1

The Google devguide says the following:

To install the global tracking snippet, copy the following code and paste it immediately after the tag on every page of your site. Replace GA_TRACKING_ID with the tracking ID of the Google Analytics property to which you want to send data. You need only one global snippet per page.

https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/gtagjs/

In an ideal world where you can edit the HTML as you want this is not a problem of course. As soon as you are writing plugins for usage in many sites it IS a problem. WordPress for example. Each Theme has to support the wp_head() function to hook in. The output is before the closing head tag of each theme. As well as wp_footer() which is called right before the closing body tag.

Now I wonder if it may harm SEO if I put Google Analytics into the header just before the closing tag.

My code is like this:

function add_google_gtag_analytics() {

    // tagmanager
    wp_register_script(
        'google-gtag', // handle name referred to in the "wp_enqueue_script" call below
        'https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=' . $tracking_id, // location of your file
        false, // no dependencies
        '1.0', // version number
        true // if true, the script is placed before the  end tag
    );

    // google analytics
    wp_register_script(
        'google-analytics', // handle name referred to in the "wp_enqueue_script" call below
        plugins_url('js/google_analytics', __FILE__), // location of your file
        ['google-gtag'], // no dependencies
        '1.0', // version number
        true // if true, the script is placed before the  end tag
    );

    // pass analytics id variable
    wp_localize_script('google-analytics', 'CIS_ANALYTICS_TRACKING_ID', $tracking_id);

    // Enqueue the registered script file
    wp_enqueue_script('google-gtag');
    wp_enqueue_script('google-analytics');
}

add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', 'add_google_analytics', 100);

// ensure tag manager async
add_filter('script_loader_tag', 'cis_gtag_async', 10, 3);
function cis_gtag_async($tag, $handle, $src) {
    if ($handle !== 'google-gtag') {
        return $tag;
    }

    return "<script src='$src' async></script>";
}

The priority of 100 makes sure that it is the last script to be embedded in the header (see add_action() in WP docs). The result of the above code is basically:

<head>
<!-- lots of meta, scripts and style tags -->

    <!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->
    <script async src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=GA_TRACKING_ID"></script>
    <script>
      window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
      function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
      gtag('js', new Date());

      gtag('config', 'GA_TRACKING_ID');
    </script>
</head>
<body>

Does anybody know if this can harm tracking or SEO?

2

The ideal position is as High as possible, and reason for this is, that this scrip (GTM, Gtag etc) Needs to be loaded first due to gather all the information. I mean technically it is in the head, and will work as good as it should be. Only thing to worry about is that 0.001% times that happens that the site crashes or not load all the scripts on user side. So in general you will get pretty accurate tracking.

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