It’s been nearly a year since Google introduced property sets. When Google released property sets back in spring 2016, marketers rejoiced since they could now see total clicks and impressions of their different properties. Property sets let you consolidate different sites, apps or mobile sites into a group or property set within the Google Search Console. Then, this information can be downloaded into a single report.
Initially, property sets were limited to only the Search Analytics information for the different properties. This meant that you couldn’t get full data on the other views. Google took note of users’ concerns and expanded their property sets in December 2016. Now, marketers can get information on usability, accelerated mobile pages, rich cards and more.
Leveraging Property Sets
Setting up a property set is quick and easy. To create your first property set, follow the below steps.
- Log into the Google Search console.
- You’ll see Create a Set on the right-hand side. Click the button.
- Give your set a name. This should be the client, company or something similar, especially if you’ll be creating multiple property sets.
- Add the properties that you wish to monitor. (Only verified properties can be added to sets).
- Click Save changes.
It can take 24-48 hours to start gathering data. Once it does, however, you’ll be able to compare any available data within the reports. While this won’t be an issue for most people, enterprise-level companies should know that they can only group up to 200 properties.
Note: If your property isn’t verified, it must be verified first. You must also be at least a verified restricted user on All Set Members to add a site to a property set. If not, you should ask your client or the company to change your permission access level.
Also, if you lose ownership to a property, then the entire set will become null and void. You must either request access again to the property, or create a new set without that property. Further, you cannot share property sets with other users (unlike Dashboards, etc.). Property sets can only have one owner. So, if a stakeholder is wishing access to it, you must either send them a report, or give them access to your Search Console.
There are some major advantages to property sets. For a recent client, we were trying to compare two different sites: a legacy site that the company was migrating certain products away from, and a new site. The company had been taken over by a much larger corporation, so the new site was going to be incorporated into the existing larger company’s domain.
Some of the products, however, were going to remain on the legacy site. The client knew that some traffic loss would occur as is normal with any migration. The goal was to determine how much of a hit would occur and where it occurred (i.e. which pages or keywords). Knowing that the site would now be split between two different sites, we had to monitor both sites to determine what was happening both pre- and post-migration.
We starting monitoring both sites to determine if search volume was taking a hit. We leveraged property sets to monitor the Search Analytics of each site, especially in terms of overall traffic, search queries and pages. We wanted to make sure that traffic as a whole didn’t deteriorate, and if it did, move as quickly as possible to correct it from an SEO-standpoint.
While this is only one example of how to monitor changes across properties, there are many other ways that you can also leverage these reports. For example, many companies have subdomains for different products or even blogs, or they have separate mobile sites or even different apps. In the past, it was impossible to automatically view total traffic. Instead, it was more of a manual process.
Subdomains, Apps and Mobile Sites
The main advantage of property sets is certainly its ability to consolidate numbers for larger companies. Subdomains and mobile sites all have URLs like your main website. Simply add the URL of these to your property. To add a mobile app, you’ll need add the app address, or you’ll need the owner of the app to add you as an app owner or user.
If you’ve ever had to perform analytics reporting for enterprise-level companies, pulling together the total analytics results for all the properties can be painful and extremely time-consuming.
Most reports require not only the individual breakdowns (which are relatively easy to obtain from Google Analytics or similar properties) and the total numbers. Issues arise when you try to pull together the latter.
If you need to connect the Search Console to your Google Analytics property, follow these steps:
- Log into your Analytics account, and go to Admin.
- Go to Property, and then Property Settings.
- Go to Search Console Settings, and add your website to the Search Console.
- Select the reporting view that you want to see.
- Hit Save.
For example, we were working on the analytics for a large IT company. Each month, we had to pull together a spreadsheet that included the individual property numbers and a full tally. It was inevitable that at some point during a span of a few months or so that the formulas within the Excel document would get messed up because of changes by different parties – or simply overwriting. So, every month, we would up have to manually add up the different properties to ensure that the comprehensive number formulas were working.
Needless to say, this one report could take hours to complete. Yet, the spreadsheet was the only way to ensure that we could see how all properties were performing since the subdomains were being tracked via different analytics codes. Now, the property sets would eliminate this problem and show all clicks and impressions – truly a major advantage over the more manual process.
Note of Warning
While property sets make it easier to obtain the complete health of various websites, mobile sites and apps, you should always look at individual properties to determine if any singular issues are arising. The comprehensive views will lay out if there are any new messages or critical issues, and overall Search Analytics data and more.
Usually, however, you want to dig into individual properties, especially if you are tracking certain keywords or pages. The comprehensive property set view will give you the big picture. You still, however, need to dig into individual properties for the minutia that helps us determine overall site and search wellbeing.
Property sets help marketers show total big picture stats. This is especially helpful if you are managing multiple properties and are trying to demonstrate to stakeholders the effectiveness of global campaigns. It also eliminates the painful process of spreadsheets or manually tallying of overall stats.
You should, however, still have your individual breakdowns to show how each property is doing. Aggregate stats sometimes don’t lay out everything going on with your account, and you might be missing out on important issues, successes or failures if you choose to only review property sets.
About Misty Faucheux
Misty Faucheux is an Integrated Online Marketing Specialist at Faucheux Enterprises and a guest writer for Supermetrics. She is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, SEM, content marketing/writing and social ads. Misty helps companies develop a cohesive online marketing strategy that directly addresses their overall business goals and objectives. You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Flickr.