Analytics 101: 6 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

Today’s post is written by Bruce Clay Inc.’s very own Google Analytics-certified Sean James. In this post, Sean outlines the mistakes you may be making with your analytics and how those mistakes can throw off the success of your Web campaign. Through these simple steps, you can help ensure your analytics are set up and run well to create a solid foundation for measuring ROI.

A lot of business owners neglect using analytics in an optimized manner to make informed business decisions. In this article, we will identify the most common analytics mistakes that brands make, and we will provide you with insights into tools and methods so that you can elevate how your business performs online.

FAQ: How can I avoid common analytics mistakes and optimize my online business?

Mistake No. 1: Not Using Analytics Tools

Analytics tools measure the success of online campaigns, and neglecting to use them is the biggest mistake you can make. After all, don’t you think insights into your website’s performance are so important?

With analytics tools, you’ll gain data about your website visitors, consumer behavior, and how effective your website is. Business owners need to take advantage of these eye-opening tools.

Mistake No. 2: Not Paying Attention to Google Updates

As Google’s algorithm constantly adapts, it is crucial that you utilize the most recent tracking code version available to ensure your analytics system aligns seamlessly with any algorithmic changes made by Google and maximize the accuracy and relevance of your data. Staying abreast of updates allows your analytics system to remain aligned seamlessly with these algorithmic shifts for maximum data accuracy and relevance.

Mistake No. 3: Overlooking Goal Definition and Tracking

Defining and tracking goals is a critical step in measuring the success of your online campaigns. By setting clear objectives aligned with your business goals, you can evaluate your website’s performance effectively. Google Analytics provides a comprehensive framework for defining goals, ensuring that they correspond to measurable actions performed by your visitors. Utilize the available resources and best practices to set up accurate and meaningful goals for your website.

Mistake No. 4: Neglecting Goal Testing

Never assume that your goals will work flawlessly once they are set up. Testing your goals is a vital precautionary step to avoid the loss of valuable data. Verify that your goals are accurately tracking the desired actions and ensure that you have access to the necessary insights for the success of your online venture. By conducting thorough testing, you can identify any discrepancies and make the necessary adjustments to optimize your tracking capabilities.

Mistake No. 5: Not Defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Each type of Internet marketing campaign requires specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess its effectiveness. Whether you are engaging in SEO, PPC, or split-testing, defining KPIs allows you to monitor your progress towards your objectives. By measuring the right metrics, you can evaluate the return on investment for each campaign and make data-backed decisions. Identify the most relevant KPIs for your business model and track your performance accurately.

Mistake No. 6: Underutilizing Analytics Data

Many businesses fail to extract valuable insights from their data despite having analytics installed. Analytics should serve as the silent CFO of your company, offering crucial information about your target audience, their preferences, and your website’s performance. By mining your analytics data, you can find answers to essential questions about your audience, their behaviors, and areas for improvement. Establish a system to track and analyze your website’s metrics and leverage the expertise of professionals to decode and utilize this valuable information.

Avoiding common analytics mistakes is vital for the success of your online business. By utilizing analytics tools, upgrading to the latest tracking code, defining and testing goals, and setting meaningful KPIs, you can unlock valuable insights to fuel your decision-making process. Embrace the power of data-driven strategies and make informed choices to optimize your online campaigns. Remember, learning from the success of established business models is key. By avoiding common analytics mistakes, you can position your business for growth and stay ahead of the competition.

Making too many SEO mistakes on your own? Talk to us. We can help you transform your site and clean up those mistakes. 


FAQ: How can I avoid common analytics mistakes and optimize my online business?

In the ever-evolving landscape of online business, avoiding common analytics mistakes is paramount. Leveraging my years of experience in digital strategy, I’ll guide you through essential steps to optimize your online presence.

Understanding the intricate world of analytics tools is the first step. Many businesses overlook the wealth of data these tools offer. By actively utilizing analytics platforms, you gain invaluable insights into consumer behavior and the effectiveness of your online initiatives.

One pivotal aspect often neglected is staying abreast of Google updates. The search engine giant frequently tweaks its algorithms, and failing to update your tracking code can undermine your analytical efforts. Regular updates ensure you’re capitalizing on the latest features and data points.

Goal definition and testing constitute the backbone of a successful analytics strategy. Clearly defined goals aligned with your business objectives provide a roadmap for success. Rigorous testing is equally crucial, ensuring that your goals accurately capture desired actions, preventing the loss of valuable data.

Moving forward, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) become the linchpin in gauging campaign effectiveness. Whether engaged in SEO, PPC, or split-testing, identifying and tracking relevant KPIs allows you to measure progress and make data-driven decisions.

Lastly, underutilizing analytics data is a widespread pitfall. Your analytics should act as the silent CFO, offering vital information about your audience and your website’s performance. Establishing a robust system to track and analyze metrics enables you to glean actionable insights and fine-tune your strategies.

By removing these common analytics mistakes, you position your online business for sustained growth and a competitive edge.

Step-by-Step Procedure:

  1. Embrace Analytics Tools:

– Explore and choose analytics tools relevant to your business needs.

– Implement tracking codes comprehensively across your online platforms.

  1. Stay Updated with Google:

– Regularly check for updates to Google’s algorithms.

– Ensure your tracking code is consistently up-to-date.

  1. Define and Test Goals:

– Clearly define objectives aligned with your business goals.

– Rigorously test goals to ensure accurate tracking.

  1. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

– Tailor KPIs to your specific business model and campaigns.

– Regularly monitor and adjust KPIs based on campaign performance.

  1. Maximize Analytics Data:

– Establish a robust system for tracking and analyzing data.

– Seek professional expertise to decode and utilize analytics insights effectively.

Ensure to regularly review and adapt these steps to evolving business needs and industry trends.

This article was updated on November 11, 2023.

Sean James joined Bruce Clay, Inc. as an SEO Analyst in 2009. He is also a Google Analytics-certified professional. You can reach him on Twitter @_SeanJames.

See sjames's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (12)
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent SEO posts is better than the last!
Bruce Clay on May 8, 2024
The Always Up-to-Date SEO Checklist
Bruce Clay on April 4, 2024
What Makes an SEO Program Successful?
Bruce Clay on April 3, 2024
How Can I Improve My Website Rankings Through SEO?

12 Replies to “Analytics 101: 6 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make”

Useful and informative post thanks. Analytics is a powerful tool when used correctly as you suggest. Another important feature to use in conjunction with analytics is website optimizer in which you can test and track conversions with alternative page elements.

Sean James

Thank you for your comment. Excellent tip about website optimizer. For anyone that would like more information check out the link below for a great top level overview of conversion and website optimizer.

Excellent article. Google Analytics can assist a site in numerous ways however only a handful of people use its advance features to their advantage.

Thank you Ahmed for the compliment. I agree with you whole heartedly that only a handful of people will take advantage of the advanced features that Google Analytics has to offer. I guess that some people overlook things as priority. Personally having owned businesses my goal was to take advantage of every opportunity that I could to succeed.

Two more things I remembered.

If you have a profile where you are filtering the IP of your business or the home IPs of employees, it’s a good idea to schedule on the calendar a monthly check of those IPs. Often employees won’t have a dedicated IP on their home network, and a power outage can cause the modem to pick up a fresh IP after it’s been offline for a couple of hours.

Make use of the annotations feature in Google Analytics. If CNN mentions your website in plain text in the sidebar of an article but can’t provide a hyperlink, put a note for that day in GA. Six months later when you’ve forgotten when that happened, or a new employee is looking at the site, it will be an explanation as to why there was sudden jump in traffic from both direct and organic traffic.

Thank you again for the input Keri.

I think a prequel to this post would be helpful to many people as well, covering Analytics setup. Some points I would have:

1) Install analytics on all of your applicable pages as early as possible, even if you don’t have time/knowledge to examine your stats for a while. When you’re ready to look at them, you’ll have historical data.

2) Immediately create several profiles. One that will never, ever have any filters in it, then several others you can add filters and goals to as time goes on. One profile can exclude all of your internal/employee traffic. Another profile can be a testing ground for all of your goal tracking.

3) Make sure your code is not on any development or testing server. I’ve seen this happen, multiple times!

Keri, excellent recommendations! All sound advice and great idea for a prequel. Thank you for reading the post and for submitting your feedback. Have a great weekend. :)

Thanks for the insightful post and timely reminder! As an internet marketer, my greatest enemy is lack of focus and always chasing the next big thing :) I must admit that I haven’t looked at Google Analytics for a while. It’s time to start optimizing my sites!

Thank you for the kind words. Writing this post was a great reminder for me as well.  I can definitely appreciate what you mean by chasing the next big thing. Analytics can be kind of like fishing in a sea of statistics to find a number that means something. Companies are getting a better perspective on the fact that real people need to be able to make sense of data as well. The next big thing that I see coming up is visual analytics. Visual analytics tools will take the work out of mining data and empower people to find actionable insight without having to be an analytics expert. I like any tool that will accurately simplify complex tasks.

The BCI blog is lucky to have you such an expert-rich group of pros behind it. Good to see you on the blog, Sean, and a super important topic. :)

Thank you for the compliment Virginia! We miss you terribly at BCI.
I agree that the topic is so important because no business can afford to pass on the opportunity for easy wins. As you know too well, internet marketing can be a game of inches. When you understand and identify your sites Key Performance Indicators you can leverage your analytics data to gain miles of insight.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Serving North America based in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Bruce Clay, Inc. | PO Box 1338 | Moorpark CA, 93020
Voice: 1-805-517-1900 | Toll Free: 1-866-517-1900 | Fax: 1-805-517-1919