Google Search Console: Part One – Setup
Since Google is the number one search engine in the world, you naturally want to rank high in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
What is Google Search Console (GSC)?
Google Search Console (GSC) tells you everything that you wish to know about your website and the people who visit it daily. For example, how much web traffic you’re attracting, what are people searching for in your site, the kind of platform (mobile, app, desktop) people are using to find you, and more importantly, what makes your site popular.
Who should use Google Search Console?
Anyone with a website! From generalist to specialist, from newbie to advanced, GSC can help you.
Business owners: Even if you won’t be using GSC yourself, you should be aware of it, become familiar with the basics of optimizing your site for search engines, and know what features are available in Google Search.
SEO specialists or marketers: As someone focused on online marketing, GSC will help you monitor your website traffic, optimize your ranking, and make informed decisions about the appearance of your site’s search results. You can use the information in GSC to influence technical decisions for the website and do sophisticated marketing analysis in conjunction with other Google tools like Analytics, Google Trends, and Google Ads.
Site administrators: As a site admin, you care about the healthy operation of your site. GSC lets you easily monitor and in some cases resolve server errors, site load issues, and security issues like hacking and malware. You can also use it to ensure any site maintenance or adjustments you make happen smoothly with respect to search performance.
Web developers: If you are creating the actual markup and/or code for your site, GSC helps you monitor and resolve common issues with markup, such as errors in structured data.
GSC offers tools and reports for the following actions:
- Confirm that Google can find and crawl your site.
- Fix indexing problems and request re-indexing of new or updated content.
- View Google Search traffic data for your site: how often your site appears in Google Search, which search queries show your site, how often searchers click through for those queries, and more.
- Receive alerts when Google encounters indexing, spam, or other issues on your site.
- Show you which sites link to your website.
- Troubleshoot issues for AMP, mobile usability, and other Search features.
How to Use Google Search Console
If you already have a Google account, great! If you don’t, get one. Head on over to the Google Search Console page and sign in.
Now, take a look at these steps and learn how to set up Google Search Console:
Step 1: Add a Search Console Property
Before you can start using Google Search Console you have to add something to track.
Google calls this a property and it can be either a website or an Android app. For this tutorial, we’ll be working with websites.
Click the “Add a property” button near the top of the homepage. Choose “Website”, then type in the name of the property (URL) and click the Add button.
Step 2: Verify Ownership
Google needs to make sure you actually own the website you’re trying to set up. You’ll be presented with a few possible methods for this step. The easiest way is with Google Analytics, assuming you have that set up on your site. If you need help with any portion of this step, give us a shout. We’ll be happy to help!
If you can’t do it that way and you’re not tech-savvy, the easiest way is probably to choose the HTML tag method.
After selecting the HTML tag option, copy the meta tag provided, then paste it in your SEO plugin in WordPress. We’ve used YOAST as an example. It looks something like this:
Click “Save changes”
Next go back to Webmaster Tools and click “Verify.” You should have a confirmation message of a successful verification.
In our next part of the Google Search Console series, we’ll go over sitemaps as well as how to integrate your Google Search Console into Google Analytics so they talk to each other.