Google's official WordPress plugin is now available. We give it a test drive, take a look at the features and benefits, and give you our verdict as to whether it is worth installing on your site.
Is it worth installing the Google Site Kit plugin?
Overall, I would certainly recommend installing the Google Site Kit plugin.
- Site Kit integrates essential Google performance data within your WordPress working environment
- It provides live data from Google sources for individual posts, as well as for your entire site
- It has a friendly dashboard layout
- But it is only available to site owners with Admin privileges, which is a serious limitation for sites with multiple contributors
- And it only generates very high level statistics that could be misinterpreted
- Most importantly, it is not a substitute for the analytics, insights and reports a marketing professional needs
Google data right in your WordPress dashboard
That means you can see the data for how your site is performing at the moment you are likely to be updating and editing your site.
Adding the Site Kit to your WordPress dashboard gives a great visual check of how your website has been performing over the last 28 days. It’s a quick snapshot readily available, and you can then click through to get more detail.
You can’t change the date interval which is set to the last 28 days of data, and it only shows the very highest level of statics, but even so it’s a useful heads up.
Here is what it looks like as soon as I log in to my WordPress working environment, with the Site Kit configured to display top and centre in my WordPress dashboard:
Drilling down into the Site Kit dashboard, the Site Overview pulls together from Google Analytics and Search Console including Traffic Sources, the Search Funnel, top Search Queries, and your most popular content. Check out this guide for a more detailed explanation of the Site Kit Metrics.
Of course, this data is readily available in your normal Google accounts, and the dashboard includes hyperlinks to let you jump over if you want to drill down for more information.
Individual post performance statistics
Whilst you are logged into WordPress, you can quickly get individual post performance statistics on a page-by-page basis.
This is my favourite feature because the data is at hand at the moment you are creating and editing content right within the WordPress editor.
In particular, it is a quick and simple way to get a feel for how specific pieces of content are performing as part of the editorial creation and review process.
Of course this data is readily available via other sources, but it is a quick and convenient way to get a performance snapshot. Just in time data at the moment it is required.
The individual post performance data is also available when browsing your website whilst logged into WordPress:
How Site Kit could be even better
At this stage, access to the Site Kit data is limited to Admin owners of the site. This access is best suited for technical managers of the website, rather than for marketers responsible for interpreting and acting on the site.
For smaller businesses where one individual is both the technical administrator and also marketer for the site, this doesn’t present difficulties. But for slightly larger organisations with multiple users of the site without full technical admin rights, this plugin cannot be used.
I’m sure Google will be working to make the plugin even better, and I’m confident the next step will be to provide more sophisticated reporting and analysis functionality from right within the WordPress environment.
How to install and set up Google Site Kit
If you aren’t familiar with installing plugins on your WordPress site, get in touch with your developer to install the Google Site Kit plugin.
Search Engine Land has written a detailed guide to installing and setting up Google Site Kit