Google’s search engine is the most visited website online today, capturing nearly 95% of mobile traffic in the last year. Due to Google’s advanced search algorithms, users often find what they’re looking for without even clicking a search result.
Ensuring your website is optimized and consistently monitored for any changes that may impact the visibility of your site in search engines can be made easier by integrating tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
What are Google Analytics and Google Search Console?
Google Analytics tracks and reports website traffic. It is free to signup and by placing a tracking code on your website, you can learn more about the number of users who visited your site: how they found it, what pages they viewed, or how long they stayed on your website.
Analytical data shows you top sources of user traffic, such as organic, referral, direct, or via social media. You may also discover trends in website user engagement based on navigational patterns, and learn more about your customer demographics. All of this data can help business owners determine their marketing goals and investments.
💡Tip: If you decide you want to learn more about Google Analytics, make sure you are reviewing the latest generation: Google Analytics 4 (GA4). The previous generation, known as Universal Analytics (UA) stopped processing data on July 1, 2023.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console, previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, allows website administrators to monitor indexing status, crawling errors, and search queries. Rather than focusing on an audience like GA4, this tool notifies developers and website owners to any issues that the search engine has determined, allowing you to fix or track as needed. This can be invaluable to your website’s visibility in search engine result pages (SERP).
💡Tip: Familiarize yourself with basic Search Console usage for website owners by reading this help guide from Google.
You might be asking, is it important to have both accounts? Yes! You’ll want to gain insights from analytics to see how your website is performing over time, but you’ll also want to ensure you’re monitoring your website health and its ability to be indexed by search engines.
To get combined data from both sources, you’ll want to set-up and connect the two profiles. Follow the steps below to set-up, share access, and give permissions for Google Analytics and Search Console.
Set-up or sign-in to your Google account
There is a requirement of having a Google account to use Analytics and Search Console. So, if you need to, create an account, or, sign-in.
Create an Analytics account
You will need a Google Analytics account first, from there set up a property for your site, then add a data stream for inclusion on your website.
💡Tip: If an existing property already exists, you can be added to this account by the original Administrator. See below for more information on how to share access and give permissions for Google Analytics and Search Console.
- Go to https://analytics.google.com to create your account.
- Under the Admin headline, click Create, then select Account.
- Configure data settings, and click Next to add the property to your Analytics account.
- Back under the Admin section, click Create, then select Property.
- Fill out the property information and click Create.
- Under Admin > Data collection and modification, click Data Streams, and click Add stream.
- Select Web as your stream, enter the URL of your website, a Stream name, and enable enhanced measurement to collect page views and other events, then click Create stream.
Here you’ll need to set up data collection for your website, which involves adding some code to your website so that it can communicate back to Google with its data. You will be given several options:
- Add the tag to a website builder or CMS-hosted website
- Add the Google tag directly to your web pages
- Add your tag using Google Tag Manager
Depending on how your website was built, or your level of comfort in code and file systems, Google provides step-by-step instructions on each of these options. If you are a WordPress user, your theme or a plugin may provide a field to copy and paste your Data stream. Check out this support walkthrough from Google to guide your set up of data collection.
Once your Google Analytics code is on your website and properly reporting, data collection will take some time to start reporting in your new dashboard.
Create a Search Console account
Now you will need to add your site to Google Search Console, verifying that you own the website.
- Go to https://search.google.com/search-console to add your site.
- Select to add a domain property and enter your URL.
- Choose your verification method – selecting an option will provide you with appropriate instructions. To verify your site ownership with Search Console, read this tutorial from Google.
Search Console will let you know if everything is connected. If making changes to your web server or DNS records, it may take some time for the connection to validate.
Connecting Google Analytics and Search Console for integrated reporting
Now that both profiles have been created, you can connect your Google Analytics property with your Search Console property. You can do so from either of the two accounts.
By integrating both profiles, you’ll find reports for Google Organic Search Queries and Google Organic Search Traffic in your Google Analytics 4 property.
Link Search Console to your Analytics Account
- From your Google Analytics account, go to Admin
- Under Product links, click Search Console Links, then click Link
- A list of your Search Console accounts will come up, select the corresponding website you want to link your Analytics property to, click Confirm.
- On the next screen, select the web data stream for your site and review your settings to submit.
Link Analytics to your Search Console Account
- From your Google Search Console account, go to Settings
- Under General Settings, click Associations
- Select a Google Analytics 4 association and select your Analytics profile to confirm.
💡Tip: In addition to associating Analytics and Search Console accounts, you can also associate Google Ads accounts to ensure your tracking, data, and marketing efforts all coincide to report effectively.
How to share access and give permissions for Google Analytics and Search Console
In some cases, a Google Analytics and/or Search Console property may already exist for your website but you need to provide or gain access to these existing profiles. Two possibilities include:
- A previous web developer may have already set-up these tools but you have not been given Administrator or Editor access.
- You have set-up these tools for your website previously and are now hiring a third-party to support you with marketing or search engine optimization services, and they require access to reports, etc.
There are various roles with different permissions for all individuals who have access to Google tools and website profiles. A user with an Administrator role has full control over the account, including sharing and deletion protocols. An editor may be able to create new reports but cannot make administrative changes to the account. A viewer is allowed to view all data but unable to make any changes to the account, whatsoever.
Sharing access and permissions for Google Analytics
To share access to view your website data in Google Analytics, head on over to the Admin area that we know and love at this point.
- From the Admin screen in Google Analytics, select Property.
- In the drop down, select Property access management.
- Click the blue + button in the top right corner to add a new user.
- Enter the email address of the new user and select the role of permissions you wish to provide to them.
Sharing access and permissions for Search Console
What we love about the Admin area in Analytics, is what we love about the Settings area in Search Console.
- Select Settings.
- Under General Settings, select Users and permissions.
- Click the blue Add User button.
- Enter the email address and permissions to add the new user.
💡Tip: Remember that a Google account needs to be associated with the email addresses you add to provide access to Search Console.
Why is it important to have administrator or account ownership?
Google Analytics and Search Console can provide a lot of important data about your website traffic and you’ll want to retain access throughout the lifespan of your website, including or especially when making significant changes. If another company has created and set-up your account profiles, you’ll want to ensure that they give your email address the appropriate role and ownership so that you can have control over your account to add or remove users as needed.
Next steps after setting up Google Analytics and Search Console
Sit back and relax for a bit, because it’s going to take some time for the data to start rolling in on your website. Block some time each month to review both your Google Analytics and Search Console accounts.
Don’t fret over every email you receive from Search Console. The tool is meant to report on any issue that it comes across but it doesn’t mean that every issue is a make or break moment. Take a look, read the recommended help documents, and reach out if you have any questions.Organic search engine optimization takes time while technology is constantly evolving so if SEO is important to you, staying up to date on changes to SERPs, algorithms, and trends is imperative.