What is Google Site Kit?
Site Kit is a WordPress plugin developed by Google. Site Kit provides users with an easy solution for the integration and management of Google’s website performance and analytic tools from a centralized location in the WordPress dashboard. The Google tools that Site Kit supports are:
- Search Console
- Page Speed Insights
- Tag Manager
The biggest draw to this new plugin is that it allows users to view basic analytic data while logged into their Content Management System (CMS). Many digital marketing agencies, website owners, or marketing managers are already viewing data from Analytics, Google Ads, AdSense, and Search Console, but many novice users don’t understand how to use those platforms. Site Kit brings all the data together in one place. There are many other plugins currently available that show all the data that Site Kit also shows; however Site Kit was developed by Google to create easy access to their data analytics suite right from your WordPress dashboard. It also allows you to manage the implementation of other Google products such as Optimize, Tag Manager, and Page Speed Insights directly from the plugin.
Who Needs to Use Google Site Kit?
The information displayed on the WordPress dashboard is similar to a report a digital marketing agency would send to its clients, making it a perfect tool for business owners or marketing professionals who want to log in to one place to see site data. It includes basic yet insightful website traffic data such as:
- All Traffic – Organic, Direct, Referral, CPC, and Social
- Search Funnel – Impressions, Clicks, Unique Visitors, and Goal Completions (if they are setup in Analytics)
- Popularity – Top Search Queries, Clicks, and Impressions, and a list of your most popular pages.
The plugin also allows you to search an individual page or post for more detailed information. This is a nice feature for someone looking for specifics about an individual page.
Is It Easy to Install Google Site Kit?
Downloading Google Site Kit, installing it, and configuring it is a simple process. A helpful note to speed things up: you should have Google Search Console (GSC), Google Analytics and all other Google reporting tools that you want to use already setup and configured prior to download and installation of Site Kit.
Which Google Products Connect to Site Kit?
Google Search Console
During setup you will be prompted to verify ownership for Google Search Console first. I recommend having your Search Console verified prior to installing this plugin. How to verify ownership of Google Search Console. Once you verify Search Console, this step is automatic and requires no assistance.
Once again, have this account setup and the tracking code added to your site before installing Site Kit. The plugin looks for the Google Analytics code snippet within your existing site code and will automatically configure the plugin to show data. To minimize the use of plugins, I recommend adding your tracking code manually to the site, however if you use a plugin to insert it, Site Kit will still see it and configure properly.
Google Site Kit will also prompt you to verify your Google AdSense account. This step can be skipped if you don’t utilize Google AdSense. For the website used in this test, I don’t have an active AdSense account but was still able to link the service to the plugin. You can see the yellow symbol and warning text, “AdSense is not connected” in the image above because of the lack of an active account.
Google Page Speed Insights
After you setup the initial data reporting, you can integrate Google Page Speed Insights. This tool gives you insight into how fast your website loads on desktop, mobile devices, and how Google sees your webpages. Although this site is a test site, you can easily see from the Site Kit’s Page Speed Insights report that it needs some help with the mobile speed.
Google Site Kit even links directly to the Google Page Speed Insights platform to give you a detailed breakdown of your page speed, where you can focus your efforts to speed things up, and more.
Google Optimize can also be configured to show your A/B testing data. Optimize will easily run tests on your website’s content to learn what works best for your visitors, including A/B, multivariate, and redirect tests.
These A/B tests can only be set up through the Google Optimize platform. Google Site Kit is only used to show reporting and you can’t manage your testing within the plugin.
See more here: https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/optimize/
Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is the last Google product you can integrate into this plugin. Although there is no data in the dashboard for this service, you can have the plugin automatically add your Tag Manager code to the site if you haven’t manually added it. This is a nice feature for a novice user in WordPress.
At this time, you can’t manage or create new tags/triggers with this plugin. You must do that through your Google Tag Manager account. This plugin only verifies the code is installed or installs the code for you.
Does Google Site Kit Slow the Site Down?
Quick assumption – No! Why would it? It is a Google product that is meant to help website owners improve their sites, not harm them. But I wanted to test it anyway.
For the testing, I used GTMetrix. It is important to note that there will always be fluctuations in website speed on a day to day basis and that there are many things that can affect page speed depending on your CMS. In this test, I reviewed page speed scores, fully loaded time, page size, and http requests to see if they would be affected as a result of the Site Kit Plugin. These overview metrics can change slightly or even radically. Radical changes day to day can indicate potential issues such as conflicting code, plugin issues, or corrupt media files. If you are finding issues with site speed have a professional analyze your site to help increase your page speed.
For baseline data, I ran a speed report every day, for a week, before I installed the plugin and again every day after I installed Google Site Kit.
The only notable fluctuation I saw was in the YSlow Score. The Google Site Kit plugin didn’t affect http requests, page size, fully loaded time or the page speed score. I didn’t think it would, but now science and data are backing that theory.
Google Site Kit is a plugin worth the time investment for a small business owner, marketing professional, or individual. The reporting covers the basics and will give you an idea of your most important data to review. There are a lot more options within each Google product when you log into them directly, but those services take knowledge and experience to master. It is important to have a professional SEO who is experienced with those products analyze your data in greater detail to provide insight into your website performance and actionable recommendations to increase your web presence.
Agencies could implement Google Site Kit for their clients as a data reporting tool if the client logs into their own website to update content or create blog posts. Most agencies use third party reporting tools to produce easy to read reports, or even use another free Google service, Data Studio, to do so.
Learn more: https://sitekit.withgoogle.com/