Google Search Console (aka Google Webmaster Tools as it was previously called) is a very important tool for SEO.
Depending on when you started blogging or your online business, you might remember that you used to be able to see the search terms that would lead visitors to your site. Now all you see is the dreaded “not provided” keyword.
Which let’s be real here, is ABSOLUTELY no help.
What I find interesting, is that many bloggers and online business owners have never even heard of Google Search Console or its previous version Webmaster Tools. Or if they have, it is a complete mystery as to what it is actually used for.
What is the Google Search Console?
Basically it is a service offered by Google that helps you monitor your website’s presence in the Google Search Results.
But what does that really mean?
It means that Google is giving you a little backstage pass. You can verify that your content is being indexed (or shown on the search results pages), find any crawl errors (or any issues that is making your site not readable for Google – think 404 errors), see which keywords people search for that you come up for in the results, submit your sitemaps and so much more.
Why do I need it?
There are many reasons why you should use Google Search Console but I am going to keep this simple!
- It’s FREE
- It helps you analyze search traffic since Google Analytics no longer shows you the search terms
- It is where you submit your XML sitemaps
- You can find URL errors, such as 404 pages
- And really if you have a website, then you should be using it
How to Set Up Google Search Console
The good news is, it is WAY easier than you think!
1. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed. I have an easy to follow post that walks you through how to install it on WordPress and Blogger.
2. Go to Google Search Console and sign in with your Google Account (the same one you used for Google Analytics). You should land on a page like this, but it should be empty and have no properties listed.
3. To add your site, click the red “ADD A PROPERTY” button in the top right-hand corner. Make sure it is set to “Website” and then type in your URL. For example, http://www.blogmelovely.com. Then click “Add.”
4. Now you need to verify that you own the site. And this is why you need to have Google Analytics already installed because it makes it SUPER easy. To verify ownership, make sure that you click the “Alternate methods” tab and select “Google Analytics.” Then click “Verify.”
5. If it was verified successfully, you should see a success message like below. Click “Continue.”
6. You will be taken to the dashboard of Google Search Console for your newly added site! There won’t be any information in it yet because it will take a couple of days to populate, but you should see a similar screen.
7. Now, do this same process again but for the other version of your URL. So if you verified http://www.blogmelovely.com, then you will verify http://blogmelovely.com. The steps are EXACTLY the same. You want to do this so you can set up your preferred version. Personally, I like the “www” so I have that set to my primary. If you type in “blogmelovely.com” you will be directed to “www.blogmelovely.com.”
8. Click the Gear Icon in the top right hand corner and then select “Site Settings.”
9. Simply choose your preference and click “Save!”
10. Repeat for the other version of your site.I just learned what Google Search Console is, why I should use it and how to install it! #rockstar Click To Tweet
Setting up Google Search Console is a very important step for any website. I will be creating a few other posts on how to make the most of this tool later on so don’t worry if you feel completely lost.
Do you have Google Search Console set up for your site?