Google offers a variety of free services that most site owners should consider integrating with their sites and with the Site Kit plugin, getting started couldn’t be easier.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (https://search.google.com/search-console/about) is free and should be an essential tool for every site owner. After you get a free account, you can connect your site. Google will then display data about your site and its performance in search, including any issues that may be impacting your rankings. In some cases you may receive emails about some problems on your site.
As long as you have a Google account, you can now set up Search Console using the Site Kit by Google (https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-site-kit/) plugin. If necessary, register for a free Google account at https://accounts.google.com/signup.
Go to Add New under the Plugins menu and search for Site Kit by Google. Install and activate the plugin.
After activation, you should see a Site Kit box at the top of the screen. Click the Start Setup button.
On the next screen, click the Sign in with Google button, select your Google account and allow Site Kit to access your Google account.
You now need to run through a simple three step procedure. Click the Proceed button to let Google automatically verify your site for you.
Next you’ll need to click the Allow button to let your site access your Google Account data.
Finally you need to click the Add Site button to set your site up in Search Console. That should be it and you can click the Go to my Dashboard button.
You’ll now be returned to your site where you can now view data about your site from Search Console. For now there is no data to display, but you will see an overview on this page later.
When you are seeing data, at several places in this screen you will see links to Search Console and you can click any of these to go to your account to see all the available tools and data.
Also you can click the Search Console sub menu item in the admin menu and on that screen, once data is being displayed, there’s a prominent link to See full stats in Search Console.
Google Analytics is completely free and is a comprehensive service that can provide very rich insights into how your site is working and being used.
To get the most out of it, you will have to spend some time learning how all the different features work. Despite that, you can jump into it quite quickly and start to track headline figures.
Don’t let the learning curve put you off, this is one of those services that you really should add to your site right at the start. Even if you don’t expect to be looking at your analytics data for a year or two, add it to your site now so it can start collecting data. The data is what makes this a valuable tool and the sooner you integrate this, the sooner you start collecting data.
It used to be that you had to sign up for an Analytics account, add your site as a property and then manually add the tracking code to your site. We covered the method in the Adding 3rd party scripts section.
However, as you’ve now installed the Site Kit plugin, you can setup Analytics using that.
In the Site Kit panel, click on the Connect Service link in the Analytics box. If you’ve closed the panel, click on Settings under the Site Kit menu, then Connect More Services and click on Analytics.
Select your Google account on the next screen and click the Allow button on the next screen again. You’ll then be returned to your site.
If you’ve never used Analytics before, you’ll see a button to Create an Account. Click that to open Google Analytics in a new tab. Start the setup process and give enter an Account name. You can track multiple websites in an account, so you may want to select a generic name rather than your website.
Click Next select Web in the next screen and click Next. Fill in the Property details form, ensuring you set the Website URL to https:// if your site has an SSL certificate installed. For Industry Category, select Other if there doesn’t seem to be anything to match your site. Click the Create button.
You’ll need to accept any necessary terms and your new account will be created.
Now go back to your site and click the Re-fetch My Account link to load your new account.
The panel will reload and the controls should automatically select your new Account and Property, but select them if necessary. The View should be set to All Web Site Data. Now click the Configure Analytics button.
Before continuing, if you installed a page caching plugin, clear the whole cache.
Note that you won’t see any data immediately, but you’ll be able to get an overview of your Analytics data in your site once its available.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Site Kit lets us connect to one more useful service for keeping an eye on how our site is running in general. PageSpeed Insights shows useful information about a website’s performance for users.
In the Site Kit panel, click on the Connect Service link in the PageSpeed Insights box. If you’ve closed the panel, click on Settings under the Site Kit menu, then Connect More Services and click on PageSpeed Insights.
It should just take a few moments to connect the service and you can get a quick outline of your home page’s performance by scrolling down to the bottom of the Site Kit Dashboard page.
You can click the PageSpeed Insights link to go to page that shares more data about the performance and suggestions for improving speed. On that page you can also enter the URL of of other pages of your site and test those.