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Must-read: How to get your free Google services code up to date

I’ve been discussing remarketing over the past couple of days, and it would be remiss of me not to mention the code addition you need to make on your site to run a Google AdWords Remarketing campaign. Even if you’re not planning on running one, however, read on for some changes you might like to make to all the code on your website relating to Google services. If you have a website designer, management company or head office doing the “behind the scenes” work on your site, do send them this and get their professional opinion.

The first thing to look at is Google Analytics. I’d estimate that more than 90% of readers have this running on their sites, and the only reason the others don’t appears to be “because head office in Germany (or sometimes Switzerland) doesn’t like it”, although they can rarely explain why it’s mainly these two countries which seem to have a problem with it. But for the 90%, it’s worth checking that your Google Analytics code is up-to-date and in the right place. Google changed the recommended code this year, to work with their new “Universal Analytics”, and you should really be using the new code, which is typically placed at the end of the head section on each page. So that’s job number one.

Then there’s remarketing. This also requires some code, so that visitors to your site can be tagged invisibly as having done so. If you’re running a Google AdWords campaign, I would recommend putting remarketing code on your site even if you’re not planning to do remarketing at the moment. The reason for this is that it can take quite a while to get a decent number of visitors tagged in this way, so if you get the code on now, when you do eventually decide to look at remarkting, you’ll have a ready-tagged set of recent visitors. There’s almost no overhead in doing so. The remarketing code can be provided by whoever runs your Google AdWords campaign. It should be positioned at the end of every page, just before the end of the body section.

Your third option is to set up AdWords conversion tracking. If you’re running an AdWords campaign and “success” involves a visitor reaching a certain page, this is a must. Example pages would be the “thank you” pages served up following a signup, download request or completed sale. Whoever is running your Google AdWords campaign can provide the required code.

A final – and alternative – option is to move over to Google Tag Manager (GTM), which involves replacing any existing Google Analytics, Remarketing or AdWords Conversion code with one single piece of GTM code. You then set up GTM externally to serve up whatever code you wish, without ever having to modify the pages again. GTM also offers some fantastic analysis options too, such as being able to measure events such as PDF and video views. I’ve discussed this in more detail here.

So, the questions you should be asking yourself, or whoever runs your website behind the scenes, are these:
– Do I need to update the Google Analytics code on my website?
– If running a Google AdWords campaign, can or should I add remarketing code?
– If running a Google AdWords campaign, do I have pages which confirm a positive action, and can I add conversion tracking code to these?
– Should I do all of the above via Google Tag Manager?

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