There are many ways to check if a site has Google Analytics installed. Depending on the reason you want to find out if GA is implemented or not, you need to pick a method that will save you time. The first method is the quickest…
- Checking if Google Analytics is installed on a site can take between seconds and hours, depending on how many pages you want to check and the method you use. We listed 6 for you.
- This is useful information for your own website, or sites of customers and leads. You may even use the knowledge in cold outreach campaigns. At your own risk, that is.
- Even if GA is installed, that doesn’t mean data is being collected correctly.
6 ways to check if a website uses Google Analytics
There are many ways to detect GA on a website. You will need to do it on a desktop. On mobile devices, it is harder.
Except for the 4th method, make sure you:
- Accept cookies for marketing purposes. Sites in the EU will normally ask for permission.
- Switch off tracking blockers.
Let’s start with the quickest method but if you'd rather watch instead of read check out this video:
#1 Check the GA tag in the website source code
If you open a site, you can open the HTML source code and see whether GA is installed or not. After all, GA only collects data if the tracking script is implemented in the right place on the site. If that is not the case, it is not installed.
Follow these steps to view the HTML code of any site:
Step 1: Right-click on a website and select View page source.
Depending on your browser, this may look different than the screenshot below:
Alternatively, you can open a website and click CTRL + U.
That shortcut will save you precious milliseconds (which you wasted by reading this very sentence. Oops.)
Step 2: Look in the code for any of the following scripts:
- Universal Analytics script:
- Google Analytics 4 script:
Please note that GA uses a unique identifier for every property. For Google Analytics 4, this is the so-called measurement ID.
When to do this?
This is the quickest method to see if a web page has GA installed or not. It takes you about 30 seconds at most.
- You only need a browser. (And an internet connection. And a laptop or desktop. And electricity. And maybe reading glasses.)
- This method is suitable to check only one page at a time. If you need to check more pages, you will need to repeat the steps for every single web page.
- Since speed is an important ranking factor in Google, some sites compress the source code and put everything on one line. You can use the search function of your browser. Click CTRL+F in the source code tab and type, e.g. Google, or <script>.
In the next method, you can also view the source code, but I will share another trick.
#2 Use the Developer Tools of your browser
When you open a website and press F12 in Chrome, the Developer Tools opens. Here, you navigate to the Sources tab. On the left menu, you look for Google Analytics.
There is also a chance that GA is installed with Google Tag Manager.
When to use this method?
This is probably the preferred method if you are a developer or interested in technical aspects of sites, like checking the speed with Lighthouse.
- It is a simple method, provided you are (willing to become) familiar with Developer Tools.
- You can best check a site in incognito mode. If you don’t, you can also see scripts of browser extensions. That can be confusing for the untrained eye.
If you are a fan of adding more functionality to your browser, you will like the next method.
#3 Use the Tag Assistant browser extension
Tag Assistant is a Google product. It comes with browser extensions and it is a handy way to not only check if a site has implemented GA. It also allows you to see if it is functioning properly.
I won’t explain how to debug Google Analytics 4, but focus on how to use it for the goal defined in this article.
Unlike the two previous methods, you will need to do some preparations first.
- You need to have access to a Google Analytics account. However, it doesn’t need to be for the domain you want to check.
- You need to login in your browser with this Google Account.
- You also have to install a browser extension. You can easily check if you already have it by going to the Tag Assistant site. If you see a blue puzzle icon in the right-top corner, you already have the extension.
When you are set up, follow these steps:
Step 1: Visit https://tagassistant.google.com/
Step 2: Click on Add a domain.
Step 3: Fill in the URL and click Connect.
You need to fill in the full URL, so starting with http:// or https://.
Tag Assistant will now open the URL in a new browser tab and notify you when this is successful. On the site itself, you will see a notification like this:
Step 4: Click Continue
The Tag Assistant site will also show you a success message.
If you don’t see it, that could mean
- GA is not installed.
- GA is installed, but something went wrong. That can be a lot of things.
Step 5: Click on the GA icon.
And optionally, see if there are hits sent.
When to use this method?
This is the preferred method if you are interested in analytics, regardless of whether you are an expert or at the beginning of your learning Google Analytics journey.
- This method shows a lot more than the presence of GA.
- You can use it for any site, even if you don’t have access to the GA account.
- If GA is installed, you can easily see which version is running on a site.
- You can open other pages of the site and detect if they also have GA installed.
- You need to install an extension on your browser.
- You also need to have a GA account and be logged into it.
- The connection doesn’t always work. This means that you may have to spend more time on finding out if GA is implemented or not.
The next method is a bit outdated, but it can be useful if you are looking for Universal Analytics installations.
#4 Check many webpages at once for UA
If you want to check if the old version of GA is installed on a website up to 10,000 pages, you can use an online tool, called GAchecker.
This is how you do that:
Step 1: Open this website
Step 2: Enter the domain name you want to check
Step 3: Optionally, you can switch checking URL parameters and subdomains on, or off.
- A parameter in the URL is different from parameters in GA4. You can use the latter, for instance, to set up custom events. (this is not published yet). In URLs, parameters can be used to filter, for instance, products on ecommerce sites. If in doubt, slide this option on.
- A subdomain can be, for example, https://my.datadrivenu.com/.
Step 4: Hit the button Check your Site.
Don’t take “Your site” literally. You can enter any site without verifying it is yours.
Step 5: Check for pages that don’t have GA.
You can do this in different ways.
- Export the scan
- Filter the results: choose Without tag and Analytics
- Or you can manually check the URLs. A red cross means UA is not installed.
Impressive, isn’t it?
When to use this method?
This tool is ideal if you need to check if the older version of GA is installed on (almost) all pages of larger websites.
- A quick scan obviously saves you time. But if you have a bigger site, it can easily take 30 minutes for the scan to be finished.
- Like Tag Assistant, this tool searches for the installation of Google Adwords, Google Tag Manager. Two birds, one stone.
Despite the power of GAchecker, there are also some clear disadvantages:
- It is limited to the first 10K pages it can detect on a site.
- It checks for UA, not for GA4.
- If you are implementing GA with Google Tag Manager, the tool will tell you UA is not installed.
- Depending on the size of the site and the server load, the scan can take seconds to multiple minutes.
The next method takes a different approach.
Google Analytics puts cookies on devices. So if you visit a website (on desktop) and you are not sure that the site does this, you can click on the padlock icon in the address bar of your browser.
In Chrome, you will see something like this screenshot:
Browse to the folder of the site you are checking and click on cookies.
Google Analytics cookies start with _ga. If you can spot them, GA is installed.
When to use this method?
- It is fast, and you don’t need any software but your browser.
- You can also install Google Analytics without using cookies. So this method is not fully reliable.
- Your browser can block cookies.
In fact, the last disadvantage is an advantage when you use one specific browser.
#6 Check Brave shield blocker
This is a bit of a different approach to check if sites have GA installed. But it is also an easy one. You only need this browser.
Once installed, Brave blocks all trackers automatically. The moment you open a site, you see the lion icon in the address bar.
Click on it and then on the number of blocked trackers and ads.
When to use this method?
If you are already using Brave, this is an easy way to check if GA is installed on a site.
- This requires no technical knowledge at all.
- You can easily see other blocked scripts too.
- If you want to know if GA is not only installed, but also working properly, you will need to allow GA. Although that is possible in Brave, it requires additional steps to first allow the script to run. I recommend you use Chrome in that case.
What can you do with this information?
Knowing if Google Analytics is installed on a site can be useful for many reasons.
- For your own website
You definitely want to be sure that it is installed on all pages. And that it is collecting all the data you need.
- For customers’ websites
- For sites of leads
If you receive a request for an offer to redesign a website, or deliver any marketing services, do check if the lead has GA installed. If not, you can make them aware of it. And if you master GA yourself, you can even offer it as an additional service.
- For sites of prospects
This one goes a step further. If you notice with one of the above mentioned methods that a site doesn’t have GA installed, or is still using Universal Analytics, you can outreach to them. Making them aware won’t do any harm. If you can convince them to hire you to install, or sell UA migration services, that is a nice bonus.
- Most methods described above don’t require any technical knowledge. They are rather easy ways to detect Google Analytics on a site.
- However, you may need to use a combination of ways before jumping to a conclusion.
- Installation is not a synonym of an ideal setup of GA.
- Also, data collection in GA is not guaranteed to be perfect. For instance, users may have configured GA in a suboptimal way which can eventually lead to it not working at all.
On behalf of the Data Driven U team, I hope this article gave you some decent tips on how to check if Google Analytics is installed on a website. Go, and put it in practice with your site, or the ones of (future) clients. Good luck!