Why Google Analytics is Not Tracking Correctly: Your Troubleshooting Guide
Google Analytics’ tracking capabilities make it a great asset for any website to have. However, when Google Analytics is not tracking correctly, or its data is inaccurate, the usefulness of the tool essentially disappears. Anyone who has ever used Google Analytics can tell you that there are a lot of intricacies involved that may not seem all that important until you’re sorting through a lot of useless reports, thinking, “How exactly did I get here?”
Luckily, when Google Analytics is not tracking or is having other issues, it usually isn’t a death sentence. Many fixes are even straightforward enough to tackle in a DIY fashion. If your Google Analytics data is not showing up or you’re just struggling to get things off the ground, this list is a good way to uncover any problems. If you haven’t set up Google Analytics on your site yet, even better – read through and save yourself the extra work later.
Ok, so you carefully followed all the instructions for adding and publishing the tracking code on your site, and you’ve been waiting for data to start pouring in, but Google Analytics apparently isn’t tracking. Or maybe your site had been tracking perfectly, but now something has changed, and you’re not sure why. What’s going on?
Before you panic:
- Test it out by checking your Real-Time stats. Hop over to the Reports section in the property of concern and select Real-Time. If Google Analytics is tracking correctly, the Overview tab should give you an idea of how many people are on your site at that very moment. Test it out yourself – open your site in another tab, then refresh the Overview If your Google Analytics code is working, you should be able to see data on this page. You should be able to see your page view sitting on your site in the Real-Time report, and you should even be able to discern that it’s you by the location of the dot on the map.
You can also visit the Tracking Info section under your property name in the Admin section of Google Analytics, and click Tracking Code to verify if Google Analytics recognizes that your property has been recording traffic.
- Verify that you’re tracking the correct property and view. If you’ve been using Google Analytics to track multiple websites or have already set up several views on this property, you might be using the snippet from another location. Sure, this may sound obvious to you – but why frantically disassemble the device before checking to see if you plugged it in?
- Check out your filters. If you’ve been tracking your site for a while and have added some filters in this view, you should re-visit what filters you have set and if they could be unintentionally cutting off tracking. One important detail to note is that the order in which you apply filters in Google Analytics matters, and it can be easy to accidentally block your tracking by adding filters in the wrong order. For example, if you decide you only want to track traffic from Arkansas but you’ve already set the view to only track Alabama visitors, setting an Arkansas-only filter now won’t do you much good, because you already left all the Arkansas visitors out with the Alabama filter. This kind of mistake will quickly bring your traffic down to zero.
Unfortunately, if you’ve set some filters that seem to be excluding traffic you want to be recording, you can’t take filters back on that particular view. That’s why it is critical to always preserve an unfiltered view, such as the default view All Web Site Data. If you suspect you’ve overdone it with filters, you can try reordering the filters for better results or start over with a new unfiltered view.
If you’ve confirmed that your Google Analytics code is not working for a view that it should be tracking, it’s time to dig deeper. Answer these questions to get a better idea of what could be going wrong.
Have you reviewed your Google Analytics tracking code?
If you have recently set up your tracking code but Google Analytics is not tracking your traffic, this is an important step to take. When adding the snippet into a plugin or the tracking code onto the pages of the site, it is imperative that you copy and paste directly from your Google Analytics property settings to your site code. If you copy over to a word processor or similar program on your computer before putting it on your site, extra white spaces or small changes in punctuation may occur and can make or break your tracking. The tracking code is also case sensitive, so don’t neglect capitalization.
Have you added the tracking code to every page of your site?
Just adding the code to the homepage of your site won’t do – Google Analytics will not be tracking all pages of your site if you don’t add the code to each page. This includes subdomains and those less-than-obvious landing pages hiding on your site. If you’re the one installing the code onto your site and adding it to every single page sounds exhausting, you can browse the wide assortment of plugin options available on many of the more common content management systems (such as WordPress or Magento). These plugins will make adding code to every page of the site into a much simpler process. You can also enlist help from a web development specialist if the process is too daunting to take on yourself.
Do you have duplicate tracking codes running on your site?
If you’re unwittingly recording Google Analytics data twice, you may notice that you’re having the opposite problem – your visits, page views, and bounce rates seem far too good to be true! However, having multiple tracking codes on your site is a bad practice and will cause your Google Analytics data to be seriously inaccurate, as well as vulnerable to malfunctions in multiple areas of data collection.
If your site has been around for a while and has had a few different developers, consultants, and managers working on it, it’s possible that things have gotten lost in the shuffle. If your Google Analytics code is not working correctly, rifle through your source code for signs of old Google Analytics tracking code. You may be surprised what you can find and purge from your pages. With the wide availability of Google Analytics-compatible features and add-ons available on WordPress and other popular platforms, it is easy to overlook a lurking plugin or buried code.
Has your site been penalized by Google?
Google continuously rolls out updates to its search ranking algorithm that help make the search experience richer, more accurate, and less dangerous for searchers. With every big change in the algorithm comes a new group of websites that see huge changes in their traffic due to big rankings promotions or demotions. In other words, a ranking penalty (or demotion) could bury your site on the 100th page of Google without you noticing much other than a huge drop in site traffic in Google Analytics.
Why might you have received a penalty? It’s hard to say. Each algorithm change is different and may declare that a certain aspect of your site is positive or negative. By doing this, Google weeds out spam and punishes websites for using less-than-ideal methods to sit higher in search results. In short, you may think that Google Analytics is not tracking your traffic, but maybe people just aren’t finding your site due to a penalty or two.
If you’ve finished this list and suspect you have received a penalty or still think that Google Analytics is not working correctly, it might be a good time to look into hiring SEO specialists like the ones at Leverage Marketing to review your site. Our experienced Google Analytics experts can get your tracking moving, help you recover from penalties, and help bring your site to a place in the organic search rankings where users will be able to find you.
Thank You – this article really helpd me. My google analytics is not working properly.
Glad we could help! Thanks for reading!
Thanks a lot. This finally solved the issue!
So glad it was helpful for you!
Thanks for the Helpful article. It helps me a lot. You are a great writer. I have added you to my blogroll as well.
Hi Kathy – thanks very much! Glad you enjoyed it!
I have tried everything that you advised and still I see no data! I only see real time data but not that data that I have had over time ?
That’s certainly unfortunate, but there are some things that are out of our control. It may be possible that your site was flagged for a Google policy infringement, or it may just be that Google hasn’t collected enough data to show you anything beyond real-time traffic. If your website is hosted by a service such as blogspot.com, you also may need to take special precautions when preparing your website for Google Analytics. I’d recommend referring to literature provided by your host on the subject, and I wish you luck!
My website recently has not been tracking over the past few days, although it worked correctly few days ago. Please help to fix this error.
Thanks in advance.
Hiya! That is quite odd – have you or anyone who has access to your site made any changes recently? It’s possible the code could have been removed.
It will also depend on how you installed the GA tracking code in the first place – If you installed it via a tag manager such as Google Tag Manager, you might want to go in and make sure all of your triggers are set correctly, code is implemented, and that no major changes have been made.
Hope that helps a bit and you can get it figured out!
Thanks for the info Zoe. Very useful!
Thanks for reading, Tom! I’m glad it was helpful.
Hi, Our Google Analytics seems to have stopped tracking the website since last June, I have tested the real time data and it is not tracking, any ideas of how to fix this? Cheers
Hi Luke – Hard to say exactly what’s going on without looking at your setup, but I’d say your first step should be to check your tracking code implementation very carefully. Make sure the code is identical to the one provided from your Google Analytics dashboard, and double check that it is included in the correct location and on every page of your site. Since it sounds like it was working before, might want to go in and make sure the tracking code on your site hasn’t been accidentally removed or modified in any way.
Hope that helps! Best of luck getting it up and running again!
Hi Zoe, thanks for getting back to me, sorry if this sounds stupid but how do I check the tracking code implementation? Thanks for your help
Not stupid at all, it can be tricky! You’ll basically want to check and make sure the code is still where it’s supposed to be and that no changes have been made to it. Go to your dashboard within Google Analytics and find your tracking code (under admin>properties>tracking info>tracking code), and then check thecode on your site to see if the code implemented there matches the one in your Google Analytics account exactly. If you can’t find the code in your site’s and your site is not using Google Tag Manager or something like a plugin to install Google Analytics onto the site, that’s probably your issue – you’ll want to make sure the code is present on each page of the site.
Hope that is helpful and that you can get it sorted!
Thank you for the info. Google Analytics simply stopped working as of last week. It was working fine prior. I did, however, experience a duplication of pageviews. I have the analytics.js installed on my site, and, the GTM snippet. In GTM I use the tag for pageviews fired with a trigger for all pages. In order to avoid duplicate pageviews I changed the track type for the pageviews fired tag to event instead of pageview. That resolve it. However, I am still left with my original problem, which is empty data. Real time is running perfectly. Please help!
That is unfortunate! If I’m reading your comment correctly, it sounds like you have both the analytics.js code snippet on your site in addition to the GTM analytics tag. You won’t want both of those in the code at the same time – try removing one or the other and see if that corrects the problem.
Let me know how it works out!
My tracking only shows up the index page?
I have the tracking code on all my 21 pages but only ever get details of index (home page)….
Hi Mike – that’s pretty odd. If you’ve already tried testing the Real Time Report to see if GA is registering visits, check to make sure the code is intact, in the right place, and that traffic is not being blocked from your reports by something like a Google Analytics filter (you can find those in GA’s Admin panel). If nothing looks awry, I’d suggest removing the code and implementing Google Analytics via a different method, such as Google Tag Manager or a plugin (if you’re on a platform like WordPress).
Hope that helps! Let us know if you get it working!
Thanks, Zoe for this wonderful article. It helped me a lot now I am getting stats in Google analytics.
Awesome, I’m so glad it was helpful for you! Best of luck with your site!
I got around 1900 clicks from the display ads, but analytics showed only 170 sessions for that day. Also there is a disperency between the TawkTo chat visitors with analytics real time visitors.
Thanks for perfect guideline about Google analytics. It’s a very helpful info for me. Thanks!