Running Google Search Console Scripts in Docker on Google Compute Engine

Chip Oglesby bio photo By Chip Oglesby

If you’ve read my blog before, then you know I’m a Google fan. Google has a great free tier that you can check out if you’d like to learn more about how you can use Google Cloud for your data science projects.

The code for this project are here:

  1. rbaseplus
  2. searchconsole

This post will cover the following tools:

  1. Google Cloud Build
  2. Google Container Registry
  3. Google Source Repos
  4. Google Service Accounts
  5. Docker Images and Containers
  6. Google Cloud

Over the past few years I’ve been using R to pull data from Google Webmaster Tools Search Console and storing the data in Google BigQuery so that it can be analyzed or visualized at a later data.

Normally I would run the script locally with a cronjob on my computer. Recently I’ve been working more with Docker images to make some of my data analysis more reproducible.

I thought that it would be a great opportunity to take a task like this and automate it in the cloud.

What I’ll present is how to setup the project and run it in the cloud so you can do the same thing.

To begin with you’ll need a working knowledge of R and Docker. If you don’t, go read up on them and come back when you’re ready. You’ll also need to have your Google Cloud project ready. There’s a free tier that’s great for this.

Right now the code for this project has been mirrored on Github. We’ll begin with a base image of the rocker image for R. Let’s take a look at our Dockerfile:

If you want to run this image locally on your machine, it’s available here: or use docker pull chipoglesby/rbaseplus.

We’re going to use Google Cloud’s Source Repo to store our Dockerfile so it can be built using Google Cloud Build.

Let’s create a new source repository called rbaseplus.

Next let’s create a Cloud Build Trigger.

This trigger will automatically build a new Docker image based on our previous Dockerfile. This base image includes R, various Linux files and all of the packages for our next project.

Next, let’s clone the searchconsole project from Github and upload it to a new google source repo in our project. You should update the Dockerfile with your own project id.

You should also update search.R with your own information. The search.R script pulls data from Webmaser Tools and uploads it into BigQuery. Before you run the script, make sure you’ve created a dataset in BigQuery to store your data. Give the dataset and tables descriptive names.

Now let’s create a new service account in our Google Cloud project. Give it a memorable name and create a json key. You’ll also want to add the service account email as a full user in the webmaster tools project that you want to pull data from.

We also want to build a create a Cloud Build Trigger. for this repo as well, but this time we are going to use Google’s cloudbuild.yaml to build the docker image.

Once this is done building, you will be able to deploy this image to Google Compute Engine from the Google Container Registry. Google also launched Shielded VM’s which you should take advantage of. You can also deploy your image from within the Google Container Registry.

If you run a f1-micro (1 vCPU, 0.6 GB memory) VM, you can run this for free every month on Google Cloud. This will be enough to get you started.

Once your VM is up and running, you can SSH into it using Google Cloud Shell and checkout your Docker image. You can also set up a cronjob to run the script automatically at any given time, if you’d like.