I wrote the original article for this 3 years ago, and yet it still holds true:
Irish website owners frequently outsource their SEO and advertising needs to third party companies without retaining any control of their Google Account and the data generated.
If you don't have the login/password to the Google Account that controls access to google products such as Adwords, Analytics, Maps, Search Console, My Business, Adsense, etc then you will never be able to edit the data, change your company details or make any meaningful decisions about SEO without the data that these products generate.
DON'T MAKE THIS MISTAKE!
Your first step to retaining independent control is to set up ONE Google account that you'll use for your website which will then be used to sign up for ALL the products you need like SEO, advertising, maps, My Business, Google Drive (free storage) etc for your website.
Sign up for a Google Account
Lets say your website is called veganproduce.ie, then you'll want to sign up for a Google Account called:
- Go to https://www.google.com/gmail
- Click on Create an Account
- See if the name is available, if not add a number to the end - eg veganproduce1
Now that's done, you'll use this email address to sign up for all the Google Products you need for your website.
Easy wasn't it!
Now that you have a Google account for your website you can use this account to sign up for these great free Google products that can really help with your website's functionality and SEO -
- Adwords (advertising via Google)
- Adsense (accepting ads on your website from other advertisers)
- Analytics (detailed statistics of visitors to your website, which can be optionally linked to your Adwords)
- My Business (A listing shown with a map of your business, opening times and customer reviews which comes up in search results)
- Search Console (lets you know if your website is working right, details of errors and what Google is crawling for its index - a useful tool to see how your website ranks organically. You can also upload a sitemap here)
- Google Drive (15 GB free storage - great for your backups)
Yes! All the Google Products you use for your website/blog/online store SHOULD be linked to ONE Google Account
- which only you own and control.
So why don't more website owners do that?
Because it's just easier to let "someone else" set "all that" up for them. Then "someone else" gets a job in Australia. And "someone else" can't be reached, and they have the password to the google account that was used to set up the analytics, or the My Business account. And now you can't access it. And the bottom-line is that you're screwed. I've dealt with many very frustrated angry website owners who can't get access to their Google products.
Imagine that you are a website owner and you've contracted a company to do "a bit of SEO" for you. The company set up a My Business listing, among other things. Time passes and you and the company part ways. But no bother! The business listing is still there, with a few nice reviews, the opening hours and a map of how to get there. One day, you decide to change the main telephone number of the business. And that's when all hell breaks loose. You're going to call someone like me. Can you change the number on google - the number is wrong. I'm losing business. This is urgent. And I say - do you have the login details for the account that set it up?
It's a more common scenario than you'd think. Ask yourself - do you have that access? Did you set it up? Do you know who did?
Frequently asked Q&As
If you have a Gmail account then you already HAVE a Google Account! Your Google Account is just the email address and password you use for your Gmail. In fact if you have any google product then you have a google account. The point here is to group all your products under one email address (which is your username) and password AND for one purpose - eg your website. So if your website requires Adwords, Search Console and a My Business listing, then you'd set up these products with the SAME account (ie same email address/password).
Sure! As well as having an account for your website, you could also set up a separate set of Google products for your personal use (using a second Gmail address) - eg for Gmail and Google docs, etc. Each Google account just requires a separate email address, and actually, it doesn't even have to be a gmail address - it's just easier if you set it up that way.
Yes, if you have the user/pass and administrative rights for all the accounts concerned.
In my experience this can only work if they are willing to co-operate with you. Google takes ownership very seriously, but if someone else set up your account, then they "own" the account! If they're willing to co-operate with you then you can call Google regarding any of your business products and they will tell you if that's possible and what needs to be done to have the data transferred to your Google account.
Easier than you think. Use your email address to sign up for Google Analytics, and enter your website information. Along the way you'll be given some code to install on your website. Ask the outside company, or your tech people to install that code on your website. That way, you're tracking your statistics from your own account. No-one has the user/pass for this only you.
Ask the outside company to install their own Google Analytics (or Tag Manager) code, also onto your website. Yes, you can run more than 1 analytics per site. Now the joy of this is that you have your statistics for life - through your own Analytics account - and if the outside company want to part ways you've lost nothing. You still have all your own results for all of time.
The Bottom Line
ONE Google Account for your website Many Google products.