How to Use the Google Site Kit WordPress Plugin
Business owners and marketers alike have been able to take advantage of Google’s data analysis tools for some time. Gaining valuable audience information, traffic counts, keyword insights, and more about your website is easy – if you know how to navigate all the options.
Fortunately for WordPress users, connecting all of your Google analytics tools in one place is easy. The Google Site Kit plugin makes it easy to bring Analytics, Search Console, PageSpeed Insights, Optimize, Tag Manager and AdSense data right into your WordPress dashboard.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to Google Site Kit and its many advantages for WordPress users. We’ll also show you how to set the plugin up, and connect it to your Google account. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
What is Google Site Kit?
Google Site Kit is an official plugin for WordPress users:
Created by Google, this solution is streamlined to work seamlessly with the platform’s most insightful tools. This can help you create a one-stop-shop in your dashboard, for immediate access to the data that matters most.
Connecting Google Tools and Services to WordPress
Google’s suite of webmaster tools covers everything from online advertising to website speed and optimization. While they all fall under the Google umbrella, connecting each of them to your site can take time.
Let’s take a look at how the Site Kit plugin helps you combine all of these tools, and what kind of information you can gather from each service.
Let’s start with Google Analytics, and what you’ll be able to access once you’re connected through Site Kit:
Thanks to machine learning technology, Analytics enables you to model user behaviors and set SMART goals to drive more conversions. You’ll also be able to produce advanced reports and data visualizations of your key metrics.
When you connect to Site Kit, you can even view overall site data as well as analytics at the page and post level. This information is organized neatly right in your WordPress dashboard.
Google Search Console
Search Console is a product designed to help you monitor, improve, and fix your search engine data. This means you can track how your site is performing, and gain insights about how to optimize your content for better results:
By connecting Console as a service in Site Kit, you can easily see which terms are bringing the most visitors to your website. Additionally, you can submit sitemaps and other information that can help increase your rankings in search results.
Connecting AdSense to your website through Site Kit means you won’t have to click back and forth between multiple Google dashboards and your website to manage your account. You’ll be able to monitor your ad earnings and more in one place:
Once you’re connected, all the AdSense tools you’re used to will still be available as usual. In fact, when you connect through Site Kit, your AdSense code snippet can be added to all of your site’s pages automatically, saving you a lot of time.
Google PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights offers important statistics about how fast your site loads on both desktop computers and mobile devices. With Site Kit, you’ll get a snapshot of how well your site is doing, without leaving your WordPress dashboard:
From your dashboard, you can easily click on PageSpeed Insights in order to pop out to a more detailed overview of your site. This page will give you an overall score, along with insights into how and where you can make changes to improve your site’s speed.
You’ll be able to choose or create different variants and conditions for testing different aspects of your site. Since Optimize will also be connected to your Analytics account via Site Kit, you’ll be able to see how all your page variations are performing.
Google Tag Manager
For most of the tools you can use with Site Kit, one of the major benefits is the ability to connect the tool without having to manually add anything to your site’s header or footer. Tag Manager is no different. Tags are snippets of code that you can place on your site, in order to enhance your data gathering capabilities:
You can see from our snapshot that using Tag Manager can greatly expand the kind and amount of data you can collect.
Those are just a few of the many different kinds of tags you can quickly set up. They include metrics that are not native to Analytics. However, now that you’re using Site Kit, you’ll be able to feed this new data into your dashboard without the need for custom code.
How to Set Up Google Site Kit in WordPress
To get started with Google Site Kit, you’ll need to make sure you’re using a compatible version of WordPress. You can install the Site Kit plugin on versions 4.7 and higher. So if needed, make sure you upgrade WordPress before proceeding. Additionally, your website does need to be live in order for you to receive data through the plugin.
Step 1: Install Google Site Kit and Activate It
You can find Site Kit in the WordPress Plugin Directory by going to Plugins > Add New in your dashboard:
After installing and activating the plugin, you’ll be prompted to begin connecting Google tools and services to your site. We’ll cover that task in detail next.
Note: If you are a WP Engine customer, Google Site Kit must be set up on your primary domain, not the temporary WP Engine subdomain (yoursite.wpengine.com), for Google to verify your site.
Step 2: Connect More Google Tools and Services
For each of the services you want to access in your Site Kit dashboard, you’ll need to go through the same steps. We recommend having your Google Analytics, Search Console, AdSense, PageSpeed Insights, Optimize, and Tag Manager accounts all set up ahead of time. That will make the process go much faster.
With that being said, you can create the accounts as you go if needed. You’ll be prompted to choose an existing account or create one for each of the services you connect. For example, you can set up Analytics by navigating to Site Kit > Settings in your website’s dashboard:
Here, you’ll be able to see what services have not yet been configured. You can also see that Optimize and Tag Manager are both reliant on Analytics. This is why setting up Analytics first is a smart idea.
Click on Set up Analytics to continue through the necessary steps. You’ll be prompted to choose the Google account you want to use. If you already have Analytics set up on that account, you’ll just need to agree to several requests. These enable your site and Analytics to exchange the information necessary to make the plugin useful:
After you choose the appropriate account, select Confirm Analytics to begin allowing Google to access your website. You’ll receive a message indicating that your connection was successful. However, note that it often takes around 24 hours to begin to see Analytics data in your WordPress dashboard.
Step 3: Start Using Google Site Kit
You’ll need to repeat the process outlined above for each of the services you want to connect. One of the best things about this plugin is that you’ll have guidance throughout the entire process. If you run into a problem, you’ll likely be prompted on how to solve it, and be able to move on easily.
Once you have all the tools connected that you want to use, you can use the Site Kit menu in WordPress to navigate to each service. Then, you can start using the data they provide!
How to Use Google Site Kit
As we mentioned earlier, this plugin enables you to link up your Google accounts without advanced coding skills. Then, you can start leveraging reports and data for some of those tools immediately.
Site Kit offers a dashboard that serves as a ‘home base’ for all of your data. You can find it by going to Site Kit > Dashboard:
The dashboard will give you an overview or snapshot of each tool you’ve connected to. If you’ve just set up Site Kit, you’ll see notes like indicating that data is still being collected.
This part of Site Kit brings data from your Analytics setup right into your dashboard. You’ll get an overview of your site’s traffic, as well as individual page and post metrics:
You’ll be able to view those stats by viewing a post or page when you’re logged in to your admin panel. By clicking on Site Kit at the top of the screen, you’ll get a snapshot of the stats for just that post or page.
Under Site Kit > Search Console, you can view a breakdown of your search data, in addition to the stats for your most popular pages:
Additionally, from Site Kit > Dashboard you can see search data for specific pages:
To view your full Search Console stats, however, you will have to jump over to your account page in Google.
With AdSense connected to Site Kit, you’ll be able to view a number of important metrics right in your WordPress dashboard. These include:
- Estimated earnings: This is a close estimate of recent earnings broken down by the current day, the previous day, the previous week, and the previous month.
- Ad impressions: This is the number of ads shown on your website.
- RPM: This represents your earnings per thousand pageviews.
- Top earning pages: This will let you know which pages on your site are most lucrative.
This is an efficient way to get a snapshot of your AdSense earnings any time you visit your website’s dashboard. Just make sure you’ve connected your Analytics account with AdSense if you want to view the data from your top-earning pages.
PageSpeed Insights data is easy to view in the Site Kit dashboard. If you scroll to the bottom of your Site Kit overview page, you’ll find a Speed section. This will break down two key metrics for both the mobile and desktop versions of your site:
These measurements include Real user speed data, as well as the seconds your site registers as Time to become fully interactive. This means you’ll be able to see if your mobile experience is lagging, or if users on both platforms have similar experiences.
The Optimize feature takes a little bit more legwork to set up, as we outlined above. However, once you create a test or experience with Optimize, you just need to add your Container ID to Site Kit and you’ll be able to view your results:
To get started, you’ll need to go to Site Kit > Settings > Optimize. Remember that you can create many different kinds of beneficial optimization tests easily with this tool, and track the results without leaving your dashboard.
You’ll need to set everything up in your Google Tag Manager account first, before you can begin receiving data in your Site Kit dashboard. Tag Manager, Ads, and Analytics all work together to enable you to track conversions, perform basic and dynamic remarketing, and more.
Additionally, Tag Manager’s features include customizable triggers, so you can track form submissions and clicks wherever you want on your site. This data will appear in your Analytics reports as well, making it easily accessible.
Make the Most of Your Website with WP Engine
Here at WP Engine, we know that tracking all the data you need to manage your website can be a challenge. That’s why we aim to share the best developer resources for WordPress. Having the right metrics front and center can help you create the most effective user experience possible.
Check out our WordPress hosting plans today, so you can keep crunching numbers and leave the website maintenance to us!