Ready to start using Google Search Console and reaping the benefits of the data and performance reporting it contains? Here we review how to set up Google Search Console and verify your website, so that you can begin using this free SEO tool to improve your website and ultimately your business performance!
Google Search Console [previously known as Google Webmaster Tools] is a free tool provided by Google that allows website owners, SEOs, marketers, and webmasters to understand how their website is being indexed by Google, find and fix any errors in indexing, submit sitemaps, learn when their website is being shown in results, view the top keywords users are searching and clicking on to visit their website, and more. It is a powerful tool that we recommend everyone with a website use in order to improve their search engine rankings, website performance, and ultimately drive more business.
The first step in being able to use this tool is to set up Google Search Console and verify your website.
How To Set Up Google Search Console & Verify Your Website
STEP 1: Open Google Search Console and click Start Now. In order to use Google Search Console, you will need a Google account. If you don’t have an account you will be directed to set up a Google account after clicking on Start Now.
STEP 2: After clicking start now, you will be directed to a screen with options on how to verify your website.
You can decide whether to verify your website at the domain level or use only certain URLs. For most website owners, verifying at the domain level is best because when you use this method Google Search Console will automatically look at all URL variations for your website such as https and http as well as examplewebsite.com and www.examplewebsite.com. If you were to verify using URL prefix, this means you would need to enter your website multiple times if you wanted to include all pages and traffic under https and http as well as any other URLs included on your website, such as a specific blog (Example: blog.examplewebsite.com) or mobile site (Example: m.examplewebsite.com). If you verify this way you will also need to check for errors and performance for each variation entered separately. In general, it is best to see performance and indexing information for your entire website in the aggregate, so domain level is recommended for most website owners.
Depending on which option you choose, enter your website domain or the URL prefix you wish to verify. If you are verifying by domain, enter your domain name leaving off all URL prefixes. This means entering your domain without www, http, https, or any other subdomain (i.e. blog. or mobile prefixes). Using Intigress as an example, here we would enter intigress.com, not intigress.com or https://intigress.com.
STEP 3: After entering your domain, click continue. You will see a pop up with instructions and a code to paste into your DNS configuration. This step will vary depending where your domain is registered. Below are instructions from various web hosts on how to complete this step. Please note: Because Google Search Console was recently updated, several of the below links are based on the old version; however, we have included the link because the information may still be helpful.
STEP 4: Once you have pasted the code into your DNS record, you will want to go back to Google Search Console and click verify. Note: It can take up to 3 days to verify your website.
Once you have verified your website, you can begin using Google Search Console to help improve your website’s SEO. You will be able to see what type of searches your website is appearing for, which pages on your site are indexed and eligible to appear in the search results on Google, if there are any errors with the indexing of your website, and much more.
We also recommend you set up Bing Webmaster Tools, Bing’s version of Google Search Console, to be able to monitor and improve your website’s performance on Bing and Yahoo as well.
If you have questions or need additional assistance setting up and verifying your website via Google Search Console contact us today. We are here to help!