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Setting up Site Overlay for Individual Hubs

Updated on December 3, 2010
kblover profile image

Brian is a dog lover who's highly interested in the mental and emotional lives of dogs. He owns and trains Wally, a Coton de Tulear.

Where are People Clicking?

Site Overlay is a feature in the Google Analytics suite of utilities that helps you breakdown what people are doing on your site(s) and where they go from there and how they got there in the first place.

This hub will focus on setting up Site Overlay trackers for each individual hub, as well as your base profile, so that you can see how people are interacting with your hub and/or profile page and how they are leaving it as well as where they go when they do.

What Site Overlay Tracks

The Site Overlay feature tracks the exact links and elements being clicked and the percentage of clicks that went to that element. This is useful because it can show where the interest and focus of your readers is going, how they are exploring your other hubs (if this hub is part of a group), how people are voting the hub, and so on.

Setting Up Site Overlay For Individual Hubs

To set up your hub to feed Google Analytics info, you have to set up a tracker and a profile from your Google Analytics account. Since I am HORRIBLE at giving detailed step-by-step directions, I will write this hub while setting up a profile and tracker for one of my hubs. This why I can write exactly what I do when I do it and hopefully it will help you do the same.

I highly suggest you have your hubpages account screen up (the one that lists your hubs, hubscores, and visitor stats) in another window or tab. These steps will assume that is the case.

  1. Go to and click the dark blue "Access Analytics" button. If you do not have an Analytics account yet, click the sign up link under the blue button and register.
  2. Enter your user name and password. It should be the same as your goggle account user name and password. If not, then use the user name and password you created with your account.
  3. Once in, if you have any other profiles set up, you'll see them on this screen. Look for a link that says "Add Website Profile" at the bottom of your list. Click that link.
  4. You should see a toggle that asks if you want a new domain or an existing domain. I want a new domain profile so select the toggle that says "Add a Profile for a new domain"
  5. This is where having a hubpages window/tab helps a lot. Go to your hubpages tab/window. I like being at the account screen because all my hubs are listed (all whopping 11 of them!). Let's say I want to create a profile for EADT: Volume 6: Of Cues and Slot Machines . I go to that hub and copy the entire URL that shows in the address bar.
  6. Now, go back to your Google Analytics tab/window and paste that URL in the box provided. Make sure you delete the initial "http://" part from the box! As you see, that's already given to you. It's easier, however, to do a cut-paste then remove the "http://" considering how long the hub URLs can be.
  7. Set your country and time zone as needed.
  8. Click Finish. You should be at a screen where it provides some javascript code. You don't need to worry about that for our purposes in this hub. What you DO want is that web property ID. Highlight that (just the ID itself) and copy that to the clipboard. You'll need it for the next step and cut-paste makes it easier and eliminates typos. Don't click the Finish button at the bottom yet, just in case the cut-paste didn't take, etc.
  9. Go back to your hubpages window and go to your affiliate settings.
  10. Click your Analytics box. Don't worry if something is there already, you won't lose your other stats (but if you're worried, write this down in case something goes wrong. That way, you can put it back the way it was).
  11. Paste the ID you just generated in step 8 and click ok. You should see the text go "Saved" then "Active".
  12. Go back to your Google Analytics window/tab and now click the finish button at the bottom of the page.

There, you have a profile for this individual hub! It might show as an ! for a while on your list, but this should change to a green check mark over time.

This is what my analytics listing looks like now. As you can see I have my hubpages profile and three other hubs listed along with the profile I just created.
This is what my analytics listing looks like now. As you can see I have my hubpages profile and three other hubs listed along with the profile I just created.

Accessing Site Overlay Data

Eventually, you'll want to see just what's going on, right? I mean, what's the point of data if you never inspect it, analyze it, or evaluate it?

Of course, your new profile probably won't have data in it just yet. However, let's say a week has passed and there's data there now. Here's how I access it for my hubs. We'll use my EADT Volume 9: Communication and Understanding for this example.

  1. If you logged out of Google Analytics, log back in.
  2. If you just logged in, you'll be at your settings page with your profiles listed already. If not, go to that page by clicking "Analytics Settings" at the top left.
  3. Scroll to the profile you want and click the "View Report" link for that profile. If you'd prefer, you can pull down the profile from the top left box labeled "View Reports" and click the profile report you want to see.
  4. No matter which way you got here, you'll be at the Dashboard for this report.
  5. Click "Content" from the choices on the left side of the page.
  6. Now click "Site Overlay" from the expanded choices under "Content".
  7. You should get a new window with your hub displayed and a bunch of bars with numbers in them all over it. These are where your clicks are recorded and the numbers are the percentage of clicks that went to that link. (It seems that similar links are grouped. For example, my profile, my avatar, and my screen name all have 33% - this doesn't mean 99% of my clicks went to those three spots, but the URL of all those spots is probably the same)

From here, you can see plenty of information. For example, 20% of the 15 (unique, I'm assuming) visitors clicked the "bookmark this hub" link. 27% went to read EADT: Volume 8. 33% clicked my profile in one way or another. If you hover your mouse over a box, you can get the raw number of clicks.

The URL grouping is a downside and I hope google and sort that out. After all, if 33% clicked my profile, and 27% clicked EADT: Volume 8, how could 20% click the up vote, down vote, and share it! links? That adds up to 120%... so one of those 20% has to have the same URL. Better, in my view, would be if it just showed the percentage that clicked that specific link to just give a raw "click map" of the page.

Still, even with that "issue", it's still a nice piece of data to look at and might provide some insight into how your visitors are thinking, especially those of you with the huge numbers I only dream of!


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    • kblover profile image

      Brian McDowell 8 years ago from USA

      You can always change it back - the IDs don't disappear. But yeah, I've since changed the IDs. I haven't had the same ID the three weeks I've been here.

      There's some delay for some reason. Like here, this hub has "0" views, when, obviously, it has at least one, you, if no one else.

    • shibashake profile image

      shibashake 8 years ago

      " I mean, my profile has 224 views, but that ID wasn't the only one I used and you can see that I have all of them receiving data by Google."

      Are you receiving new data? or is that data from before you changed the ID?

      ** Sorry to harp on this, but I just want to be sure before I change my affiliate settings :) Thanks for your help on this.

    • kblover profile image

      Brian McDowell 8 years ago from USA

      I'm getting data from all my hubs and my profile. I'm not sure why it works, but it seems to. I mean, my profile has 224 views, but that ID wasn't the only one I used and you can see that I have all of them receiving data by Google.

      Maybe hubpages already puts the code in or something, I have no idea! :)

    • shibashake profile image

      shibashake 8 years ago

      Hey KB - Thanks for writing this useful step-by-step.

      The only issue is that if you replace your affiliate settings on HubPages with the new ID, I think you will no longer be collecting information on all your hubs during that time. Rather you will only be collecting information on that one hub that you created the new profile for.

      Is that the case for you? Or are you still getting information for all your hubs on the new profile?