Tuesday, 8 March 2016

SimpleSite.com Can't Install Google Analytics / Search Console

SimpleSite.com Doesn't Allow You To Install Google Analytics or Search Console

This article explains the problems I encountered with SimpleSite.com.

I am in the middle of a domain transfer for a client who has had a website hosted on SimpleSite.com for years. The reason for this is that the domain was of a good age and would pass on strength from the aged domain to the new one on Wordpress which was just a few months old.

All the task required was to verify in Google Search Console (No Google Analytics was needed, besides, it wasn't installed). 

SimpleSite.com Review Based On My SEO Research 2016

The following information is an explanation why I personally don't recommend SimpleSite.com for SEO or to provide site owners data in any format to use for internet marketing purposes.
Basic SEO begins with the installation of Google Analytics and then linking to Google Search Console, then linking the verified website to a Google+ Business page.

Important: None of this is possible with SimpleSite.com

Google Change Of Address Requires Search Console Verification

There are several ways to verify your website in Google Search Console (GSC), the 2 most popular options are Google Analytics and uploading a HTML Tag.
If your site is built and hosted on SimpleSite.com then I have bad news for you - it's not possible to Install Google Analytics so you can't verify your site this way. There's no way to add any kind of HTML to the site, there's no 'Source Code' option nor the ability to add code to the of the site
Without the ability to add HTML code to the template builder then logically it follows you can't verify a website in Google Search Console via Google Analytics or by HTML Tag.
The other ways to verify Google Search Console is by HTML file upload (but we can't upload anything) and then there's the Domain Name Provider option, again, not possible as SimpleSite.com is not listed in the drop down menu in GSC and there's no Cpanel access to add/change a DNS TXT record or by adding a CNAME record.

FAQ for SimpleSite.com Does Not Mention You Can't Install Google Analytics or Verify in Search Console

Most small businesses are restricted by budget, so a common scenario is to choose a free website building platform like GoDaddy, Wix or SimpleSite.com and as my freelancing services are chargeable by the hour I try to keep costs low for my clients.
Unfortunately I spent 2 hours reading the SimpleSite.com blog and FAQ, I even used the 'Search' facility for the keywords "Google Analytics" and there was zero results. To clarify, zero results means that there is NO MENTION ANYWHERE on the SimpleSite.com website to tell Webmasters that it's not possible to install Google Analytics or verify Search Console.

Support Ticket Response by SimpleSite.com

First of all, there is no ticketing system - you have to send an email.
This was my first hiccup as this means I can't raise a ticket when logged in, and when I emailed Customer Support from my email account and included the client in the conversation it took 28 hours for them to respond only to tell me they can't help.

Email sent: 1st March 2016 at 12:28 / Email response: 2nd March 2016 at 16:27

Sigh. At this point I've spent 2 hours looking around the help section, writing an email, and a further 28 hour delay before an email came back informing me 

"We kindly ask that you resend your question from the email address that your Simplesite subscription is registered under "

The email request must come from the email address that's registered with SimpleSite.com.

Fair enough - However - I couldn't see this fact in the FAQ and it's not mentioned on their Support page when you are looking for the Customer Services contact details. I feel this should be mentioned to avoid delays in response to questions.
SimpleSite-Com Install Google Analytics Verify Google Search Console 2016
Screenshot 8th March 2016
Fine then, I asked my client to email Customer Services from her email, which she did ... guess what? It wasn't received, so I provided evidence that I was copied in to that email. Here's the response:
SimpleSite-Com Install Google Analytics Verify Google Search Console 2016 Customer Service Response 
If you can't view this screenshot for any reason I've copied and pasted the response detailing their reasons for not allowing HTML code on their platform:
Regarding adding HTML:
I am very sorry, but it  is not possible to insert any type of HTML code on your Simplesite and we do not offer FTP access.
It is therefore not possible to add any kind of scripts, widgets, apps or buttons, or upload your own templates or HTML code.

This is because Simplesite is based on predefined online templates that do not allow extra HTML code.

We have designed it in this way so that the Simplesite editing system can be easily used by everyone, even by those who have no knowledge of how to use HTML.

Also it is thereby not possible to add any code that can crash your Simplesite or be potentially harmful to visitors.

But Wait .. There's More!

Our Simplesite website service does not offer FTP access, nor does it give the ability to add or change the site's HTML code. It is therefore not possible to use Google Analytics or Google Webmaster Tools on your Simplesite.

Instead Google will use your menu titles and page titles as keywords.
Please make sure that your titles are as relevant as possible and that your front page contains plenty of good, relevant and updated text.

Use the words that you think people will be searching for as much as you can on your front page - without overdoing it.

It is possible to use Google Adwords with your Simplesite, because Google Adwords does not require that you add any code to your Simplesite.

  • Now, this is true. Google Adwords does not require adding code to a website to run - but this screams very bad business advice to me as you can't install Conversion Tracking.

Conversion Tracking Is Essential in Adwords to Track Your Visitors and Conversions

  • Why spend £300 a month on Adwords without having a method to see how many people called your telephone number, or purchased an item?
  • How do you know how many of your 15 sales / telephone in the last 30 days are as a direct result of paying for traffic in Google Adwords? You could very well be wasting your Adwords budget as you have no idea how many conversions your advertising budget has paid for.
  • You can't connect Adwords with Google Search Console or to Google Analytics because you can't verify ownership, therefore you do not have the ability to make informed marketing decisions based on your visitor activity and interaction / Goals.
Google Adwords Help Article Explains Conversion Tracking - With AdWords conversion tracking, you can see how effectively your ad clicks lead to valuable customer activity, such as website purchases, phone calls, app downloads, newsletter sign-ups and more. Depending on the type of conversion you’re tracking, the setup process is different, so the first step in setting up conversion tracking is choosing a conversion source, or where your conversions come from.

How To Migrate Your Website Away from SimpleSite

  • It's not possible to migrate your website design to another host. The SimpleSite platform is built such a way that you never actually own your website in the sense that you can download a backup copy of your website, and upload to another host.
  • When you leave SimpleSite you can only transfer and take ownership of your domain name. Your website will disappear so if you have images or text articles you want to keep then simply copy and paste the text onto a document and save all of your website images on your desktop / storage drive.

How To Transfer Your Domain Away from SimpleSite

  • Using the email address that you created your SimpleSite account with, email Customer Services and request them to change the IPS tag for you
  • Once they have replied in email that the IPS tag has been changed then you can transfer your domain away to a new host - remember to change your nameservers AFTER the IPS tag has been changed and not before.

In Summary

This project has taken way longer than I would ever anticipate to implement a 301 redirect from an old domain to a new domain and implement a Google Change of Address.
At the time of writing - 08:22am on March 8th 2016 - I'm still waiting for the IPS tag to be changed and we are now on the 8th day of trying to migrate the domain, usually a 20 minute task.

Further Reading

SEO Google Ranking