If you are at all interested in optimising your site for the search engines then you need to ensure you are measuring your traffic and getting reports on the general health of your site. The best free way to do this is Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

These free tools are offered by Google and work together to give you really good information on who is using your site and how, and also how Google sees your site, including errors and warnings etc. They really are critical tools to have if you are trying to improve your traffic from Google.

You have to set these up as soon as possible so you have the most data possible.

Let’s get started:

First we will set up Webmaster Tools:

Go to the webmaster tools page:
http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

You need to log in with your Google Account. If you do not have one, just create one, then click Back to Google Webmaster Tools.

Once you are logged into Webmaster Tools with your account you will see this page:

Webmaster Tools Site Setup Page

You first need to add your site:

Enter your site in the field at the bottom of the page and click “Add A Site”

If your site is running on www. then use that, otherwise leave it out.

You will then be presented with a page asking you to verify your site. To do this you have to upload a file to the root directory of your site and click the verify button.

Webmaster Tools Verify Site

First download the file as instructed on the screen.

You then need to upload it to the root directory of your site. If you can do this yourself, then do it. Be careful you do not alter any other files though.

Otherwise, get whoever built your site to do it for you.

Once the file is in the root directory of your site, click the verify button.

If Google is able to verify the file on your server, you will see the success page:

Webmaster Tools Site Verified

If not, you need to go back and make sure the correct file is actually in the root directory of your site.

Now your site is set up with Google Webmaster Tools.

Now we need to setup Google Analytics

Now, while still logged in to you Google Acocunt, go to: http://www.google.com/analytics/
(Log in, if not already)

Click Access Google Analytics in the Top Right Corner.

You will get the Analytics Setup page:

Google Analytics Setup Page

Click Sign Up.

The next page looks like this:

Enter all of your details.

For the account name and website name I usually use the URL to make things easier – or to be able to easily identify the site you are looking at if you have multiple sites in the same account.

In website URL, again, use the www. if that is how your site is hosted.

Enter your correct time zone to make your reports easier to read.

In the data sharing settings, we normally only allow sharing with Other Google Products, Technical Support and Account Specialists. It’s up to you though what you wish to share.

Google Analytics Data Sharing Settings

Click Get Tracking ID

You will now see a page with your tracking ID and tracking script.

Google Analytics Tracking Code

Now, if you are not familiar with your site’s setup, you probably should not try this yourself. Contact your web developer to put this script into your site.

Inserting the Google Analytics Code in WordPress Sites:

If your site it built on WordPress (the self hosted version) then there are a number of plugins to easily set up the Google Analytics tracking script.
One we recomend is https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/google-analytics/

The steps to set it up follow, but please ensure you know what you are doing. Installing plugins can affect other aspects of your site. If you are unsure, contact your web developer.

To install the plugin and link to Analytics:

Once logged in to your WordPress admin, go to the Plugins item in the menu and click Add New.

add plugin

Now, in the search box enter “google analytics for wordpress” and click search.

You will see the plugin: Google Analytics for WordPress

Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast

Install and activate the plugin.

Now go to the plugin settings by clicking Google Analytics under the Settings menu item.

Plugin Settings - Yoast Analytics

With this plugin, there are 2 ways of linking it to your Google Analytics account. I have found the best way to be the manual way.

Just click the check box that says “Manually enter your UA code”

You will then see a box to enter the code.

Your UA code is the code you were given on the Analytics page that looks like this:

Google Analytics Tracking Code

Enter the entire code including the UA-

Then click Update Settings.

All of the other default options are fine for the average user.

Now you are all set up with Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics.