Have you ever noticed the section in Google Analytics residing under Acquisition called Search Engine Optimization?
If you have and never taken action, you are missing out on valuable data directly inside Google Analytics. For those of you that doesn’t know what Google Webmaster Tools are, here’s a quick rundown.
- It will give you valuable data in term of what queries your site/pages are visible on in Google’s result pages.
- Not only does it show what queries you’re visible on but also what pages that are shown in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
- It will indicate changes compared to previous period, so that you know if you are going in the right direction or not.
- And of course, many other things (which I’ll cover in an upcoming post).
Sounds interesting to have this data available to you in Google Analytics? Great, read on!
How it looks in GA when its not connected to WMT
If you log into Google Analytics and navigate to Search Engine Optimization found under Acquisition (and click e.g. on Queries), this is what you will be presented with.
Since this domain is still in its infancy I haven’t set this up yet, which I will do now and guide you through it. Start by clicking on that button up top that says Set up Webmaster Tools data sharing to start with. That one was pretty obvious, huh?
You will then be redirected to the Property Settings for your current Property in Google Analytics. Make sure that this is the domain you want to add Webmaster Tools for.
If you scroll all the way down you’ll find the Webmaster Tools Settings section, where it should say ‘none’ if you don’t have any connections going.
Click on Edit.
Since you don’t have this domain set up in Webmaster Tools prior, you need to Add a site to Webmaster Tools by clicking on the button indicated above.
Note: In order for this to work, you must have Administrator Privileges on the account in Google Analytics or be able to edit the actual HTML file(s) or have FTP access in order to get this working smoothly.
Upon arriving in Webmaster Tools, click that big red button in the upper right corner that says Add Site and you will be presented with an input box (above) where you should enter the domain for which you want to access. Make sure to use the exact domain name you are using here.
Google Webmaster Tools will make a difference between the following two.
It is not good if your site responds on both these versions and you should make sure to correct that as soon as possible.
In my case, I’ll type in ‘dcarlbom.com’ since this is the domain I want to access.
The recommended approach to verify your domain is to use your Google Analytics account, and a requirement for that is that you are using the standard implementation of Google Analytics on your site with the tracking code placed within the <head> section of the page.
If that how you’ve implemented Google Analytics, just follow those instructions. Since I’m not using the standard implementation on this site I need to look at the alternatives.
Since I am using Google Tag Manager on this site that’s how I’ll verify the ownership. This verification method, to verify Webmaster Tools via Google Tag Manager that is, is rather new.
Before, you had to upload a file to the web server or insert a meta tag on the page (both which are still very valid options). I don’t ever think I’ve seen an implementation done with the Domain Name Provider, changing an entry in the DNS to be honest.
So, click on Google Tag Manager and then click in the Verify button and voilá, you’re done with this step!
You will now have full access to the data for your site in Google Webmaster Tools, which is a gold mine for anyone working with a site. I’ll go through the different aspects of WMT in an upcoming series here so stay tuned.
Accessing Webmaster Tools data in Google Analytics
If you still have the tab open where you have to select the account to link your Google Analytics account with, just refresh that page and select the domain in the list.
If you don’t have that tab open any longer, just go back into Google Analytics under Acquisition -> Search Engine Optimization -> Queries and click on the “Set up Webmaster Tools data sharing” again.
You can just as easily go to the Admin tab in Google Analytics and navigate to the Property Settings and you’ll find what you need at the end of the page.
Select your domain and click on Save.
Click next on “OK” in the following popup regarding adding association if you see it.
Going back to Google Analytics and the Queries report under Acquisition -> Search Engine Optimization you’ll now have some of the most important data right under your nose without having to go into Webmaster Tools every time.
This still being a very new site, but at least it gives me a couple of ideas of some issues at hand. But as stated above I will run a series about Webmaster Tools data from an SEO point of view in the near future.
The report above is just the tip of the iceberg!