Now that you’ve created your website and played around with some themes and plugins, it’s time to let Google know that you’re out there! This post is the third installment in a 4 part series on How To Build A Website. Part 3 focuses on how to connect a website to Google Analytics and Google Search Console! If you’re interested in jumping around, here’s what else is covered:
- Create A Website (Questions, Definitions, WordPress, SSL Certificate)
- Customize A Website (Themes, Plugins)
- Connect A Website to Google (Analytics, Search Console, Breadcrumbs, XML Sitemaps)
- Create A Post with Good SEO (Writing, Keywords, Yoast)
Connect A Website to Google Analytics
As mentioned in Part 2, Google Analytics is the internet’s official tracker for how many people visit your website per day.
Google Analytics is a free service that offers a ton of information about who visits your website. The most useful data on the Google Analytics homepage are Users per day, Referrals (where your visitors come from), and the list of Pages which visitors clicked on in your website. An interesting feature is the behavior tab which shows you how visitors navigate from page to page through your site.
You connect a website to Google Analytics by inserting a specific tracking code into the header of every post/page you want tracked. There are two ways to do this. Manually insert the specific code into every post/page or have the free plugin Monster Insights automatically do it for you. Use the plugin. If you deactivate the plugin, it will remove the code it added and disconnect your website from Google Analytics. Don’t deactivate this plugin!
Connecting a website to Google Analytics may require you to input some more information into your Siteground cPanel. If so, this is why you got Siteground. Start a live chat with them and say you need help connecting Google Analytics to your website. With their quick responding chat, you’ll have your issue resolved in under 30 minutes.
Connect A Website to Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another useful, free tool that gives you information about how visitors find your website. It also provides confirmation that Google is able to find your website. (Google calls this “indexing” your website). Click the “Start Now” button on the Google Search Console homepage and you should be provided the option to verify your website through Google Analytics. This is the quickest way to verify your website so be sure to set up your Google Analytics account first.
If you get a question about whether to register as a Domain or URL Prefix, select URL Prefix. Just trust me on this one.
Once you have access, the Performance tab provides the following information: Total Clicks, Total Impressions, Average CTR (Click Through Rate – Total Clicks / Total Impressions * 100%), Average Position
Total Clicks: Ignore this completely, Google Analytics tracks clicks more accurately.
Total Impressions: How many times a person sees your website in a Google search. Consider it how many opportunities somebody has to click on your website.
Average CTR – Ignore this, if clicks are not accurate then neither is CTR.
Average Position: Where your posts ranks for specific search terms. Remember about 10-11 posts end up on the first page of Google. The closer this number is to 1, the better.
As you scroll down the Overview tab, you’ll see graphs about breadcrumbs, sitelinks searchboxes and mobile usability (aka does your website load correctly on a phone). With this Siteground and WordPress.org set up, I have not had issues with either sitelinks searchboxes or mobile usability (if you do, a quick Google search will help). I have had my fair share of issues with breadcrumbs though.
How To Set Up Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs show the Internet and your users where a post is on your site. When looking at a post on Google, the breadcrumb is the part right above your title that shows path to your post.
Breadcrumb issues are usually due to both your theme and Yoast trying to do breadcrumbs at the same time and getting in each other’s way.
To avoid any breadcrumb errors on Google Search Console, go to Yoast “Search Appearance” and enable “Breadcrumbs.” Next, you need to disable breadcrumbs in your theme. On your WordPress Dashboard, go to “Appearance” > “Customize” and find the button in your theme’s settings for Disable “Breadcrumbs.” For my theme, it was found under “Theme Options” > “General Options.”
Having both enabled confuses Google. It is best to use the breadcrumbs provided by Yoast since the plugin is specifically focused on SEO.
Submit XML Sitemaps
Your Sitemaps are lists of pages and posts that you want Google to index (remember when a post is indexed by Google that means Google can find it). You can find your Sitemaps under the “General” tab on Yoast. You click on “Features” and then the “?” next to XML Sitemaps. From here, you can click on the link to open your Sitemaps.
Your Sitemaps will look something like this:
You should see links to two different Sitemaps – Posts and Pages. Remember when you were setting up Yoast and you said that you wanted Posts and Pages to be found by search engines but NOT Categories, Tags, and Authors. You would have 5 different Sitemaps if Categories, Tags and Authors was included.
To add XML Sitemaps to Google, copy and paste into the Google Search Console Sitemaps tab.
Google Analytics Versus Google Search Console
It’s annoying but Google Search Console data does not really line up with Google Analytics. For example, Google Search Console will say that a certain post had a lot of impressions while Google Analytics will say a totally different post had the most clicks. When in doubt, trust Google Analytics for your accurate site data. Google Search Console is most useful for trending your daily or monthly impressions and A/B testing which keywords are most effective.
There you have it, How To Connect A Website to Google! For Part 4 – How To Create A Post with Good SEO, click here!