Lesson Two: Housekeeping
In this lesson we show you one way to set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Walk you through how to check that Google is aware of your website (check it is indexed) and some other basic housekeeping that all websites should do.
Basic stuff but very important, hence we’ve called this second lesson SEO housekeeping.
Watch the next lesson: Lesson Three: Understanding Keywords
Hello and welcome to module one, lesson two, housekeeping.
In this lesson, I’m going to cover a few basics that we need to make sure that are in place and set up correctly. Firstly, Google Analytics. This tool is completely free from Google and it’s absolutely vital, as it records traffic and tells us lots of really useful information that we need to be recording. So, very shortly, I’m going to walk you through how to check if it’s set up.
If it isn’t, we’re going to get a look at getting it set up and then we’re going to check that it is working. Okay.
Next, we’re going to do the same for another free Google tool called the search console. Now, this was formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools. I say, it’s completely free and it’s vital that we get this set up also as it tells us a lot of the more technical data, which will be needed later on in the course.
But, for now, we’re just going to look at getting it set up and make sure that it’s all working and recording your website’s data.
Once we have both of those tools installed, we’re going to do one final check which is to ensure that your website is indexed in Google and there isn’t any crawlability issues and that all of your content on your website is fully accessible by Google and other search engines. I’m going to hop over onto my computer right now and walk you through how to set up and check everything is working okay.
Okay, so the first thing we need to do is check if we have Google Analytics installed. Now, the quickest and easiest way to check this is to go to your website. I’m going to use this one as an example. Right click and view, page source. If you then hold down control and press f, you will get a search box that appears and, into here, you can just search for the word analytics. If you have Google Analytics installed, you’ll get a little snippet of code here.
Crucially, just cast your eye over and look for something that looks like this. It’s the actual tracking ID. If you can’t find anything or, if nothing is highlighted, one final check and look for tag manager. It’s an alternate way to instal the Google Analytics tracking code. Again, if nothing appears, then it’s quite likely you haven’t got it unless it’s installed. Likewise, if it does, very likely you have. That’s just one quick way to check.
Another way, and what we’ll do now is, if you go to analytics.google.com, that’s analytics.google.com, if you pop that straight into the URL bar, enter that, you’ll be presented with this screen. If it asks you to create an account, that means you haven’t got Analytics, haven’t got an Analytics account, and, therefore, you’re going to need to create one.
Follow the steps for signup and upon completion of the signup phase, you’ll be presented with a screen that looks like this, where it’s asking you to submit your business details and register your website for Analytics.
So, it’s very simple. I’ll walk you through how to do it. You enter in your account name, which we’ll just put as this client example. Website name, again, you’ll pop in your exact URL, choose whether you are an http or https. If you’re not sure about that, just go back to your website. If it says https, then that’s what it is.
If it doesn’t have any of this, and it just starts with www or simply your domain.com or .co or uk, then it means you’re not on https. So, you would just opt for http. Choose your industry. If it hasn’t, you can put other, if you can’t find what suits. Choose your country and you can leave these selected and then click on, get a tracking ID. If you have a few spare hours or you want some bedtime reading, you can read the Google Analytics terms of service. I’m going to skip past that and just accept.
You then get your Google Analytics script. This is the script that you need to paste into the header of your website. Now, if you have a web developer, I would advise that you get them to do it. If you do the website yourself, then you can … it depends on your CMS.
If it’s WordPress or something that’s quite popular, there’s all sorts of ways in which you can do it. You can instal plugins that do it, you can pop it in yourself. Some CMS systems will just have a box where you can just, it says, put the Analytics code here, so, it shouldn’t be too difficult. If you do get into trouble or if you’re not sure, again, just send me an email to [email protected] and I’ll gladly give you a hand. Once you get this Analytics code in, it generally takes, it says it can take up to 24 to 48 hours for it to get in and start recording data.
Often, it’s a lot quicker than that and it will start recording all the traffic to your website going forward. It doesn’t, obviously, work retrospectively, so just from today onwards, it will begin recording your traffic. And, as we know, recording traffic is vital and, all the other details that we’ll glean from Analytics will be invaluable as we work through the rest of the course.
Once you have Analytics installed, you will … when you go back to analytics.google.com, which I recommend you bookmark and save because you will be going back there quite regularly. Once you come back here, you will see something that looks similar to this and when you click into the web property, you’ll be greeted with a graph and all sorts of options, which we will be looking into more depth as we go through the course. But, for now, we just need to make sure it’s set up, it’s recording the traffic, and we can then use that information moving forward.
Next, we need to look at and installing Google’s search console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools. Now, this is a very powerful tool, but it’s often something that gets completely overlooked. So, I want to ensure that you have it installed and that it’s recording the data accurately. So, if we hop onto Google and look at google.com/webmasters/tools, this exact URL.
Pop this in google.com/webmasters/tools. You want to ensure that you’re signed into the same account that you either previously had Analytics access or, the Analytics that we’ve just set up. Make sure you’re still signed in to that same Google account.
If you enter that, you should see a list of URL’s that look very similar or, you should see your website, should I say, listed here. If you don’t, you’ll be prompted to add your first web property. All you need to do for this step is to add in your website’s URL, click add, and then you’ll be given options to verify ownership of this domain.
Now, if you have just installed Analytics or if you have Analytics set up on your website, there’ll be a checkbox where you can say use Analytics to verify ownership. Check that, click verify and it will give you the congratulations message.
There are other options as well, you can upload an HTML file, you can upload a meta tag. Again, if you run into difficulties or, you’re not sure what to do, speak to the web developer or whoever helps maintain your website and, as a last resort, if you still can’t get anywhere with it and you’re not sure, by all means, just send me an email to [email protected] Once you have this installed, and I should say actually you need to make sure that you instal both variants of your website.
By this, I mean you’ll notice that some websites will appear with a www.websitename.com or .co, or uk. Others will be without the www, so, for your website, regardless of which you use, make sure that you put both of … and effectively can add two versions of the same website. So, you’re going to add website.co or uk and then you’re going to add www.website.co or uk.
Once you add them both in, it will take two or three weeks for Google to start collating and recording all of the technical data that can be found within the search console. Once you have that, it will start to look like this. You’ll start to get data graphs, all the stuff that we’ll be covering and looking at in more detail later in the course. But, for now, we just need to make sure that it is set up and that Google is going out and crawling and bringing back all this really useful data.
And, there’s one final check which I wanted to do and that is to make sure that there isn’t any crawlability issues with your website. It’s a very simple and quick way to do this. And if you, I’m going to use this client’s website as an example.
So, if you go onto your website, copy your URL, hop back onto Google and simply put it in site, colon, your web site name. No spaces or anything like that. If you just simply enter that, what we’re looking for here is to just check that all your website pages are being indexed and are crawlable by Google.
So, this is absolutely fine. If you see a load of URL’s, whether you have ten pages or a hundred pages on your website, what we’re looking for, it’s just a whole bunch of results that look like this. This is fantastic. What you don’t want to be seeing and, we’ll need to address if you are seeing it, is if there is any message here says, Google is unable to crawl your website or if you simply get no results at all, or if it says that … sometimes, it will come up with an error saying, robots.txt is blocking access to your website or one of a hundred different error messages.
If you get anything like that, send me an email to [email protected] I’ll investigate it and I’ll come back to you with exactly why it’s happening, how we can fix it.
It’s a really quick two minute check, but we can just ensure that your website is in Google and so that the improvements we’re going to make over the next few lessons and modules, everything will stand the best chance of getting your website to the top of Google.
So, those are just a few things that we’ve covered, that are the basics to make sure that everything is as it needs to be, and, your housekeeping is done. And, as we move forward into lesson three, we’re going to be looking at researching and understanding keywords. I’ll look forward to seeing you there.