Google Search Console (previously called Google Webmaster Tools) is a must have if you want to see how Google is crawling and indexing your website.
It is really easy to set up and will allow you to:
- See what terms people have typed into Google and what position your page was in the results
- See who has linked to your site
- Check your site speed
- Identify any technical issues that could be impacting how your site is indexed
- Submit a sitemap to Google
Before we get started you will need to have a Google account and Google analytics installed. I recommend you follow my post on installing Google Analytics.
How to add your website to Google Search Console
Step 1: Open Google Search Console
Open Google Search Console in your browser and log in to your Google account if you aren’t already. You will see a welcome screen if you haven’t added any websites previously.
Step 2: Add a Property
Before you can get started you need to add something to track. This is called a Property. To do this, enter your main website address and select the big red button ‘Add a property’. Make sure to enter your addresses exactly and use https if your site has a SSL certificate.
Step 3: Verify your site
Next you will need to verify that you are the owner of the website. There are a number of ways to do this. If you have already set up Google Analytics on your site you may be just select the ‘Google Analytics’ option to verify your site.
How to verify Google Search Console with WordPress
If you use WordPress I highly suggest that you install the free version of the YOAST plugin. Using the HTML tag method is then very easy. You just need to select HTML tag as your verification method. Copy just the code from the content attribute of the meta tag. Don’t click verify yet though.
Go to your WordPress website in another tab and select ‘Dashboard’ under ‘SEO’ on the left-hand side.
You then need to go to the Webmaster tools tab and paste the code in the Google Search Console field and save the changes.
Go back to the Google Search Console and click ‘Verify’. Your site should now be verified.
Here are instructions for verifying your Google Search Console using other CMS platforms such as Wix, Squarespace and Shopify.