Transitioning from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4: A Guide to Seamlessly Upgrade Your Analytics and Other Important Tips You Need To Know About
Yep, AI took over OVER NIGHT... though most of us saw that writing on the wall and made changes accordingly.
In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing and website analytics, staying up-to-date with the latest tools and technologies is crucial for success.
The biggest thing is that: AI is the future of search (until such time a "NEW" internet comes out and we'll be excited for that!).
Your SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) will be infused with this "artificial intelligence" aspect that's similar to the technology behind ChatGPT (which is banned now in 6 countries as of the last count in April 2023) and other chatbots.
Why the banning of good ole ChatGPT?
Some of these countries banned the application based on privacy concerns, while others, particularly North Korea, China, and Russia, claimed that the U.S. would use ChatGPT to spread misinformation.
(Yes and yes, they're all correct, but we digress)...
These changes mean SEO efforts across the board change (don't forget, google owns youtube as well so be prepared for changes ACROSS all "google-touched" properties July 2023 and beyond).
The new interface isn’t going to replace conventional search results, but users will naturally be drawn to prominently displayed information which is all around "AI" and this new analytics platform, so if you don't switch to this new analytics system you can bet that you'll lose clicks most assuredly.
You'll now have to learn to optimize for Google’s AI switchover to ensure that your content gets shown at the top.
Google is doing what they call "innovation," and that's why they have introduced Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as the "next generation" of their analytics platform. If you're currently using Universal Analytics (UA), transitioning to GA4 might seem like a daunting task.
However, this blog post will guide you through the process and help you understand more about making the switch, including the automatic setup of GA4 by Google and other tips you should know about including SEO aspects.
Analytics and the Changes: Understanding the Difference
Before embarking on the transition, it's important to understand the key differences between UA and GA4.
Here's what Google says: GA4 takes a user-centric approach, focusing on individual users rather than sessions. It provides more comprehensive insights into user behavior across multiple devices and platforms, allowing for a deeper understanding of the customer journey. GA4 also offers enhanced event tracking capabilities and AI-powered insights, enabling you to make data-driven decisions with greater precision and accuracy.
Automatic Setup of GA4
Google has made the transition to GA4 easier by introducing the automatic setup feature. When you create a new property in Google Analytics, you now have the option to select the "GA4" property type, which triggers the automatic setup process. Google will automatically configure your GA4 property, including the creation of essential events and settings. This streamlined setup saves you time and ensures that your GA4 property is ready to collect data.
Planning Your Transition
While the automatic setup takes care of the initial configuration, planning is still crucial for a successful transition. Conduct a thorough audit of your current analytics setup and identify the key metrics, goals, and events that are crucial for your business. Take this opportunity to clean up your existing data and ensure that it aligns with your desired tracking objectives. Create a transition plan that outlines the necessary steps and allocate resources and time for implementation.
Analyzing and Comparing Data
As you start collecting data in GA4, take the time to analyze and compare it with your existing UA data. Identify any discrepancies or gaps in the data to address during the transition. Use the opportunity to explore the enhanced features and reports available in GA4, such as user engagement, audience insights, and predictive analytics. This will help you uncover new insights and opportunities for optimization.
Updating Integrations and Campaigns
During the transition, it's important to update any integrations and campaigns that rely on your analytics data. Ensure that your Google Ads, Google Tag Manager, and other third-party integrations are compatible with GA4. Adjust your campaign tracking parameters and update your data feeds accordingly. Collaborate with your marketing and development teams to ensure a smooth transition across all platforms and channels
Transitioning from UA to GA4 is an important step in unlocking the full potential of your analytics capabilities since the "new internet" isn't here yet, we have to play along... to be seen, heard, and known.
The automatic setup feature by Google, combined with proper planning, implementation, and analysis, will ensure a successful migration.
Remember, Universal Analytics (the "old" analytics) stopped processing data last July 1st, 2023.
SEO, Other Browsers, Censorship and Other Tips
There are OTHER search engines to look at and some have taken away a lot of users from google. A couple of these are DuckDuckGo and Brave.
If you haven't done this yet, go get your site indexed on DuckDuckGo (which isn't a totally censorship-free internet platform, but it's a bit better than google). Here's some info on the censorship aspect to DuckDuckGo so you're well-informed.
Brave is probably one of the best search engines as it doesn't use a google search engine so the results are going to be very different, and it's a very privatized search platform so you're search details are not "for sale" every time you want to do a search.
SEO Tips To Keep In Mind
This is an important part as we all know. SEO is critical in being found in this massive search engine, and with all this AI stuff, all of us business owners need to make sure we're doing the right things.
Keyword stuffing doesn’t work anymore (and hasn’t for a LONG time since an update called "Hummingbird"). For your content to rank, you need a link building strategy going and to optimize for AI-powered search engines.
- It is VERY critical you write for keywords you should be targeting FOR YOUR UNIQUE AUDIENCES you want your work to resonate with. With the competition to rank becoming fiercer by the day, you need to find keywords, topic ideas, and other SEO opportunities that aren’t too common.
- Here's a good video to watch, we administer strategies that use these same tips in our writings (we have HUMANS writing though and always will just to note, but we do use tools to help us get the right keywords, etc.): https://youtu.be/Exw3t1MSHhE
Google is now using more visuals in search. Take care of your images. Make video content.
It's more important to ensure your site works on a technical level so make sure you stay on top of your site(s).
- Know that Google isn’t the only search engine (see notes above on where to make sure you index your site in those spots too)
- You MUST have a mobile-friendly site, make sure to use a responsive design and keep your pages light and fast
- Google has announced that it will castigate websites that are not secure in its 2023 SEO update, which denotes that if your site is not encrypted with SSL, you will be at a disadvantage in the search rankings.
- Write content that is HIGH QUALITY; not short and stuffed with a bunch of keywords. That is NOT quality. Think BEYOND google or any search engine, and write for YOUR AUDIENCE.
- It's time to get an algorithm-proof strategy .... if you don't have a SOUND content strategy to beat algorithms (because google is one of MANY algorithms that aren't created in OUR favor), it might be time to redo your strategy! That's something we can help with, just go here to set up a discovery chat to reconnect on that if we're not already doing this for you! :)
Want important updates like this to your inbox? Sign up below!