Last Updated on May 4, 2022 by WP Knowledge Hub
Google Search Console is a free Google tool that helps you with your SEO strategy. It’s important to note that it was formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools.
With Search Console, you can:
- Get a better understanding of how your website is performing in Google Searches
- Get insights your website’s analytics like page views, clicks, and more
- See if your WordPress website has been indexed or even crawled yet
- See all the errors that are impacting your website’s SEO efforts
- Find out if search enhancements like structured data, AMP, or more has been indexed by Google.
How to Get Started with Google Search Console
Before you start, Google will need to check if you own your website before it will grant you access to your Google Search Console account. There are several ways to accomplish this verification to connect your website.
It’s important to know that you can only use Google Search Console if you have a Google account. Once you’ve logged into it, you can use one of the following methods to validate your website ownership:
- DNS verification
- HTML file
- Google Tag Manager
- HTML tag
- Google Analytics
Add your domain to Google Search Console with DNS
1. Visit Google Search Console and click Start Now, and this is the first thing you will see if you are logged into your Google account:
2. Under Domain, enter the web address of your WordPress website. Leave any slashes or any prefixes (https stuff) out of the URL and click continue.
3. When the “Verify domain ownership via DNS record” popup appears, Copy it.
4. Add the TXT record to your DNS. To do this, you need access to your registrar (the place where you bought your domain name), and you’ll need to find the hosting section where you can Manage your DNS records. Under the DNS records, you will see several kinds of records, including A records, CNAME records, MX records, and TXT records. You’ll need to create a new TXT record with the value that you were given by Google.
5. Return to Google Search Console and click Verify. You’ll be asked to Go To Property.
6. You can now start using Google Search Console!
Add your website to Google Search Console using Google Analytics
If you added Google Analytics on your WordPress website first, you can use Google Tag Assistant to confirm Google Analytics is on your website and auto-confirm the verification by entering your full URL in the URL Prefix box from the screenshot above.
When prompted, select Google Analytics.
That’s it! The process should now be auto-completed and you will get a verification message to confirm that you can now use Google Search Console!
Add your website to Google Search Console with an HTML file
If you haven’t connected Google Analytics to your website yet, and you can’t connect Search Analytics with your DNS for some reason, you can try connecting it with an HTML file.
- Visit Google Search Console and click Start Now.
- Under URL prefix, enter the web address of your WordPress website.
- When asked to, download the HTML file.
4. Upload the HTML file to the root directory of your WordPress website. You can do this by logging into your hosting account and using the File Manager, or using a hosting panel like cPanel or Plesk. You can also connect to the server via FTP using an FTP client like FileZilla or Cyberduck.
5. Return to Google Search Console and click Verify.
6. When prompted, click Go To Property, and you can now start using Search Console!
What Google Search Console Has to Offer
In the left sidebar you’ll notice that you have many helpful links to view how your website is performing, and to help you perform better.
This part provides the search analytics for your WordPress website. You can see how your website is performing in Google Searches. You can view your page views, clicks, click-through rate, and average position.
This tool allows you dig into more information on a specific URL that belongs to your website. This gives you a good idea of how well a specific page on your site is doing in web searches
Coverage gives you a report on any errors on your pages and let’s you know if some of your pages are experience issues, such as not being indexed.
Initially, this is the most important reason for using Google Search Console. It allows you to submit your XML sitemaps for indexing. Sitemaps are litterly maps of all your website’s links in a neat little package that you can ask Google to crawl.
It’s ESSENTIAL to get your website of the ground.
To get your sitemap link, you’ll most likely need an SEO plugin installed, such as Yoast SEO, or AIOSEO, and you can get your sitemap link by adding /sitemap.xml to your domain name, example: https://yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml
Mobile usability is incredibly important as Google prioritizes indexing websites that are designed to be mobile-first.
Security and Manual Actions
Your website can be blacklisted in search results if there is a vulnerability on it, not only damaging the user experience. When you violate Google’s webmaster guidelines, you could receive a Manual Action against your website.