In part 1 of looking at Google Analytics (GA), we covered why it’s important, and how to get it set up and running on your website. This time around, we’re going to dig into the Google Search Console (GSC), get it connected to your Google Analytics account, and point out a couple of important things that it does.
Why Utilize Google Search Console?
Google Analytics is all about the stats. Where are people coming from and how are they interacting on your site? GSC shows you the technical side of what Google sees. If there are errors, they will show here. It’s where you submit your sitemap to Google (we’ll show you how). And it’s the place where you can see your website the way that Google does. It’s free, so let’s get started!
Setting up your Search Console Account
Start by going to the Search Console landing page and log in with the email address you used to set up your GA account.
The first thing you need to do is add your website “property”.
- Choose the “URL-prefix” and enter the URL of your website including the https://
- Verify the ownership of your property.
- IF you’ve got Google Analytics running, you can verify using your GA account. This is the easiest, most non-technical way to do it.
- If you can’t verify via your GA account, adding a meta tag to your home page is the next easiest way. Most themes have a place in the theme options where you can add custom code to the header. You’d copy the code given and paste it into that spot on your theme options (save and clear cache).
- The 3rd way is to download the HTML file they give you and upload it to your server. A bit geeky if you’re not familiar with managing files on your server. (If you’d rather see the dentist than talk to your webmaster, reach out to us, we’ll help get the file in place at no charge.)
Connecting the Search Console with Google Analytics
Before we take a look at what you can/should do in GSC, let’s get your new property connected with your GA account.
Go to Google Analytics. Your site information should automatically load with the main Home screen. On the bottom left, click on the Admin link (with the gear box).
Under the Properties section (2nd column), click on Property Settings. Toward the bottom of the Property Settings you’ll see the Search Console section.
Click the “Adjust Search Console” button. On the screen that loads, click the blue “Add” link. The search console screen will load and show you any available properties. Click the radio button and click Save. This is where it gets kind of confusing b/c the screen will open into the full GSC page.
Now go back to your Analytics page (The GSC page will open in a new tab) and reload the page. Your property should be showing. Click on Save. You’ll be taken back to the main Properties Settings page.
A Look at the Basics of Search Console
Submitting your sitemap
The most important part of GSC is being able to submit your sitemap to Google. This doesn’t equal a first page ranking, but you’re letting Google know you’re there.
Step 1 — Log in to the admin area of your website and go to your SEO plugin. If you’re using YoastSEO, go to: SEO > General > Features and Click on the “?” by Sitemap. It will show you the link to your sitemap. Copy everything after your .com/
Step 2 — Go to your main dashboard on the Search Console. On the left side you’ll see “Sitemaps”. Click into that and at the top you’ll see where to paste what you just copied from your YoastSEO settings. Click Submit. Unless it shows an error, you’re done.
Using Search Console with GA
Like GA, once you set up your GSC account, you’ll want to give it time to start collecting data. Give it a month or so. Then you can check in to see the pages that Google has added to its index. Google will crawl your site, but may not immediately index all the pages. You want to watch for pages that it can’t index for some reason.
There’s a lot more that the Search Console can do, we’ve just covered the bare bones basics. To dive in deeper, take advantage of the training that Google provides.
Your Online Partner… for Success
As always, if you have any questions or need some geek translated for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to turn the geek into English and take care of you online!