Manual: GA Suggestions

The feature "GA Suggestions" of Visual SEO Studio, documented in detail.

GA Suggestions

The feature GA Suggestions is a fully automated test suite that makes you spot with no effort all most common Google Analytics (GA) tracking code setup issues, saving you tons of precious hours of work.
It works by looking in the page HTML source code for typical Analytics setup code, and alternatively for Google Tag Manager (GTM) setup code.

Please notice that there are also other popular web analytics systems, like Yandex.Metrika, Piwik, ShinyStat and many others, though Google Analytics is by large the most widespread.
When your pages use another web analytics system, you should probably ignore errors reported by GA Suggestions since even if you are not using Google Analytics you can be satisfied having the alternative solution installed.

Summary

The Summary tab sheet give you an overall perspective of the reports available in GA Suggestions.
You can quickly select it anytime, even when not it is not visible, by clicking on the Show Summary link.

Reports table columns

Description

The descriptive name of the report. The text is an active link that once clicked will select the tab sheet containing the related report.

Pages

The number of pages affected by the issue detected by the report, i.e. the number of pages listed in the report.

Tot Pages

The total number of pages taken into account when elaborating the reports. This number is the same for all the listed reports.

Percentage

The percentage of pages detected by the specific report, computed as the ratio between the previous two values.

Pie chart icon

A mini pie chart visually reporting two important information:

  • The percentage shown in the previous column, related to the colored pie slice.
  • The alert level of the issue investigated by the report. It is reported by the color of the slice:
    • Red: the issue investigated has to be considered an Error.
    • Yellow: the issue investigated has to be considered a Warning.
      Please notice that a warning is not a "light error", but something that at this stage the program cannot determine if it is a potential error or something wanted.
    • Azure: the report is just Informational.

Tracking IDs found table

This table lists all codes detected, for both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager installations.

Items break-down table

This table gives you an overview of all pages - computed and discarded - in the evaluated crawl session.

Items break-down graph

The 3D pie chart displays visually the content of the table above it. Like all 3D graphs in Visual SEO Studio, the chart can be zoomed, rotated, copied and saved at pleasure.

Export buttons

Reports in URL Suggestions can all be exported.
In the upper-right corner of each report tab sheet you can find easy to spot export buttons:

  • Open in Tabular ViewPermits to open the listed pages in Tabular View as a subset of the whole crawl session (and from there can also export them to Excel/CSV).
  • Export to ExcelPermits to export the content of the shown columns to an Excel document.
    This option is available only when the view in the tab sheet is a table (and it is also available from the table context menu).
  • Export to CSVPermits to export the content of the shown columns to a CSV file.
    This option is available only when the view in the tab sheet is a table (and it is also available from the table context menu).

Context menu

Every report in URL Suggestions provides a context menu you can trigger by right clicking with the mouse on a page row:

  • Copy URL
    Copies in the clipboard memory the URL of the selected resource.
  • Browse URL
    Navigates with the default browser the URL of the selected resource.

Missing GA code

Entry type: Warning Warning

This report lists all pages where no Google Analytics setup code was detected.

The issue is of type "Warning" and not "Error", because - assuming the web analytics system of reference is Google Analytics - when no Google Analytics (GA) setup code is detected, GA code could still be injected by Google Tag Manager (GTM).
So when the issue is detected you have to see if Google Tag Manager setup code is detected (with the report "No GA and no GTM code"), and if this is installed manually check on the GTM dashboard whether GA installation is there configured or not.

How can you fix the issue on the reported pages:
If you verified that GA is not installed by GTM, either install the GA setup code in your pages template, or alternatively install GTM code (if not already present) and from its dashboard configure GA installation.

Repeated GA code

Entry type: Error Error

This report lists all pages where Google Analytics setup code was found more than once, with the same tracking ID.

The tracking ID is a string like UA-000000-2. It is included in the tracking code to tell Analytics which account and property to send data to.

The effect of the detected issue is having visits tracked multiple times in Google Analytics, with a Bounce Rate close to zero (some HTTP calls always go missing, so that Bounce Rate could be measured up to 3%, still not a realistic value). Basically Analytics data would be corrupted and you could not take informed decisions based on them.

You can read the tracking ID found repeated in the related table.

How can you fix the issue on the reported pages:
Remove all duplicate GA setup codes leaving only one. GA setup code could be added to the page via template, or via some plugin of your CMS.

Multiple GA codes

Entry type: Warning Warning

This report lists all pages where Google Analytics setup code was found more than once, with different tracking IDs.

Having different GA tracking IDs configured is not per-se an error, it rather is an advanced option.
Nevertheless in our experience we have seen that most of the times it is:

  • done wrong, invoking multiple times Google Analytics javascript code instead of configuring it properly;
  • accidental, with only one tracking ID really used, the others being old abandoned accounts.

You can read all tracking IDs found in the related table.

How can you fix the issue on the reported pages:
After having ensured the multiple tracking IDs are all (but one) related to old abandoned Google Analytics accounts, remove them leaving only the one you use. GA setup code could be added to the page via template, or via some plugin of your CMS.

Containing Synch script

Entry type: Error Error

This report lists all pages loading Google Analytics with a synchronous script.
Old GA setups used to load Google Analytics javascript code synchronously, slowing down web page rendering.

You can read the tracking ID found in a synchronous script in the related table.

How can you fix the issue on the reported pages:
Replace the synchronous script with the asynchronous version. You can find the most recent version of the script in you Google Analytics account Admin options.

Containing Urchin code

Entry type: Error Error

Urchin used to be an independent product before being purchase by Google, which evolved it into Google Analytics. Some very old Google Analytics setup codes still use the old Urchin script (yes, we do still occasionally notice some around the Web; we are not even sure it still works).
This report lists all pages using the old Urchin code.

You can read the found Urchin tracking ID in the related table.

How can you fix the issue on the reported pages:
Google Analytics is now a powerful web analytics product and it is free. Install it and get rid of the old Urchin code.

No GA and no GTM code

Entry type: Error Error

This report lists all pages where neither Google Analytics nor Google Tag Manager setup codes were found.

The issue is of type "Error", because - assuming the web analytics system of reference is Google Analytics and the tag management system of reference is Google Tag Manager - when none of the two setup codes were detected we can safely assume GA code is not present.

Note: When this issue is detected, it is normal that also the "Missing GA code" issue is.

How can you fix the issue on the reported pages:
Either install the GA setup code in your pages template, or alternatively install GTM code and from its dashboard configure GA installation.

Both GA and GTM code

Entry type: Warning Warning

This report lists all pages where both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager setup codes were found.

The issue is of type "Warning", because - assuming the web analytics system of reference is Google Analytics and the tag management system of reference is Google Tag Manager - also GTM could be injecting GA tracking code.
In our experience it is not rare that after a migration from the traditional GA setup code to the adoption of GTM to manage Analytics tracking, the old Google Analytics setup code is left forgotten in the page template. The effect is having visits tracked twice in Google Analytics, with a Bounce Rate close to zero (some HTTP calls always go missing, so that Bounce Rate could be measured up to 3%, still not a realistic value). Basically Analytics data would be corrupted and you could not take informed decisions based on them.

You can read all GA and GTM tracking IDs found in the related table.

How can you fix the issue on the reported pages:
When the issue is detected you should manually check on the GTM dashboard whether GA installation is there configured or not. If it is, remove the forgotten GA setup code from the template.