GA4 is now the default set up for new Google Analytics accounts.
You add the new account and set up the first property. The default and, apparently, only option is to create the new GA4 property with its new tracking.
So you go ahead with the “advancement” – after all, you assume that Google knows what they are doing.
It all works, although the interface is significantly different and you struggle to find the reports you are used to accessing without really thinking. But you figure that it’s just a learning curve – which, like so many learning curves that have come before, you’ll eventually get used to and it will become second nature in a week or two.
Then you go to link the Search Console account for this site, and you can’t find anything in the admin area.
So you run a quick search online to see where it’s been moved to find that it’s not possible to link Google Analytics GA4 and Search Console!
Why do you encourage us – or in this case, oblige us – to run with your new shiny platform when it doesn’t do one of the things you’ve been telling us is super important for years?
Thankfully, there is a workaround. Even though you have set up this new account – you can add a Universal Analytics property to the account – but it’s not obvious…. here are the steps.
1. Create a New Property
Add your basic details – country, currency – and then…
2. Select “Show Advanced Options
3. Select Create a Universal Analytics Property only
Of course, you only need to select this because you have already set up the new GA4 property – because Google lulled you into a false sense of security with their new platform.
If you haven’t yet set up either Google Analytics account for this website you should probably select the option to create both property types. Or simply don’t bother with GA4 until Google manage to get it working alongside their other tools.
4. You can now select one or other Property in the Admin area
So you can now select the Universal Analytics property and link your Search Console account.
5. Relax – your Google Analytics GA4 and Search Console are linked and the world is safe again!
You can now easily switch between the two from the regular drop down. Although now you’ve got the Universal Analytics interface back, you’re going to take a long time to make the switch Google are encouraging you to make.
Perhaps Google doesn’t think that the Search Console is worth linking to the new GA4 platform – that would be a shame.
Perhaps the GA4 team were just too excited at the changes they had made to wait to get this linkage working.
Perhaps they’d simply forgotten that it need to be there.
Whatever the reason, it’s good to know that it can still be done, even though it now means that you’ve got a clunky Analytics account where you might have to keep switching between the two properties to achieve the reporting and insights you want.
We often assume that Google has our best interests at hearty, and that these changes are essentially for the better. But this one is falling short for me.
Please change my mind – use the comments!