Tracking stats is an important part of growing your online business. You need to see all the important data collected about your site in order to see what is working and to adjust your strategy accordingly.
If you haven’t already set up Google Analytics on your website and connected it with your Google Search Console, you should take a moment and set it up with this guide.
Both of these tools are free to use and [fairly] easy to install.
If you already have Google Analytics, make sure you have also connected it to Google Search Console. Doing this will give you even more stats in a friendly interface.
How to Set Up Google Analytics
Create an Account for Your Website
1. Go to google.com/analytics. Do one of the following:
- To create an account, click Start for free.
- To sign in to your account, Click Sign in to Analytics.
2. Now you will create a new account. Enter the website name. Click Next.
3. Enter “What you want to measure” as Web. Click Next.
4. In Property Setup, fill in your website name, URL, industry, and time zone. Click Create.
Note: It is VERY important that you change the prefix of your website to match your actual URL. If you have a secured site (and you absolutely should), you must select HTTPS as the prefix.
You will now be in the Admin screen of your new account. From here you can do many things, but the first step is to get the tracking code and add it to your website.
Adding Google Analytics Tracking Code
1. Locate and copy the tracking code that you will place on your website. To do this, under the middle column “Property”, click Tracking Info > Tracking Code.
2. A box with the code will pop up. Copy the entire code.
3. Install the tracking ID on your site.
To do this, you can:
A. Add the code directly to the header (if you know how to edit the code). Or add to a header box that might be available in your theme. In my theme, Flatsome, there is a header box that can be found under Flatsome > Advanced > Global Settings.
B. Use a plugin like GA Google Analytics, which allows you to add just the tracking ID to a plugin. The plugin takes care of placing the code on every page in your site. I recommend this plugin over others because it also gives you a space to add additional code to your header or footer, and to alter the Google Analytics code, which may come in handy in the future.
4. Once the code is installed, return to the Admin section of your Google Analytics account and click “Send Test Traffic”. If the number changes from 0 to 1, then you’ve set it up properly.
How to Set Up Google Search Console
After setting up Google Analytics, set up Google Search Console. GSC gives a lot more data that isn’t available in Google Analytics, so you do need both.
1. Go to https://search.google.com/search-console/. Sign in with your Google account.
2. Click Add a New Property.
If you already have one account in GSC and you want to add a new one, click the dropdown in the upper left corner where your site name is. At the bottom of that list you can choose to add a new property.
3. You will now add the property
- You can add your entire domain and verify it with DNS, which is an easy way to verify. To do this, you must verify the domain via DNS. (See below for instructions)
- You then need to add your actual URL in order to connect GSC to GA. (You can also skip adding the domain and just add your actual property. This method offers various different ways to verify your account, so use this if you do not have access to your DNS.
- Click Continue.
Note: It is VERY important that you add the exact URL of the property you are using for your website. For instance, if your site is secure and using www, then it would be https://www.mynewwebsite.com. If your site does not use www, it would be https://mynewwebsite.com.
4. Next you will need to verify your property. There are a few ways to do this.
- Download the txt file and upload it to your website
- Add a metatag to your site’s homepage, which is the easiest of the methods
- Use Google Analytics (as long as your tracking code is in your site, this is super easy)
- Use Google Tag Manager
- Associate a DNS record with Google
The methods for verification change frequently, as do the steps required to verify, so we recommend checking Google’s official instructions for how to verify your account with the available methods.
Once the site has been verified, you can then proceed to connecting your Google Analytics account with your Google Search Console.
How to Connect Google Analytics to Google Search Console
1. Sign in to your Google Analytics account.
2. Make sure you are in the account for the property you wish to connect. It should say https://www.mynewwebsite.com in the upper left corner.
3. Click on Admin.
4. In the property column, click Property Settings.
5. Your site details will show up in the screen, under Property Settings (like below). Check that the Default URL is the one you are using. This is VERY IMPORTANT. It should be set to the exact URL you use. If your site is secure, it should have https. If you use www, it should be https://www. If you don’t use www, it should be https://mynewwebsite.com.
5. Scroll down to Search Console Settings. Click “Adjust Search Console”.
If you have not yet connected Google Analytics to Google Search Console, you should see an Add button, like below.
6. Click Add and you will now see the URL of your website, which confirms that the website has been verified and that you have permission to make changes. Select your web address and click save.
Note: Be absolutely sure you are selecting the current version of your website URL. If you use https, you must select the https version. Same for www. If you do not select the correct URL, the statistics will either not show up, or they will not be accurate.
If you do not see your website URL when you click add, you have not properly verified the property in GSC. Go back to the verification step.
Now, the Search Console Settings should display the correct URL of your site (like in the image below).
7. Once the search console is connected, you will have to wait until the data is populated. You can track its progress by navigating to Acquisition > Search Console > Queries. Once the data is visible in this screen, the two have property been connected.
If something didn’t go right and the connection you tried to establish between GA and GSC didn’t work properly, you’ll need to start troubleshooting the cause.
If they are not set up properly, you will likely see only 0s when you look up the statistics on Google Analytics, under Acquisitions > Search Console > Landing Pages. If will look like the image below:
If this is what you see, you may have not connected or verified the right properties.
Fixing the Problem
If your search console information inside of Google Analytics is showing all zeros, you likely haven’t connected them right.
Verify which version of your site you are currently using. Don’t just assume you know. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to blatantly show someone their URL is different than they thought it was.
To do this, open a new browser window. Pull up your website. Copy the URL from the address bar. Paste it into a notepad. This sounds convoluted, but now that Chrome no longer shows the prefix of your website in the browser bar, it might be necessary to see the full URL.
You can see in the image below that my URL appears to just be savoredjourneys.com in the browser bar, but is actually https://www when you paste it into notepad.
Open Google Search Console. In the upper left corner, you should see your URL. This should be the same URL you just copy and pasted into notepad above. If you have multiple sites, you may have to click the dropdown to see the correct URL.
If you do not see the correct version of your site in the top left dropdown, you need to add a new property for the correct URL and verify it.
Open Google Analytics. Click Admin > Property Settings > Search Console > Adjust Search Console. What is the site that is listed there? It must be the exact same URL as the property you verified in GSC.
If this URL is different than the one you pasted into notepad, then it is incorrect. For instance, if it’s http://www.sitename.com or https://sitename.com, then it is incorrect, in this case.
If it’s incorrect, disconnect and reconnect to the correct one.
It takes 2 days for data to be propagated into GA, so you will continue to see 0s for up to 2 days.
This solution fixes the problem in 99.9% of the cases I have come across.
If you could see the numbers in the past, but all of a sudden you can’t anymore, or the numbers have all flat-lined back to zero, then GA and GSC may have gotten disconnected somehow. I have no idea why this occurs, but you can fix it by reconnecting it with the instructions above.
Setting up Google Analytics and Google Search Console are an important step in setting up a blog. They provide free statistics that can help you in your efforts. It’s also very nice to have the stats all in one place inside of Google Analytics, so connecting them is ideal. It’s not a difficult task if you follow the steps and pay close attention to which property you are connecting.
Hopefully you’ve been able to successfully connect the two and within a few days you will be able to use all of the data.