Adding Google Search Console to Google Analytics

#2 in the Series

Previous Article: Setting up Google Analytics Using Google Tag Manager

Google Search Console

As part of a comprehensive digital marketing measurement package, Google Search Console provides invaluable information on actual user searches that resulted in traffic to your website. This information comes straight from Google and can be found in the Google Search Console dashboard in the Search Query report. (Note: Google Search Console was formerly known as Google Webmaster). In addition to viewing the search terms, the data also includes the impressions for your website for these search terms and the resulting click through rate (CTR).

To view this data, first you must have Search Console set up, then log in, then select the report. There is a more convenient way to access this data. But we are getting slightly ahead of things. First, you need a free Google Search Console property set up.

Set Up Google Search Console

We are assuming you already have a Google account and a Google Analytics account. You will need to be logged into your Google account. Then go to:

https://search.google.com/search-console/welcome

Create your Google Search Console account. Make sure you use the same protocol (http:// or https://) and include or exclude the www from the settings depending on how your website is set to display. For example, if the URL of your website is normally displayed as https://example.com then be sure to use https:// and be sure to exclude www.

The most difficult part of setting up a Google Search Console property is performing the verification step. We suggest you read the Google documentation on this.

Link Google Search Console to Google Analytics

Once your Google Search Console property is properly set up and verified, it can be added to your Google Analytics account. Sign in to your Google Analytics account and click the Admin gear icon in the lower left to bring up the dashboard.

On the following page, click the menu link for Adjust Search Console

On the following page click the Add link. Because you are logged into your Google account which was used to set up both the Google Analytics account and the Search Console Property, a list of website properties will appear. If you are only working with one website, then only that property will appear. Select the website property and click Save then OK to Add association. this will resolve to that property in Google Search Console, leaving Google Analytics open in a previous tab. Click back to Google Analytics and click the Done button. To confirm that the association has been set up properly, from the Google Analytics dashboard, refresh the page. Then click the Adjust Search Console button again and you should see your Google Search Console property.

Search Console Data in Google Analytics

It may take up to 24 hours for Google Search Console data to be available in Google Analytics. To check for the data, in Google Analytics, click Acquisition – Search Console – Queries. This will provide you a view to the same data that is reported in Search Console, but much more conveniently in the same reporting tool as the rest of your analytics data.

Setting Up Google Analytics Using Google Tag Manager

Using Google Analytics for Reporting and Quality Control

#1 in series

We have said this numerous times, Google Analytics is by far the best free source of website user statistics you could possibly hope to use.  Google Analytics will provide you data on how website visitors arrived on your website (source), important classification on who they are (audience), and what they are doing on your site (behaviours).  This is not information that can be used to individually identify a user, that’s typically not even valuable information for marketing, but data you can spin and analyze to learn what digital marketing activities are actually working.  But let’s not get too far ahead.  Let’s begin by getting the tools in place.  The tools we strongly recomend putting in place for any website, new or existing are Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Tag Manager.

Creating your Google Analytics Account

Before you can set up a free Google Analytics account, you first need a free Google account.  Simply go to Google.com, or Google.ca in Canada, Click the Sign In button in the top right and then click Create a Google Account.  If you already have a Google Account, just Sign In with your account.  For new accounts there is typically a verification process, such as an email sent to the email account you provide or to the mobile phone you specify.

Once you have your Google Account, you will use the same account to set up all the tools we have listed above and described below.  It is always best that the email / Google Account used to set up the tools belongs to the business owner, or the website owner.  These are your account properties, you should own them.

Once you are logged into the Google Account you own, it’s time to get your Google Analytics account.  Click the following link to get started:

https://analytics.google.com/

You will need to name the account.  This does not need to be the name of the website.  Most often it will be your business name, but you can name the account anything you want.  Leave the Account Data Sharing Settings as they are, checked.  Click Next.  Click on Web for what you want to measure.  Click Next.  For Property details, provide the name of your website and then your website URL.  Make sure you properly indicate if your website is https:// or http://.  The industry category is only for Google’s own classification so choose something as close as possible to your industry.  Setting the time zone is important as this will determine the start/end times of each day for the data being recorded.  In most cases, choose the time zone of your head office.

When you click next, Google will generate a Google Analytics account id that will look something like UA-12345678-1.  Copy this ID or keep the browser window open.  You may also see some instructions on how to install the analytics code on your website.  Ignore this for now as we recommend that you use Google Tag Manager for this which we describe below.

Setting up Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager

Once you have your Google Analytics account ID, now we need to get it so that it begins to record data from your website.  Google Analytics receives a variety of data from the data layer (produced by your website server) and can store this for future analysis.  Each time a webpage on your site loads, new data is produced.  We recommend using Google Tag Manager as the means of placing the Google Analytics code on your website. 

So first we need to get Tag Manager.  While still logged into the same Google Account as above, go to:

https://tagmanager.google.com

Follow the steps to crate a Tag Manager account and a Container Setup.  For the container name we recommend using your website domain to make it easy to identify if you should end up with multiple containers.  Click Web for the Target platform and click Create.  You will receive confirmation that a Tag Manager container has been set up and instructions on placing the Tag Manager snippet code on your website.  The Tag Manager container will have an ID such as: GTM-AB1CD2E. 

We will need to do some basic set up to tell the Tag Manager container how to send tracking data to your Google Analytics account.  Click on Workspace.  Then Click Variables.  Scroll down to User-Defined Variables and Click New.  Rename your new variable (top left) from Untitled Variable to Google Analytics ID.  Click in the Variable Configuration box, scroll down and select Constant as the Variable Type.  Enter the Google Analytics ID from above in the format UA-12345678-1 and then Click Save.  In the left hand navigation menu, click Tags, click New, rename the Tag from Untitled Tag to GA Page Views.  Click Tag Configuration then select Google Analytics Universal Analytics.  Click the box for Enable overriding settings in this tag, enter {{Google Analytics ID}} in the box.  Scroll down and click the Triggering box.  Click on All Pages.  Click Save.

Up near the top right corner, click the Submit button.  Give it a Version name such as your initials and the date and for Version description enter Initial Google Analytics set up.  Then click Publish.  You now have a Google Tag Manager container that is ready to send page view data to your Google Analytics Account.  Now we just need to have the Google Tag Manager snippet added to your website.

Add Tag Manager Snippet to Your Website

If you have a custom html website, you will need to have your webmaster or web programmer add the Tag Manager snippet code.  The details for how/where to add the snippets (there are actually 2 snippets) can be found within Tag Manager by clicking the Admin link and then the Install Google Tag Manager link.  This will provide the two code snippets.

For a WordPress site, we recommend installing a Tag Manager plug-in.  The plug-in we have found to be reliable is Google Tag Manager for WordPress.  Once the plug-in has been installed, all that is required is to provide the Google Tag Manager container ID in the format GTM-AB1CD2E.

For other Content Management Systems, such as Squarespace or Wix, we recommend you check their user documentation as they have been updated several times in recent months.  The functionality to simply  insert the Google Tag Manager container ID may already be in place.

The Rise of Voice Search

Voice Search is Trending Up

As we as consumers seek more and more convenience and instant response, often we opt to rely on the more convenient source of information available as the authority source.  When using voice enabled devices such as mobile phones and internet enabled virtual devices, we interact as if we are having a conversation with a real person.  The conversation is like a Q&A interview and most often the answers are a single result, the result the device (the search algorithm behind the device) determines as the single best response.   The conversation is the key distinction in how these devices are changing the way in which marketers need to think to about their website content and how to capitalize on the rise of devices that act like mobile.

See Siri Told Me to Call You and Internet Devices that Act Like Mobile for the first two articles in this 3 part series.

Implications for Digital Marketers

If the method of search is different, meaning the search query is different, this in turn means there is an opportunity for digital marketers to offer up content that is more appealing to the search.  As mentioned above, the interaction with the device is more conversational and the request for information is typically a question, as compared to the common keyboard search phrase of several words.  This suggests that matching content will be best suited as an answer to that question, with the question contained in the answer.  As a digital marketer, the challenge will be to identify the questions that your website should be positioned to answer.  Hint: Some of these questions are already found in your Google Analytics data.

A New Search Scenario

Imagine it’s the weekend and a group of adventurous friends are gathered at one friends house, reliving past adventures, and planning for their next.  Dave calls out, “Hey Google, what is the top rated outdoor adventure company in Saskatchewan?’  Google answers, “ABC Outfitters has a Google rating of 4.9 and is located in Anywhere, Saskatchewan.” Dave replies, “Hey Google, call ABC Outfitters.”

Here are a few important points about this scenario.  First, it’s already happening.  Second, the search query, the question, was answered with a single response.  There were no alternatives.  Third, the action lead directly to a contact with the outfitter.  Lastly, the searcher never actually touched or viewed the website.

Beyond Mobile Friendly

For digital marketers, we need to start to think beyond just mobile friendly website design (responsive websites) to also consider mobile friendly and voice search friendly content.  A mobile friendly website is a must, otherwise you are losing positions in the Google mobile index, which is now searched more often than desktop.  But this is now just step one.

Using the free combination of Google Search Console and Google Analytics, we can dig into the history of searches that brought visitors to our website and determine which are more qualified and use this to optimize for more search traffic of this type.  That means an investment in time, and investment in data, an investment in analytics.

New WordPress Website for Northern Boreal Trophy Hunts

A new WordPress Website for Northern Boreal Trophy Hunts has just been launched.  This is another in a fairly steady stream of hunting and fishing outfitter websites we have built over the years.

See More in our Portfolio.

UEBC – WordPress Responsive Site

The new Urban Equities Business Centre website has just been launched.  This is a relaunch of the KD Group Canada website after a re-focus of their business operations in Saskatoon.  See more in the Portfolio.

California High School Rodeo Association uses Rodeo Management System

The California High School Rodeo Association has just come on board using the Rodeo Management SystemTM (RMS) supplied by Netnotic Marketing Inc.

The California High School Rodeo Association secretary was referred by another customer who was using the RMS through the summer Northern California Junior Rodeo season. They have signed up the District 3 association with rodeos running from September through May.  There are two divisions, High School and Junior High School, both of which are now taking advantage of the Rodeo Management System to handle rodeo schedules, rodeo entries, member databases, rodeo draw generation, results and payout calculations, standings, and custom reporting.

As with each Rodeo Association, there were a few unique requirements to the California High School Rodeo Association.  We have worked quickly to build these requirements into standard features and improvements such that the RMS is now better suited to handle additional High School Rodeo Associations across the U.S.A. and Canada.

2017 has been a tremendous year of growth for the Rodeo Management System, with new customers and new enhancements that suggest more great things to come in the last quarter of 2017 and into 2018.

Rodeo Management adds the FCA

Fresh on the heels of adding the NCJRA to our growing list of Rodeo Management SystemTM clients, we have added the Foothills Cowboy Association.

While just coming off the peak of the workload of a rush implementation for the NCJRA, we received confirmation from the FCA that they were now ready to go and asked “How soon can we be ready?”.  Given that they were already 3 rodeos into the season, we knew we needed to pull up our boots and roll up our sleeves to get them ready as soon as possible.  Like every rodeo association we have worked with, there were a number of special features needed.  From the way they charge out their fees to the way they calculate their payouts, there was a moderately sized list of customization’s that we tackled quickly to get them up and running.

We are used to custom requirements, in fact we built the Rodeo Management SystemTM with the ability to add rodeo association specific rules and routines.  What was most interesting about the FCA was that they had already completed 3 of the 2017 season rodeos so the implementation was to be in-season and we needed to get prior rodeo data imported as well so that season standings, payouts, and more cold be determined.  In order to qualify for rodeo finals, rodeo contestants need to participate in a certain percentage of events through the season and accumulate enough points through placing in those events.  So we built a few import routines and rapid data entry methods to speed up the process.

We are now mid season with the FCA and running nicely with the RMS.  As we are happy to report with each and every customer who joins, the FCA has a number of enhancements that they have indicate will make the RMS even more valuable to them, which then become available, and more valuable, to all RMS customers.  These customization’s include special financial reports and/or features that make data management more efficient.

We are happy to oblige knowing that each feature added, each improvement, makes for a better Rodeo Management SystemTM.

Rodeo Management adds NCJRA

We are thrilled to announce that we have added the Northern California Junior Rodeo Association to the growing list of clients for our Rodeo Management SystemTM. Bringing on this client has been a phenomenal experience and because a Junior Rodeo association operates somewhat differently we had a number of new customized features to add based on their requirements. But the fun part was the timing. We received the call on Thursday, “Can we be ready for our next rodeo, Saturday?”. Without hesitation we answered “Yes”. Then working frantically over the next 48 hours on both ends, custom programming by us and data entry by the NCJRA, we were able to display the rodeo draw and enter/post results by the weekend.  The extensive use of data imports was a huge asset to upload the member list and much of the data for their list of entrants into events.

The list of new features was extensive.  From events that are scored in non-standard ways to events involving Junior and Senior members, we built a number of subroutines and enhancements that are now available for our other associations to benefit from.  In addition to the ‘essential’ customized features that were added, the perspectives coming from new clients have also offered up suggestions for new notification enhancements that we have on the drawing board for later this season.

The NCJRA is using the full suite of features from RMS, including online entry, payments via PayPal, the Draw Generation Engine, payout calculations, full public display of schedules, draws, results, and standings, full membership management, plus all the back end admin reports.

One of the more interesting enhancements was the addition of the new Day All-Around Standings which is a points based system specific to the rodeo date (or weekend) that ranks competitors within Senior Boys, Senior Girls, Junior Boys and Junior Girls based on accumulated points across all qualifying events.

With each new client, we uncover a new set of requirements and their ‘way of doing things’ that improves the value, power and flexibility of the Rodeo Management SystemTM.

 

Powerful.Flexible.Automated

Saskatchewan Mobile First Website Data

The Saskatchewan internet and search landscape is shifting to mobile devices.  We have compiled a study of Saskatchewan based websites and the comparison of traffic (user sessions) access the websites by desktop or by mobile device.  The websites used in this study form a cross section of industries, company size, and is split between B2C and B2B marketers.

Definition of Mobile Device

When we did our comparisons, we treated tablets as desktop computing devices.  Our rationale is that the manner in which tablets are used plus the display size tend more towards a desktop computer than a mobile device, that is, a smart phone.  From our own anecdotal observations plus those reported in numerous other publications, tablets tend to be mobile around the house or around the office.  They are an extension of the desktop browsing experience, chosen more for form factor than for true mobile capabilities.  As a result, our numbers for mobile then may be somewhat understated as compared to other reports which may lump tablets and smart phones together as mobile*.


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Complete the form and we will schedule a review.

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Business to Consumer Mobile First Website Data

The overall ratio of mobile internet access to desktop in the B2C companies studied was 41% mobile to 59% desktop*.  Some company websites reached as high as 61% and 59% of all traffic from mobile phones.  For these companies, a Mobile First strategy is imperative as otherwise they risk exposing over 1/2 of their user base to a poor user experience.

SK B2C websites mobile vs desktop

 

Business to Business Mobile First Website Data

Surprisingly, the overall ratio of mobile internet access to desktop in the B2B companies studied was also 41% mobile to 59% desktop*.  (I had secretly hoped there would be a sizeable difference in the stats.)  One company website reached as high as 78% all traffic from mobile phones while several others were extremely balanced at 50% to 50%.

 

SK B2B websites mobile vs desktop

 

Saskatchewan Mobile First Compared to the Rest of the World

It was reported that in November of 2016, the world reached the tipping point of greater than 50% of internet use by mobile as compared to desktop.

* If tablets were included with smart phones in the mobile category, then the percentages of total mobile to total desktop would be 44% to 56% for B2C and 43% to 57% for B2B.

Why Use WordPress? Plug-Ins!

We Love WordPress

WordPress is a tremendous website publishing platform for our customers.  For customers who are only moderately computer literate, managing content such as pages, blog posts and images is straightforward and can be handled without a web programmer, a big cost savings for many customers.  On top of being an easy to use content management system, WordPress offers thousands of third-party plug-ins that extend and enhance the capabilities of WordPress.

WordPress Plug-Ins

Another reason why WordPress is a great website publishing tool are the thousands of plug-ins available.  Plug-Ins are additional blocks of code that have typically been built by programmers to solve a specific problem that website developers face.  The plug-ins range from simple image gallery display systems to extremely complex e-commerce systems.  Many plug-ins are free, some offer a paid premium option for even more functionality.  Some plug-ins are only available as a paid option.


Get a Free Digital Marketing Consultation!

Complete the form and we will schedule a review.

All initial consultations are no charge with no future commitment.

If you are loading up a plug-in, and it has a free option and a paid premium option, I recommend that in most circumstance, choose the paid premium options.  Most premium options are $50 or less and the price will be well worth it.  Often plug-ins are distributed free, and users are simply asked to donate to the author.  You are not required to donate to use the plug-in, but please consider sending them $15 to $20.  It’s a small price to pay for a block of code that would likely take weeks or months to develop.

Plug-Ins Add Functionality

WordPress themes can offer a wide range of designs, layouts and functionality.  Where the theme code leaves off, plug-ins add that enhanced functionality that may not be built into the theme.  For example, I have often found a nice, simple theme that has the layout and look I want, but is short on features such as a built-in slideshow or user registration system.  Load up the right plug-in and now both are taken care of.

Plug-In Updates

Stay on top of your WordPress plug-ins but updating them when you are notified of new versions.  When you log in to your WordPress dashboard, if updates are available, you will see a red number next to the Plugins menu item.

wordpress-plugin-updates

Plugin updates are often to repair minor bugs, add new features, or enhance your website’s security.