Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Use Google Analytics To Track Your Sharepoint Intranet

I assumed that you could not use Google Analytics for your intranet. Apparently I was wrong.

Sadalit Van Buren takes you through the steps on her A Matter of Degree blog: How to Use Google Analytics with Sharepoint (MOSS 2007).

Google Analytics is not the most robust tools for measuring traffic. But these are tight economic times and it is good to have a free tool.

I use Google Analytics to view trends on this blog and some other sites I control. It does a great job of showing trends and the most viewed pages.


  1. Hi Doug,

    Great little find. By comparison to webtrends (which is mucho expensive) I much prefer Google Analytics.

    The proof is in the pudding though and the way Sharepoint works doesn't always lend itself to helpful reporting. For example, when you're editing a page, it is possible for that to register as a hit (and look like a regular page view). In fact, editing a page could falsely report tens of extra hits to a page (i.e. click edit >> Hit, add a web part >> hit, save >> hit).

    It's pretty avoidable, but is something to keep in mind and make sure your IT guys address when implementing it.

    Of course, you would have exactly the same problem with a package like Webtrends.

  2. Aren't you concerned about the potential security risk? What about the legal risk of permitting a third party access to client-confidential information?

  3. @ Neil - Thank you for pointing out the distortions that you could see in the data.

    This may be a benefit for Sharepoint wikis. All that editing should create lots of page views. So a heavily edited wiki will rise up the rankings. That seems good.

  4. @Brent -

    Security is obviously an issue to consider. I do not think Google Analytics captured anything other than the page name and URL. That seems to minimize the information that would be sent to Google. I do not think that limited amount of information would be confidential client information.

    I suppose you could have a page called "XYZ's Purchase of FGH co." and the existence of the purchase transaction would be material non-public information. (Of course I think there are few firms that are that far along in the use of their intranet.) A page like that would have security on it. I do not know if a page with security would be excluded from Google Analytics.

    Certainly, you should review the Analytics terms of service:



    Google's privacy policy:

    You will need to get comfortable with those.

  5. Doug, it's stuff like the link below that makes me hesitate, not the specific firm data that's passed to Google. I haven't asked our network cops about it, but my guess is that they'd say "no f'ing way" if I set it up openly. I'm far from being an expert on the subject, so I'm actually quite curious as to what others think.


  6. Brent -

    The network cops say "no f'ing way" to everything. I do not every remember hearing ayes from my old firm unless I went over their heads.

    But like you, I am not an expert on security or code on the web.

  7. Doug, thanks very much for the link. Neil Richards makes a great point about the multiple page hits - I haven't worked with it enough to know the effect either way, but it would be a very good thing to test.


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