How to add your site to search console
Adding a site to Search Console is relatively easy and straightforward.
All you need to do is to set up or log in to your Search Console Account, and then click on Add Property.
NOTE: Your search console account is connected to your Google account. I recommend using the same email that you use with your Google Analytics account.
Once you click on Add Property, you’ll see a screen that looks like this:
There are 5 ways to verify your website:
- Uploading a HTML file to your website through an FTP
- Adding a meta tag to your home page
- By connecting your Google Analytics account
- Using Google Tag Manager (GTM)
- By logging into your domain name provider through Search Console
The method that Google recommends changes from site to site. You can use any of the above. More often than not, I get a “We weren’t able to verify your property” error when I try to use Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to verify a site, even though I know I have Analytics and Google Tag Manager connected to the site correctly.
That’s why I find that adding a meta tag to the header of the Home page is the best way to verify your site.
To do this, you need to select the HTML tag. Sometimes it’s in the recommended method. Sometimes it’s the alternative method.
If you aren’t comfortable with editing the code of your website, it’s highly recommended that you use a web developer, or somebody that is comfortable with code for this step.
To add the meta tag to your site, log into the backend of your WordPress site, and go to Appearance > Editor > Header.php
Place the meta tag just inside the opening <head> tag and click Update File.
NOTE: Placing this meta tag in the wrong place within this file can break your website. Proceed with extreme caution if you aren’t a web developer.
Once that’s done, head back over to Search Console and click verify.
You should receive the following message.
Once that’s done, you’re all set up. You just need to configure your Search Console account to get the most out of it, now.
NOTE: If you get a “We weren’t able to verify your property” error, it could be related to a cache issue. Give it a few hours and try clicking verify again. It should work now.
2 things to do in Search Console right away
1. Submit your sitemap to Google.
Submitting your sitemap to Google is probably the easiest, and most important thing you can do in your Search Console account.
Sitemaps are files that give search engines and web crawlers important information about how your website is structured. Sitemaps can also include metadata, with details about your site such as information about images and video content, and how often your site is updated.
Submitting your XML sitemap to Google is important. It allows Google to index and crawl your website more efficiently, and more effectively. The sitemap tool in Search Console will also highlight errors in your sitemap, if there are any.
To find your sitemap, enter your URL into the search bar of your browser and add /sitemap.xml to the end of it. For example, http://agoramarketingmasters.com would become http://agoramarketingmasters.com/sitemap.xml.
Press enter, and it should redirect to the correct url and open your sitemap page.
Copy everything after / on the URL for your sitemap page and head over your Google Search Console.
NOTE: If you don’t have a sitemap set up for your website, please reach out, and we can talk you through setting one up.
In Search Console, go to Crawl > Sitemaps
Then go to add/test sitemap on the right-hand side of the page.
Enter in the section of the URL you copied and click submit.
Refresh the page and you’ll now be able to see that your sitemap is added.
2. Linking Google Analytics with Google Search Console
Integrating Google Analytics and Search Console provides four additional reports within Google Analytics.
- Landing Pages Report
- Countries Report
- Devices Report
- Queries Report
The Landing Pages, Countries, and Devices reports merge the Search Console dimensions Impressions, Clicks, CTR and Average Position with the Google Analytics dimensions Sessions, Bounce Rate, Pages/Session and the Conversion metrics of Goal Completions, Goal Value and Goal Conversion Rate for either all or specific goals.
The Landing Pages report is arguably the best report in Google Analytics. It allows you to see your most valuable pages. It shows you what pages generate the most traffic and what pages produce the most conversions. It also allows you too quickly, and easily, see which pages need extra attention – for instance pages with a low conversion rate, pages that are bringing in tons of traffic but few conversions, and pages with a high bounce rate.
The “Countries Report” gives the Analytics dimensions above broken down by country, while the “Devices Reports” breaks it down between desktop, tablet and mobile. The Devices Report is great for seeing if your website is really mobile friendly, or if there are issues converting readers on mobile.
The “Queries Report” provides direct access to Search Console query data. It gives an overall list of all search queries with Clicks, Impressions, CTR, and Average Position. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give any Google Analytics dimensions data as visits are not tracked at the keyword level.
To link your Analytics and Google Search Console Accounts, you’ll need to log into your Analytics account and click on Admin on the left-hand side.
Next, you’ll need to select the property that you want to link and click on property settings.
Once in property settings, you’ll need to scroll down to the Search Console section and click on the Adjust Search Console button.
In Search Console Settings, click Add.
Choose your Search console site.
Adding Google Search Console is the first step towards better SEO, but there are many more. In the coming weeks, I’ll be discussing more SEO quick wins that can help you boost your site’s optimization, increase traffic and conversations.
So, keep an eye out for the next SEO article in which I will discuss structured data, more commonly known as Schema Mark-up – a standardized type of code that makes it easier for search engines to crawl, organize, and display your content.
In the meantime, if you are part of The Agora, you can reach out to me to request your free Google Analytics audit.