How to Create Goals for Your Website Using Google Analytics

Google Analytics 101: How to Create Goals for Your Website

If you don’t know how to create goals for your website, you are not being effective. Creating goals in Google Analytics is one of the basics every marketer should know and implement.

Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track visits and behaviors people do on your website.

If you haven’t installed Google Analytics on your website, you can check out my previous post on how to do that exactly.

Preparatory Points

  1. Google Analytics is installed on your site
  2. You know what you want to track

Before we get to the actual guide, there are two preparatory points I’d like to go over.

First, this would only work if you have Google Analytics installed on your website. It’s worth noting this because I’ve encountered a lot of people who still don’t have Google Analytics installed on their websites, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

I also noticed that organizations using Shopify and SquareSpace don’t have this configured as well — despite it being a one-step process.

The second and a very important one that needs to be discussed is you should know beforehand what you want to track.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Create Goals in Google Analytics

As a quick overview, Google Analytics allows you to track 4 types of goals:

  1. URL
  2. Event
  3. Time
  4. Visit / Page

Among these, the most commonly used are the URL and event goals.

A great activity I strongly recommend you go through to determine this is the Digital Marketing and Measurement Model.

After this exercise, you can easily identify everything you need to focus on your implementation and measurement.

Now, on to the step-by-step guide…

1. Go to the Google Analytics Admin Panel

This part is easy. Simply login to Google Analytics and go to the admin panel by clicking the gear icon at the lower-left portion of the screen.

Google Analytics Dashboard
How to Create Goals for Your Website Using Google Analytics Step 1: Go to the Admin Section

Then, navigate towards the Goals section.

Google Analytics Admin Panel
How to Create Goals for Your Website Using Google Analytics Step 2: Click on Goals

Also, make sure you are creating goals for the right account. You don’t have to worry about this if you only have one, but in my case, I have access to multiple Google Analytics accounts.

2. Create a Goal

For the purpose of this article, we’ll use the most common goal type used — the URL destination goal.

Start by clicking on that big red button…

Google Analytics Goals
How to Create Goals for Your Website Using Google Analytics Step 3: Click on Create Goal

Then, you’ll have to complete 3 steps:

  1. Goal setup. This is where you can choose from one of the templates or custom. I used the custom setup.
  2. Goal description. This is where you include the name of the goal and the type of goal.
  3. Goal Details. This is where you enter the criteria for the goal you chose. Options here differ depending on the goal type chosen in the previous step.
Google Analytics Goals: Setup
How to Create Goals for Your Website Using Google Analytics Step 4: Choose from Template or Custom
Google Analytics Goals: Description
How to Create Goals for Your Website Using Google Analytics Step 5: Choose Goal Type
Google Analytics Goals: Details
How to Create Goals for Your Website Using Google Analytics Step 6: Complete Criteria for Goal

As a refresher, this goal type uses a URL as a goal. What that means is when that URL “loads,” the goal is achieved. Let’s call this a thank you page. In this example, I made up a fake URL. Just replace this with the URL of your thank you page.

There are 3 fields you can tinker here. Only 1 of them is required, and that is the URL itself. The others simply add more data for analysis later on. We’ll tackle this in another post, but for now, just enter the URL then hit Save.

Now, you may be thinking, “what if someone opens the page or URL, won’t that mess my reports later on?”

That is a valid concern. That is why there are four best practices for using this type of goal:

  1. Use a unique page/URL for every thank you page
  2. Add a noindex tag on the thank you page
  3. Don’t link to this thank you page anywhere; except
  4. Have a unique form that redirects to this page after successful submission

Once these 4 conditions are met, it is almost impossible to get to the thank you page (our URL destination goal).

I explained this in detail in another article called the typical online conversion path. With this checks in place, you are almost guaranteed that the only way people get to your thank you page is after a successful form submission. Then, your goal will only trigger after successful form submission.

3. Check if the Goal Is Working Properly

This step is very important. If you do not test your goal/s, don’t complain if it’s not working later on.

Testing your goal is also very easy.

  1. Just open the URL in another tab, then
  2. Check the real-time analytics portion in Google Analytics to see if it triggered the goal you just set up.
Google Analytics Real-Time
How to Create Goals for Your Website Using Google Analytics Step 7: Go to Real-Time Reports

If it did, it should look something like this. You should see numbers pop up here.

Google Analytics Real-Time Conversions
How to Create Goals for Your Website Using Google Analytics Step 8: Check for Conversions

If not, then there’s something wrong.

The usual culprits are these four:

  1. Plug-ins blocking traffic (for example if you’re using Chrome and have the GA output plugin, you can use an incognito mode to test this or use another)
  2. Typo errors in the URLs (/thankyou vs /thank-you vs /thank_you)
  3. URLs not matching (contains /thank-you vs exact /thankyou)
  4. Included the domain/subdomains ( vs just /thank-you)

So it’s really important to test and make sure the goals you set up ate working properly.

So, What Are You Going to Do Now

The last step after you create goals for your website, which should be a given but worth noting, is you have to execute your strategies.

That means creating campaigns with awesome content and making sure you’re targeting the right audience.

One those numbers start coming in, you’ll be able to analyze and improve on it using the goals you just created.

As a word of caution, don’t get stuck in creating the “perfect” content or, in this case, the “perfect” goals.

It is always — I repeat, ALWAYS — better to implement/execute than to spend all your time planning. You get real customer feedback instead of assumptions. You learn what the market actually want and don’t want.

Commandment 6: Honor Google and Other SERPs

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People use the internet to search for answers to problems they have, no matter how mundane they are. This includes asking what is the weather tomorrow in Tagaytay; or how much is 1 USD to Philippine peso; or what are the top 10 restaurants in Maginhawa?

If you are following the 10 commandments for effective digital marketing, you should be creating content that is helpful, relevant, and use those keywords you want your business or brand to be associated with.

This tactic is what people commonly refer to as search engine optimization (SEO). When people type certain keywords on search engines, you’d want to appear in the search results that are relevant to your business or brand.

However, search engines such as Google continually change the rules of the game. In fact, just a couple of months ago (while being on a hiatus), Google implemented an update to its algorithm that could make your organic traffic drop at least by 5% when your website is not mobile-friendly.

The question now remain is how do you keep up?

As marketers, you are busy. You do not have enough time to remember and read all these updates and changes.

The answer is really quite simple — you plan for the future and execute strategies accordingly.

Wait, what?

Look. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.

Just go through the history of Google updates (and if you want even Facebook’s news feed algorithm updates), there is always one underlying reason for them. The main reason for all these changes is to make it easier for the user to find what they need at that point in time. (HINT: remember commandment #1, be helpful?)

2 Things You Should Do to Make Your Digital Marketing Strategy Futureproof

  1. Learn the basics of how search engines work and the importance of keywords
  2. Work smarter, not harder

The Basics:

The ultimate goal of SEO is to appear in the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs). In order for that to happen, there is a widely-accepted belief that there are two factors that affect that:
  1. On-page SEO; and,
  2. Off-page SEO
These factors don’t weigh of equal importance for you to appear on the top of SERPs. In fact, according to HubSpot, on-page SEO is only weighted at roughly 10%; while off-page SEO accounts for 90%.

On-page SEO 

On-page SEO generally refers to how the business / brand is following the rules created Google and other search engines. The elements associated with on-page SEO are things that are within the control of the business / brand.

There are many elements to consider here, but the most important lesson you need to be familiar with is that of keywords.

Keywords are terms businesses and brands want to be associated with when people search online. They play a very important role in digital marketing. And, frankly, it won’t go away anytime soon.

Depending on where you look, you will be presented with different categories of keywords. But I like to make things simple. So, just keep in mind of these 3 categories of keywords:

  1. Branded keywords —> keywords that includes your brand / business / trademarked items. For Apple, branded keywords they want to associate themselves with are iPhone, iPod, Mac, etc.
  2. Generic keywords —> These are keywords that are related to your products or services. Going back to the example above for Apple, some generic keywords they want their company to be associated with could include smartphones, mobile phones, laptops, desktops, etc.
  3. Long-tail keywords —> These are keywords that are unbranded, but expanded generic terms. Again, for Apple, some long-tail keywords could be best touch screen devices, best smartphones all-time, etc.

Off-page SEO

These are factors that you are not directly in control of. Some of these activities are inbound links, bookmarking, multiple pages visited, etc.

Remember the ultimate goal of Google I mentioned above? To bring relevant information to its user easily.

Since there are a LOT of information uploaded to the internet every second,  Google uses an algorithm to index those. It uses a lot of factors to determine its quality.

The stuff I mentioned (inbound links, bookmarking, multiple pages visited) are all indicators of your content being of high quality. And, of course, this is not an exhaustive list.

A) Inbound links
These are links from other people’s websites leading to one of your web pages. For example, you wrote an article about the 7 tools every digital marketing should use. Then, another marketer loved it so much, he created an article and showed how he uses those 7 free tools and linked them back to your site. That is an example of an inbound link (to your site).

B) Bookmarking and multiple pages visited

When you bookmark a page or visit more pages from that website, that signals Google that you like what you found. It suggests that the content you are reading / viewing / listening to are of high quality that you engaged more with the business/brand.

Think about it. When you searched for something, then found that the site takes forever to load. What do you do? Close the browser and move on the next result, right? What if the next page that loads doesn’t really answer your question? You hit back and look for another result.

On-page and off-page SEO matters. As they say with a lot of things, it is a combination of both art and science. You cannot discount technicality because no matter how great your content are but not abiding by the rules, then you will never win. If you are very great technically, but no one wants to read you, you won’t get read and shared.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

I know you are busy. I am busy. Who’s not busy nowadays, right? The right question is what are you being busy about?

It is very difficult to keep up with all these changes. Yet, as a marketer, it is your duty to stay abreast of anything that may affect your career. So, instead of reading tons of articles per day, why not just read about them from trusted sources?

I recommend using an RSS aggregator.

Subscribe to authoritative sites such as HubSpot, Mashable, and TechCrunch to learn about what’s happening on the web, technology and marketing field.

I use an app called Feedly. I am subscribed to at least two dozen local and international sites. I don’t read ALL of them. I just browse through the headlines. If it’s relevant to me, I read the entire article. If not, I just scroll through them.

It helps me stay updated with what’s happening in my current industry, role, and profession. That way, I don’t get blind-sided when things erupt.

But you are busy, right? You don’t have time to read all day to catch up. This only takes about 15 minutes each day. You’re not THAT busy. You just don’t know how to manage your commitments.

I open the app during my morning and evening commute. I take the MRT. My ride from Point A to B takes approximately 25 minutes (this doesn’t include the waiting time in between trains). That’s when I read and catch up.

I’m busy too. I just know that if I don’t spend time reading and learning new things, I am passing up on opportunities to make things easier for me.

Some of the things I missed out when I did not follow my own advice (and reasoned out I was too busy)  were the following:

  • Pablo by Buffer
  • Canva
  • Free 1GB Spotify and extra 2GB mobile internet by Globe (by just switching up my plan) at no extra cost

These are two simple things you can change to make your digital marketing strategies futureproof. By planning for the future, you are guaranteed you won’t be blindsided by the changes. And, incorporating a daily habit of reading from trusted sites help you stay updated with that’s happening within your industry. Do these two things and you will be 80% better than your peers who are not doing this.

How to Reach Business Nirvana by Google’s Eric Schmidt


I have just got to share this wonderful SlideShare by Eric Schmidt of Google.

The CEO of Google shared his learnings in his decade-long stay at Google. In this 54-slide deck, Eric shared his learnings in a very easy-to-understand way, yet packs a whole lot of hidden messages, which I hope I did justice in this article by breaking down these lessons and sharing the issues he is tackling.


13 Steps to Achieve Business Nirvana

  1. Ask the question “What’s different now?” [Slide 6]
  2. Accept that technology is changing every business sector – fast! [Slide 9]
  3. Realize that barriers to entry have become so low, almost anyone can enter the market [Slide 10]
  4. Admit that power has shifted from companies to consumers [Slide 12]
  5. Remember what Peter Drucker said, “Make strength productive.” [Slide 16 – 18]
  6. Plan your culture then hire people to fit the culture, not the other way around [23 – 28]
  7. Consider what Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” [Slide 29 – 33]
  8. Stop relying on recruiters and HR for hiring [Slide 34 – 35]
  9. Murder any unchosen alternatives [Slide 36 – 39]
  10. Communicate incessantly. Never assume. Repeat. Again. Again. [Slide 40 – 41]
  11. Set unattainable goals [Slide 44]
  12. Listen to the lab coats, not the suits [Slide 45]
  13. Take a leap of faith [Slide 50 – 52]