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Posted 10/19/2023 in SEO by Find Me Directory

A Guide to Getting Started with Google Analytics 4 for Local SEO


A Guide to Getting Started with Google Analytics 4 for Local SEO

If you've been keeping up, you're likely aware that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has taken over as the primary analytics tool from Google, replacing older versions like Google Analytics (GA) and Universal Analytics (UA) as of July 1st, 2023.

 As a result, the location where you access your website data has changed. While GA4 offers significant improvements, there are also some drawbacks to consider. In this article, we'll delve into these changes. 

However, don't fret - once you become accustomed to GA4, you'll immediately reap its benefits! 

Despite GA4 being introduced in October 2020, what matters is that you already have GA4, whether you realize it or not. Google automatically upgraded all UA properties earlier in 2023, well before the sunset date of July 1st. 

You might believe that GA4 isn't useful or important for your local business operations. However, you could be missing out on a fantastic opportunity, as GA4 is a powerful web measurement tool that accurately tracks your marketing efforts - and it's completely free! 

Businesses of all sizes utilize various marketing channels such as SEO, social media, paid advertising, and email marketing. The objective of these channels is to boost brand awareness and drive traffic to your website, ultimately converting that traffic into leads. 

To harness the full potential of GA4, it's crucial to focus on tracking your marketing efforts and website conversions. This way, you can precisely evaluate the success of each channel and campaign.

Monitor Your Marketing Efforts

The first thing to understand about measuring your marketing campaigns in GA4 is that Google does not automatically do this for you.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) does not automatically measure where website visitors are coming from, except for Google Ads and SEO.

  • To track marketing campaigns in GA4, you need to use UTM parameters in the URLs of your marketing links.
  • UTM parameters are added in the query string of the URL and can be read by GA4 to provide campaign information in reports.
  • UTMs are not automatically applied in Google Business Profiles, so you need to manually add them to measure local search visibility.
  • The same process of using UTMs should ideally be applied to all marketing channels, including email, social, and paid.

Monitor Your Conversion Rates

In GA4, a 'Conversion' is defined as any user action that's valuable to your business. This can include a variety of actions such as a user purchasing from your store or subscribing to your newsletter. Essentially, it's any action a visitor can take on your website that you deem beneficial. In GA4, you can have up to 30 conversions at any given time, so conversions can be any action you'd like your visitors to do more of, not just the main and obvious ones.

GA4 automatically tracks a variety of events without requiring any manual input or customizations from your end. An 'Event' in GA4 refers to any action that is tracked from your website—these are basically all of the actions that occur on your website from your visitors.

To check which events you are automatically tracking, or to turn some on or off, you will need to navigate to the GA4 admin screen and select 'Data streams' in the options. Then select your data stream and open the enhanced measurement settings. Here you can toggle on or off any of the events.

Remember that any changes you make will only take effect from that moment forward. So, after making changes, you should leave it for a few days before checking to see the impact of those changes.

Tracking events is the first step, but it's equally important to let GA4 know which one(s) are important and should be classed as conversions. This can be done again in the admin screen by heading to 'Events' and then using the sliders on the right-hand side. Changes here will also only take effect from that moment forward.

These automatically tracked events are highly beneficial for local businesses as they can track most leads. For instance:

  • The click event tracks any outbound link click from your visitors, including mailto: and tel: hyperlinks (for example, when someone clicks to get in touch with you), and even tracks links off to booking/reservation engines for restaurants, venues, etc.
  • The form_start and form_submit events track when your website visitors start filling in one of your forms, and then when it has (successfully) been submitted. This is especially useful for lead generation websites to request callbacks, or for signing up to your mailing list.
  • The scroll event tracks whenever the bottom of a page is viewed. This can be used in conjunction with the page_view event to work out the percentage of page views that were scrolled to the bottom. This is particularly useful on blog pages as a measure of whether your visitors are reading the content you may be ranking for.

GA4 also allows you to create brand new events beyond the automatically collected ones!

Reports in Google Analytics


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