Google Analytics question

From: John S. James
Sent on: Saturday, November 9, 2013 9:25 PM
I'm a beginner in Google Analytics, and want to know if something I would like to do is possible -- and if not, is it possible to do part of it in HTML5?

The context is that I've written a site about tuberculosis treatment research leads, Since most TB is in poor countries where online access is often limited, I made the site be a single page of text. In seconds the whole site downloads (regardless of what hardware and software the readers are using), and people can then read and share the site offline. (Incidentally, I was surprised to learn that many TB physicians don't follow research closely and have never heard of some of these new possibilities, which have come to light recently -- and would use standard, available drugs. Since TB still kills over 3,000 people every day, patients and policy people may want to get involved,)

My page has more than 40 technical references -- for readers who do have online access, but who seldom have paywall access. I want a click on a reference in the text to take the user immediately to the best information available without paywalls -- full text if possible, usually an abstract if not. To make the interaction as clean and streamlined as possible, I'd rather not require an extra click, like the Wikipedia articles that take the user to a References section, from which they can then click again to get to the article. Also, the full list of 40+ references is intimidating to non-professionals. (I'll probably change the reference format from a number such as '19' to author and year 'Gupta, 2013', to show the article's recency.)

The problem as I understand it is that Google Analytics does not receive any information when the user exits a page (to link to one of the scientific articles, for instance) -- unless the exit is to a page on the same site, in which case Google Analytics knows that that page has been entered. Am I correct in assuming that Google Analytics is informed that the page has been re-entered, if a user clicks on a relative link into the same page?

So my main question is: Is there any way that I can construct a link (to each scientific article) so that I can learn that the user has clicked on it, without complicating the user's interaction?  For example, could the link go to an invisible location on the (single) page of my site (notifying Google Analytics, by re-entering the page) -- and from there, automatically link out to the referenced original article, without needing a second click by the user? The added relative link would be fast, and unlikely to cause enough delay for the user to notice. If the user is not online, then of course the link will not work at all. But for users who are online, this machinery would have to work with almost all standard browsers, phones, etc.

If that isn't workable, a less ideal way would be for the relative link to take some other action to notify me eventually, so that I could at least tell which links are most interesting to the site's users (even if breakdowns by country, etc. are lost).

Any help appreciated,


John S. James

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