Webmaster Tools Get a New Name
Have you ever heard of Webmaster Tools? If you’re familiar with Webmaster Tools, than you already know that Search Console is the same thing, just renamed/rebranded.
In May of 2015, in order to more accurately reflect the wide range of users for whom it is useful, Google Webmaster Tools was renamed to Search Console.
Google Search Console is a great free tool that gives you a ton of information about your website and your visitors. You can do things like find out how many people are visiting your site, how they’re finding it, what they are searching for when they find you, and what pages are common for mobile and desktop. This tool is also great for helping you to find and fix bugs, submitting a sitemap, and checking your robot.txt files.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at Search Console and what it can do for you.
Setting up a New Site with Search Console
If you haven’t used Search Console before, you’ll need to take these two steps to get started.
- Add your Site (Domain or URL)
- Verify your Site (through different methods).
These two actions will help Google determine if your site is hosted on the same domain as a property, whether you’re the site owner, webmaster, or some other registered user. Google does this because, after being verified, Google gives out tons of sensitive information.
To add a new site within Search Console, you’ll open Search Console, click Start Now, click down carrot, + Add Property, and add your site’s URL via the Domain option (which is the better option) or URL prefix. Next, you’ll need to verify your site. You can verify your site with Google Analytics, a HTML file on your site, a domain provider, or Google tag manager.
Uploading HTML Tag
First, choose the verify with Domain or URL. Then, scroll down to see the HTML Tag option. To verify, you’ll download the tag, add the file to your website’s homepage, and click Verify. After this, Google will check to see that the site has been verified. Also, remember that after you’ve verified your site, do not delete the HTML tag from your site because it will cause your site to become unverified.
Verifying with an HTML File
After you choose to verify with Domain or URL, you’ll be presented with a HTML File verification option. To verify, you’ll download the file, add the file to your website’s server, and click Verify. If everything has been uploaded correctly, you will see a page letting you know the site has been verified. Also, remember that after you’ve verified your site, do not delete the HTML file from your site. This will cause your site to become unverified.
Verifying Through Your Domain Name Provider
Where did you buy your website’s domain from? This could GoDaddy, Namecheap, or somewhere else. That’s your domain name provider. To verify by Domain Provider, scroll down until you see that action, copy the TXT record, and upload that TXT record to your domain provider. If you need help doing this, you can call or email your Domain Provider and ask them to do this for you. Once you’ve done that, click Verify. You’re all good!
Verifying Through Google Analytics
Are you already using Google Analytics? If you are, it’s probably easiest to Verify using Google Analytics. However, before clicking the verify option, you might want to first make sure that the GA code is located within the <Head> section of your homepage, not the <Body> section. Otherwise, you’ll have to switch the GA code to the <Head>.
To verify with Google Analytics, just scroll down to that option and click Verify. Google will immediately tell if there’s any issue. Once your site has been verified, do not remove the GA code from your site, or it will cause your site to become unverified.
Verifying Through Google Tag Manager
If you’re still using Google Tag Manager (GTM), this could be the best option for you. This method must be attempted when View, Edit, and Manage permissions are allowed in GTM. Make sure the GTM code is put after your site’s <Body> in the Search Console, select “Monitor,” then “Check this site.”
Linking Search Console and Google Analytics Together
Contrary to popular opinion, Google Analytics and Google Search Console are not the same thing.
Google Analytics is all about those how many people are coming to your site, how long they stay, and what pages they are looking at on your site.
Search Console is all about how people are finding your site in Google. What keywords are they searching for when they find your site? How high are you in Google (locally) for these specific keywords.
To get the biggest bang for your buck, you definitely link together. To do this, click on the site you’re trying to connect. Look for the gear icon, click on it, and choose “Google Analytics Property.” Immediately, you’ll see a list of Google Analytics accounts associated with your Google account. Just choose the right Google Analytics account and Save it. That’s it. From then on, both accounts will be linked together and pull data from each other.
Connecting Your Sitemap
Sitemaps are files that provide search engines and spiders/crawlers with vital details about your site’s content structure and website. As you can imagine, sitemaps are critical for doing SEO on your website. Sitemaps provide information about images, videos, and pages on your site, how often these assets are updated, and if they are loading correction.
To add a sitemap, click Sitemaps, enter the URL of your sitemap, and click Submit. From there, Google will start checking your site to see if there are any issues.
What’s Your SEO Score?
Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.