5 ways to check if your Google Analytics is working

Oct 7, 2022 by
5 ways to check if your Google Analytics is working

For most marketers, Google Analytics is the single most valuable software they’ll ever use. Indeed, you would generally struggle to find anyone in the profession that doesn’t use it and with good reason. Given that most SEO work is all about appeasing Google, it makes sense that the brand’s very own analytical software would be the one to beat and when it comes to measuring site performance and giving you valuable user information, there’s no contest.

But for the uninitiated, how are you to know that it’s providing you with reliable figures and working as described?

Wait a while before checking

When you first set up GA, it will take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to start working. So don’t panic if you boot it up after 12 hours and nothing has moved. It doesn’t mean nobody has been on your site, it just means that the real-time reports tracker hasn’t started working yet. For best results, wait around 3 days after you’ve set up GA and then check your real-time reports.

Use the tag assistant

Sometimes, traffic can be misleading, particularly if it’s being drawn from duplicate tracking code. To see whether or not GA is tracking duplicates, use the tag assistant tool. Simply put a domain in the search bar, click connect and you’re good to go.

Don’t neglect the source code

While it might seem like gibberish on the surface, the source code is actually what’s happening underneath everything else. Think of it as the organs running beneath the skin of the system. Establishing a basic familiarity with the code used by GA isn’t even crucial here, but it isn’t as difficult as you might think. Just right-click on the page, click view page source and if you see the tag “gtag.js” then it means you’re sending information to GA.

Get debugging

Google Analytics Debugger is a popular Chrome extension that allows you to right-click on your site and inspect the debugging console. Once again, if you see the “gtag.js” tab then everything should be up and working.

Use a crawler

Finally, if you want to be 100% certain that there are no issues with your Google Analytics setup you can use a crawling tool like Screaming Frog. If you run your domain through these tools it will crawl through all your subdomains and reveal the percentage of pages on the site that don’t contain GA tracking code. This is very much a catch-all solution and while it’s not quite as definitive as using the above 4 methods in tandem, it is certainly a lot faster!