How to Add Your WordPress Site to Google Search Console
June 3. 2020
Optimizing your WordPress site properly is of great importance when it comes to the growth of your website. And one of the most important steps towards an optimal WordPress site with regards to the SEO is adding it to Google Seach Console. Once known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Seach Console offers specific webmaster tools to help website owners with monitoring and maintaining their search presence as well as rankings. For this reason, in the following article, we will explain in great detail how you can add your WordPress site to Google Search Console.
Defining Google Search Console
As briefly hinted, Google Search Console is Google’s free tool that serves the purpose of helping website owners to monitor their website’s presence in Google search results. Obtaining this tool will help you track search rankings, but also keep you updated about site errors, security issues, and indexing issues that may affect your website’s search performance. So, if you are adamant about making your website grow, you need to add it to Google webmaster tools starting right now. With that said, let’s see how you ought to go about this task.
Add your WordPress Site to Google Search Console
You will need to start by visiting the Google Search Console website, and proceed with clicking on the ‘Start Now’ button. Upon doing so, you will have to sign in with your Google / Gmail account. After that, you will be asked to enter your website URL. Now, there are two methods for site verification that are the domain name or URL prefix. We personally recommend the latter, as it is more flexible.
You should keep in mind that Google considers an HTTP and HTTPS as two different protocols. In addition, it views https://www.example.com and https://example.com as two different websites. With this in mind, you need to enter the correct website URL used by WordPress. In case you are unsure, there is an easy way to find out the exact URL your need to enter. Just login to your WordPress admin area, and go to Settings > General page. There you will be able to see your website’s URL in the site address field. After you have entered your correct website address in Google webmaster tools setup wizard, proceed with clicking on the ‘Continue’ button to get to the next step. This will take you to the task of verifying ownership of your website. As there are several ways to do that, we will show the HTML tag method, being that it is the easiest one.
Verifying ownership of your website
Click on the HTML tag to expand it and copy the code that is inside it. You will need to add this Google site verification meta tag in WordPress. This will allow Google to verify that you are the owner of the website. Avoid editing the header.php file in your WordPress theme, and adding the code just above the <body> tag. Updating or changing your theme through this method will cause the HTML tag to disappear. Google periodically checks for the HTML tag and will thus disable your access to the site data in the search console if it cannot find the verification tag.
To ensure that Google can always verify your ownership of the website, you will need to install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. After activation, go to Settings > Insert Headers and Footers page, and paste the Google HTML code you have previously copied inside the ‘Scripts in Header’ box. Make sure that you click on the ‘Save’ button to store your changes. You are now free to go back to Google Search Console settings and click on the ‘Verify’ button. Google Search Console will then look for the HTML tag in your website code, and further show you a success message.
If it so happens that you cannot see a success message, you will have to clear your WordPress cache. This action will ensure that Google can fetch the latest version of your website. And that would be all. You have successfully managed to add your WordPress site to the Google Search Console. You can now click on the ‘Go to Property’ link and visit your Google Search Console dashboard. From there you will be able to see your website’s performance reports and index coverage. However, before you do that, it would be wise that you tell Google a little bit more about your website. This is going to help Google crawl your website a bit more efficiently.
Adding XML Sitemap to Google Search Console
An XML sitemap is a file that lists all your website content in XML format. Search engines like Google use this to easily discover and index your content. Now, the easiest way to add an XML sitemap to your WordPress website is through installing and activating the Yoast SEO plugin. After activating it, go to SEO > General and switch to the ‘Features’ tab. From there, you will scroll down to the ‘XML Sitemap’ option and make sure that it is turned on. Then, you will have to obtain an XML sitemap link. To do so, simply click on the question mark icon next to the XML sitemap option, and you will be able to see a link to your XML sitemap. Clicking on this link will, logically, take you to your XML sitemap, where you will be able to copy the URL from your browser’s address bar. Alternatively, you can directly access your XML sitemap by adding ‘sitemap_index.xml’ at the very end of your website address. So, now that you have XML sitemap ready, let’s see how we can help Google find it quickly.
Yours will be to simply switch to the Google Search Console dashboard, and click on the Sitemaps menu from the column on your left. Upon doing so, you will need to add the last part of your sitemap URL under the ‘Add new sitemap’ section, and further click the Submit button. This will cause Google to add your sitemap URL to your Google Search Console. That would be the final step of adding your WordPress site to Google Search Console.