Google Search Console (previously know as Webmasters) is a tool that allows you to track the search performance of your website.
If you own a website or blog then setting up a Google Search Console account is almost essential, especially if you want to be found in search results.
The Search Console allows you to submit sitemaps, remove content that you don’t want to be shown in search results, look at what people are searching to find your website, monitor website health, and so much more.
But, before you start using it, you need to add your website to the Search Console and verify your website to prove that you do actually own it.
In this post, I will show you how to add and verify your website to Google’s Search Console.
1 | Create a Google Account
In order to use the Google Search Console you will need a Google Account, so if you don’t already have one you will need to set one up.
I talk more about the perks of having a Google Account in this post. They’re completely free to set up, and having one is a necessity if you own a website or blog.
Just head over to the Google Accounts set up page, fill in your details, and you’re ready to roll!
If you already have a Google Account, that’s great! All you need to do is log in to it, ready to start using the Search Console.
2 | Add and verify your website
Now we have a Google Account, we need to add our website to the Search Console and verify that we own it in order to start using the features of the Search Console.
To do this, head over to the Google Search Console website and click the Start now button.
This will prompt you to log in to your Google Account if you aren’t already logged in.
After logging in, you will see a welcome screen that looks like this:
As you will see you have two options for adding your website to the Google Search Console. The easiest way is using URL prefix so that’s what I am going to show you how to do in this tutorial.
So, on the right-hand side of the screen in the URL prefix box, type in your website URL and click Continue
(By the way, in the Google Search Console, websites are known as “properties”.)
On the next page you will be asked to verify the ownership of your website.
There are a number of ways in which you can verify your website:
Upload a HTML file to your website
Google recommends that you verify your website by downloading a file they have created for you and uploading it to your website. In order to do this, you will need access to your website files, either via FTP or cPanel.
To start the download, click on this HTML verification file. Once the file has downloaded, upload this to the public_html folder of your website.
To check that this has uploaded correctly, click the link provided in point 3 of the instruction and if this page works, click Verify.
However, I completely understand that not all of you will feel comfortable uploading files to your website. But don’t worry! I have more options for you…
Insert a code into your <head> </head>
Another way of verifying your website is inserting a piece of code in-between the <head> </head> tags of your website.
To obtain this code, click on the HTML tag tab under the Other verification methods heading. This will reveal a meta tag that you need to copy.
If you are a WordPress user, you can usually find the <head> tags in your header.php file. To access this, log into WordPress, hover over Appearance in the left-hand navigation, and click Editor.
Once you are on the Editor page, select header.php from the menu on the right-hand side of the screen and insert your code before the closing </head> tag.
And if you aren’t comfortable with messing around with the code of your website, you can use a plugin such as Head, Footer and Post Injections which allows you to easily insert code into your WordPress header. I talk more about installing and using this plugin in this post.
Verify via Google Analytics
If you are already using Google Analytics on your website, the Search Console can use the code that have used to connect your website to Google Analytics to verify your website.
All you have to do is click on the Alternate methods tab, choose Google Analytics from the options, then click Verify. Easy!
Verify via Yoast SEO
If you are a WordPress user and you have the Yoast SEO plugin installed then you can verify your website via the plugin.
Firstly, you need to obtain the verification code, so click on the Alternate methods tab and then select the HTML tag option.
This will show you a piece of a code, but we aren’t going to need this entire code. All we need is the code in between the quotes of the content attribute as highlighted below:
Make a copy of this code, then log into your WordPress dashboard. Once you have logged into WordPress, click on SEO in the left-hand menu.
This will take you to the General settings page. Here, click on the Webmaster Tools tab.
On this page, you will see a number of boxes where you can enter verification codes for different webmaster tools, including the Google Search Console.
Enter your code in the box next to Google verification code, then click Save Changes.
Now head back into your Google Search Console and click Verify.
If this has worked then you will be taken to a page that confirms the successful verification of your website.
3 | Take a look around the search console and start using it!
Now that you have verified your website you can start using the Search Console. You are likely to receive a few emails from Google about improving the presence of your website in their search engine, so it’s well worth reading through these.
When you visit the Search Console homepage you will automatically see an overview of your website.
I’ve gone ahead and add my website’s sitemap to mine which is why you can see graphs about my website’s performance and coverage. If you’re interested in adding your sitemap to your Google Search Console I recommend checking out this post.
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