Verify the proper GA or GTM codes are on every page of your website and that your site has no session-breaking UTM parameters.
Install Screaming Frog SEO Spider by visiting the download page and following their instructions.
You will need the paid version of Screaming Frog (£149 per year, or approximately $200 USD). The free version will crawl up to 500 URLs but won’t let you add the custom search configurations you’ll set up in this playbook.
ScreamingFrog is useful to check for GA/GTM coverage but is also an amazing tool for website diagnostics.
Find the identifying ID for your analytics set up in Google Tag Manager. For example a GTM container ID, GA tracking ID, or a GA4 Measurement ID. If you don’t yet have Google Tag Manager installed on your website, Google provides a helpful video and step-by-step instructions here.
- GA installed through GTM: get the GTM Container ID
- GA installed through GTAG or Universal Analytics: get the GA Tracking ID from GA Admin > Property > Property Settings.
- GA4: Get the Measurement ID (GA Admin > Property > Data Streams). (Pro tip: make sure you get the Measurement ID, not the Stream ID.)
These four will check for all possible versions of GA code (old and new) on your site. Name them appropriately (in the first column) so you’ll know what they are later. Note the special formulation on the third one: “gtag/js”.
UTM parameters are not related to GA coverage on your site. But since you’ll be crawling the whole site anyway, it’s a good idea to check for a common misusage of UTMs on internal links.
- If you have a utm parameter on an internal link (i.e. that goes from one page on your website to another page on that same website), you will start a new session and break how that visitor originally found your site.
You want to set this up twice - as a “Contains” and a “Does Not Contain”. In the screenshot, I’m looking for the specific GTM container ID.
Wait for the crawl to complete and be at 100%. Depending on the size of the website, this may take a while.
When the crawl is finished, open the custom search window by clicking on the down arrow in the top nav and clicking on “Custom Search.”
- Section 1 (the first four generic terms) should all be zero except for one of them, which ideally is the same as the total number of pages (312 in this case - 100% coverage).
- Section 2 is the optional utm_ check, which shows three pages have UTM’s. Click anywhere on that line and Screaming Frog will show you the three pages which have the UTM’s. Check each of the pages to make sure the UTMs are not on an internal link. UTM’s should only be used on outbound links, to websites other than the one you’re checking.
- Section 3 is the real meat:
- your expected method of adding GA (identified in step 2) is contained on 100% of all pages. In this case, we were checking for the specific GTM container ID.
- That container ID is missing (“does not contain”) from no pages.