Setting up Google Search Console is the first step to understanding your blog’s organic traffic and improving your overall content and SEO strategy. The set-up process is pretty easy – just follow these simple steps and you’ll be ready to go!
Step 1: Add your site in Google Search Console
If you haven’t already added your site to Google Search Console, you’ll need to add and then verify it before you can do anything else. Doing this shows Google that you actually own the site!
Adding your site is pretty simple. Start by logging on to your Search Console account. If you are already logged into your Google account you should be automatically logged into Search Console when you go the site. To add your website, click the “Add A Property” button you see below.
Enter the URL of the site you’re trying to add in the box and click “Add.” Be sure to use the HTTPS version if your site is HTTPS.
Step 2: Verify your site
You need to verify your site. There are a couple of different options for doing this. Which method will work best for you depends on what you already have set-up and how comfortable you are with HTML. Don’t worry – it’s not complicated!!
From Manage Properties to go Verify this site and the screen below will come up. It should indicate the recommended verification method. If you are comfortable with what’s recommended select that one, if not, click the Alternate methods tab and select a verification method.
1. HTML file upload
Unless you are really familiar with HTML I don’t really recommend using this method as it’s more complicated than the other options.
2. Adding an HTML tag
This is an easy option to use. Click the circle and a snippet of code will appear. Copy this code and insert it into the header of your blog. Now you might be saying – how do I insert it into the header. There are a number of ways but the easiest is to download a plugin called “Insert headers and footers”. It comes in super handy for a number of things like adding tracking codes including Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel etc. Once you’ve installed the plugin open it via Settings in WordPress and copy the code from Seach Console. Once you’ve added the code to the head section, go back to Search Console and click “Verify.”
3. Domain name provider
If you happen to have subdomains and subdirectories associated with your blog this might be the best method to verify ownership. Otherwise, you are probably better off with one of the other methods.
4. Google Tag Manager
If you already use Google Tag Manager (GTM) for your site, this might be the easiest way to verify your site. However, if you don’t already use GTM then I wouldn’t recommend this method.
5. Adding a Google Analytics
If you already use Google Analytics (GA) to monitor your blog’s traffic, this is probably the easiest option for you. First, you’ll need to check your blog and make sure the GA tracking code is already in the <Head> section of your blog. If it’s already there, which I’m guessing it will be, then it’s really easy to verify this way. Just follow the instructions in Search Console.
Once your site has been verified, you’ll need to leave the GA code on your site otherwise it will cause your site to become unverified.
Step 3: Adding your Sitemap
Sitemaps give search engines and web crawlers important information about how your site is organized and the type of content available there. Adding an XML sitemap allows you to submit your pages directly to Google, rather than waiting for Google’s to crawl and index your site. This can help your site get indexed faster and get more pages indexed, thus giving you better data!
Before you can submit a sitemap, you will need to create one. If you use WordPress and the Yoast SEO plugin it will automatically generate XML sitemaps for your blog. If you don’t use Yoast, which I highly recommend, then you’ll have to use another method to create a sitemap.
To submit your sitemap, go to Search Console and on the left side you’ll see an option called Crawl. Under Crawl, there will be an option marked Sitemaps.
Click on Sitemaps then click Add/Test Sitemap in the upper righthand corner. This will bring up a box with a space to add text to it. Unless you have created a sitemap with a different name, enter sitemap.xml. That’s it – you’ve now submitted your sitemap!