Common Google Analytics Errors – Healthcare Websites

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with Google Analytics, besides incorrect or nonexistent installation, is not taking full advantage of all of its features.

Google Analytics logoUnder-utilizing Analytics is not uncommon. In fact, the top under-utilized features in Analytics for healthcare are:

  • Site search
  • Ignore parameters
  • Custom campaign tracking
  • Goals, goals, goals
  • Filtered profiles

Site Search

Site searching is a basic functionality found on almost every healthcare organization site, since the main use of this feature is to find a doctor. Setting up site search properly in Analytics to track the various ways a user can search for a doctor is vital to understanding how users search and improving user experience and relevant results. Do users search by name, location, or specialty? Is there more you can do to promote your doctors that are accepting new patients? Does the order of results give some doctors’ profiles more views and more patients? Measuring the site search can help answer those questions and allow you to adjust your find a doctor search functionality for the best possible results, enhancing user experience.

Clean Data

Many healthcare sites have extra parameters at the end of a URL, often a feature of the content management system. These parameters can define whether it’s a mobile page, can limit the number of results to a search showing on a page, contain a search query or mark an error occurrence.

There are many reasons there can be extra parameters at the end of a URL. When these parameters are extraneous information that is not needed, they should be ignored in Google Analytics. Every parameter and parameter change is recorded as a new pageview in Analytics. If the same page is viewed multiple times with different parameters, these extra pieces to the URL can skew your website metrics. It can result in a higher number of total pages on your site and a larger number of pages/visit. A good rule of thumb is if the query parameter is not changing the content or functionality of a webpage and contains no information that provides valuable, actionable data, then you should exclude it from your Analytics reports.

Campaign Tracking

Custom campaign tracking is vital to understanding your marketing efforts. Social media posts and email links often get overlooked as items that are tracked as a campaign in Analytics. If you spend time creating social media posts and emails, measuring results will help you determine their effectiveness.

Use URL Builder to create links to post on social media or include in emails. This will help track your links, because social site reporting and email reporting won’t give you the full story. Knowing how many clicks or opens there were does not tell you what happened next. What did the users do on the site? Did they convert? Did they spend time on your site or leave after a few seconds? Understanding the after click performance can tell you what is working and what isn’t.


Every website has a purpose, and too many sites aren’t tracking that purpose. If there is a thank you page on the site, that’s a goal. If there is a document download on the site, that is a goal. If there is a phone number on the site and a user clicks to call from a mobile device – that is a goal, as well. With healthcare sites, the main goals of the site are often for users to call to make an appointment, complete a form or access the patient portal. All of these items can and should be tracked and set up as goals. Measuring your marketing and all of your website traffic and their goal performance is essential.

Filtered Profiles

Healthcare sites have an additional challenge that many other types of sites don’t. Healthcare organizations have service lines, for example cardiology, bariatrics, maternity, or oncology, just to name a few. The target audience for these service lines is going to behave differently on the website because they have different needs. If a user is looking for maternity services, there’s a good chance they want a tour to see if it’s the right place to deliver their child. If a user is thinking of bariatrics surgery, they want education and information first. If a person needs a cardiologist, many are referred by another physician but may want to read more about their doctor.

Filtered profiles can break down the website into key segments that contain only the service line pages and provide data on how those users behave on the website. This segmentation also allows you to set up goals that are distinct to each service line. A goal to schedule a tour for maternity and a goal to watch an educational video on surgery for bariatrics are two examples.

Utilizing all of the features in Analytics can provide valuable, clean, actionable data across your healthcare website. If you need help, or are looking for more information about Analytics for healthcare, contact us today.

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