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Manual Internal Link Tagging for Google Analytics

Most Google Analytics tagging revolves around marketing campaigns clicks from external sources (such as emails) need to be tracked. These kinds of clicks are tracked via Google campaign codes.

However, what is the best strategy to track clicks on your own website? For example, say you would like to know how many clicks your main banner image gets? Or how many times people click on your company logo to get back to the home page.

Internal Link Tracking

Sounds complicated but it’s not! These are simple manual tags that are added to normal hyperlinks.

For example, we have a ‘Get in Touch’ call-to-action at various points on our website. On our website header, in the footer as well as on the left navigation of certain pages. How can we evaluate how these links perform individually?

In order to function properly, links to the contact page on our website need to look like this:

As the link stands, we can answer the question: How many times do visitors click thru to your contact page, the answer is easy. BUT we cannot evaluate how effective each of these links are individually?

To track internal link clicks it is best to use ValueTrack parameters (as Google calls them, usually in the context of AdWords. More info here:

ValueTrack Parameters

Adding one of these values (parameters) to a link as easy as naming the parameter and putting a ‘?’ in front of it. Like this:

The beauty of this simplicity is that the webserver will ignore any parameter that it does not understand. This is because web servers use link (URL) parameters to pass information between pages. And when passed an unrecognized parameter they simply ignore it!

Thus, the only place our new value will be recognized is in Google Analytics.

NB: By default, all main navigation links will be clean and without parameters.

Reading Your Results

Once a few of your new parameter loaded links have been clicked a few time, you can go to your Google Analytics console to review your results.

A good place to view them is to navigate to the Behavior tab and then click on Site Content – Content Drilldown.

 This is what you should see:

Value Track Parameters in Analytics

Items 2 and 3 give a nice breakdown of the various ways that these website visitors navigated to the Contact page.

Perfecting Parameters

Some simple rules

  • Think carefully when choosing a parameter name!
  • Specify a simple set of rules for your analytics parameters like:
    • We will use camel case (like HomePage)
    • We will use longer, descriptive names rather than arcane abbreviations, so that anyone will be able to understand them
    • We will use a hyphen to replace a space (So ContactMe Footer will become ContactMe-Footer)
  • Don’t stress about keeping names short, longer and more descriptive is better
  • Once you have chosen a name – STICK to it; changes in case or spelling will mess up your analysis
  • Use the same name for the same action

 Stick to the rules, be consistent and you will learn some interesting things about how your visitors navigate your website content.


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