-interaction’, so that bounce rate is not impacted

  • Event tracking is being used selectively so that the Google Analytics hit limit is not being met

Google Analytics Checklist

Goal Checklist

Once you’ve configured goals in Google Analytics you’ll be able to see if people are converting, and tie conversions to your different marketing channels, your content, and all of the other actions people are taking on your website. It’s time to check that:

  • Goals are configured

  • Values have been assigned to goals (for example, actual, calculated, or symbolic values)

  • Macro and micro conversions are being tracked

  • Steps in goal funnels have been defined and are appropriate

Learn more about assigning dollar values to goals and setting up goals.

Google Analytics Checklist

Site Search Checklist

If you have a search function on your website, then configuring the site search reports will provide valuable insights. You can use the reports to identify gaps in content and navigation issues. If you have a search function, then check:

  • Site search reports have been configured

  • If appropriate, site search categories have been configured

  • A lowercase filter has been applied to site search keywords

Learn more about configuring site search and using the site search reports.

Google Analytics Checklist

Integration Checklist

You can integrate Google Analytics with other Google products and even external platforms. Here’s what you should check:

  • Google Search Console, Google AdSense, Google Optimize, and any other Google platforms being used, are linked

  • Audience lists have been created (for reporting and remarketing campaigns)

  • Google Signals has been enabled to provide cross-device insights automatically

  • Appropriate data is being imported (for example, advertising cost data from third-party platforms, refund data, etc.)

  • If appropriate, custom metrics and custom dimensions have been implemented

Learn more about importing data into Google Analytics and the automatic cross-device reports.

Google Analytics Checklist

Analysis Checklist

Once you’ve checked your implementation and all of the configuration options it’s the perfect time to check that you’re using Google Analytics to improve your website and marketing campaigns. Start by checking that:

  • Emphasis is placed on analysis and insights, not just reporting

  • Reports that provide the most value to the business have been identified

  • Repetitive reporting tasks have been automated

  • Opportunities for improvement have been identified (for example, landing pages, website content, website navigation, marketing campaigns, etc.)

  • Experiments are continually being created and run (for example, using Google Optimize)

Get the Google Analytics Checklist PDF

You can also download my Google Analytics Checklist PDF to keep as a handy reference when checking your Google Analytics implementation.

And check out my accompanying Google Tag Manager Guide.

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