What makes Google Analytics so complicated

Success control for local companies with Google Analytics from the Search Console

One of the most decisive advantages of online compared to offline is that customers can often be tracked better online than offline. What did you look at? How did they get to my side? Where can I reach more users? Are my marketing measures paying off? And it doesn't have to be complicated at all. Setting up Analytics and the Google Search Console is not rocket science and also feasible for the layman.

The basis: setting up Google Analytics

Setting up Google Analytics is very easy. All you have to do is create the account and the corresponding property / data view. If there is already a Google account that uses other Google tools, this account can also be used. So you can later link the Google Tools to each other and enlarge the database accordingly. If not, a new Google account can be created by clicking on "Create account". Since October, Google has rolled out the new version Analytics 4.

As soon as you are in the account, you can create a property. You can read about how to create an Analytics 4 property in this article. The property is usually the domain. It is possible to assign different data views to a property in order to use them like filters, for example one data view for SEO traffic and one for SEA traffic. At the beginning, however, the automatic data view from Google is usually sufficient: "All data".

Now only a code has to be deposited on the website. There are plugins for this on many construction kit pages and Google also provides corresponding instructions for this. If you take a closer look at Google Analytics, the Tag Manager will soon catch your eye: This is very complicated for the layman, but offers great tracking options if you understand it accordingly.

Disclaimer: The tracking should always be anonymized (can be set when generating the tracking code) and an opt-out option, the data protection declaration and cookie information must be adapted accordingly on the website. If you are unsure, I strongly advise you to seek advice from a lawyer, who of course cannot be replaced by this information.

We can see whether the tracking code is working as soon as we see visitors in the real-time reports in Analytics (real-time overview). It is also very useful to activate conversion tracking in online shops. But a conversion can also be stored for contact inquiries via forms. A conversion can be a purchase, a contact, a download or a newsletter subscription - this can be freely defined and multiple conversions can also be tracked.

Local tracking: Google My Business and the UTM parameters

Since there are different sources for the traffic, we should also be able to track these properly. A safe way to be able to assign sources even if they are shared. This tracking can be implemented with UTM parameters. Here the "normal" target parameters are appended to the URL, which will later be displayed separately in the Google Analytics campaigns.

As a first campaign, we should award our location link in Google My Business (GMB). Google offers the free Campaign URL Builder tool for this purpose. We then use the URL generated here in the GMB account and can then subsequently filter it in Analytics under the tabs "Acquisition", "Campaigns" and "All campaigns". The following parameters are recommended:

  • Campaign Source (Google)
  • Campaign Medium (location name)
  • Campaign Name (Google My Business)

Where else can you use such URLs? Newsletter? Sponsorships? Social media? With almost every shared URL, it makes sense to use tags in order to be able to separate the traffic sources later and to make the advertising success of individual measures measurable. Since the URLs themselves are very ugly and long, they can also be shortened using shortener services. For example, they can also be printed on invoices or vouchers.

Webmasters love it: The Google Search Console

The Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is also a free Google product. Here, above all, data from the organic traffic generated by search engines - in this case Google - is managed. In addition to practical data on keywords, click rates and rankings, the Search Console provides information on HTML and indexing problems, for example.

Ideally, the verification takes place via a DNS (Domain Name Server) confirmation. This allows you to track the entire domain including all prefixes and has a helpful overview. For this, a generated TXT must be stored in the DNS configuration of the domain name provider. The procedure here is different depending on the provider. If in doubt, you can contact the host here.


Very good tracking can be set up for local companies even with little financial investment. Even laypeople can do this themselves. For higher demands, it is of course advisable to consult an expert.

Next week we're going to take a look at some interesting marketing channels for retailers. In addition to the articles, we also offer to answer questions from retailers directly - either in an article or directly by email. So if you have a question, contact the editors of OnlineMarketing.de or write them in the comments.


Nicole Mank has been intensively involved in marketing with a focus on SEO since 2012. Together with Jean Hinz (consultant) and Friedhelm Oja (Wordpress developer), she is currently developing strategies for local retailers to support the survival of inner cities even in times of crisis and to promote digitization in Germany.