If your brand or business has a website, then you need a way to measure marketing results. And nobody has more free, effective webmaster tools ready to help you monitor and maintain your online presence than Google, and particularly Google Search Console.
Tools like Google Search Console; a free service that helps you optimise visibility and keep tabs on the indexing status of your website. In this guide we’re going to walk through how to set up Google search console – the question on the lips of most first time online-marketers.
Why you need to set up Google Search Console
Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), Google Search Console is a way for business owners, webmasters and marketing professionals to see how their site is performing. And who’s been visiting.
Google Search Console lets you know how people find your site. Shows you how they interact with it. And tells you what devices are being used to get there.
Google Search Console helps find page errors and broken links. It lets you know how your site is ranking with search engines. And how many users have clicked on it in search results.
It’s the ultimate source for useful data that helps improve online marketing efforts across the board.
If you’re already a user of Google Analytics, you’ll be happy to know that Google Search Console is more than just a compatible technology. It’s practically a companion piece.
And with Google Analytics and Google Search Console working together, you’ll have access to all the data needed to start seeing the dramatic SEO results you’re chasing.
How to set up Google Search Console
Getting started with Google Search Console for your website is easy. In fact, you’re just five simple steps away from getting way more out of your SEO efforts.
- Set up your Google Account
Whether you’re looking to submit a sitemap or want to discover which pages on your site are most popular, the first step to setting up any kind of analytics for your site is to open a Google account.
And if you’re reading this, chances are you already have one. But in the event that you don’t – don’t worry. It’s easy. Just a few quick clicks and you’re done.
Just go to Google.com and ‘Sign in’. Choose ‘Create an account’ and complete the simple form. That’s it. Once you have a Google account in place, you’ll have access to tools and services like Gmail, different applications and of course, Google Search Console.
- Add your website to Google Search Console
Once signed in to Google, it’s time to add your new website address. If you’re an existing Google account holder, you’ll just need to add the new address where previous websites are listed.
If you’re a new user, and this is the first website you’re adding to Google Search Console, just click ‘Add a property’ and enter the URL of your website.
Google Search Console will then treat your website as a property moving forward in order to distinguish it from other apps.
But be doubly sure as this stage to enter your full web address correctly. And check it twice. Because if you make a mistake here, every step thereafter will be for nothing and you’ll need to start again.
- Verify your ownership of website
You’ve entered the URL. Now you to need to prove you own it. It’s a crucial step, because Google needs to know who has a right to access data.
As the site’s owner, you have full control over a property. It’s possible to assign access to other people. But it’s something you’ll need to inform Google about first.
Other users are able to view data and take other limited actions. But they don’t have full control and can’t add new users themselves. That power is reserved exclusively for the owner of a property on Google Search Console.
When it comes to verifying ownership, you have a couple of options.
If you’re already a Google Analytic user, click ‘Alternate methods’ and find the option for ‘Google Analytics’. From there it’s as simple as clicking the ‘Verify’ button and you’re good to go.
But if you don’t use Google Analytics, you’ll need to choose another option.
Like HTML tag for WordPress websites. You’ll find this on the same list of ‘Alternative Methods’. From there, verification is simple. Copying the text from line to the Head section on your homepage will create a new meta tag for your website. Once that’s created, go back to the setup page of Google Search Console from where you have copied the link. Now, simply click the ‘Verify’ button and you’re straight.
And lastly, there’s a third option for verification. From the ‘Recommended Methods’ list, you’ll need to download the HTML verification file and then upload it into the root directory in the file system of your domain. Hosted websites will have guides for that. Once done, check your status and click the ‘Verify’ button to confirm.
- Optimise the search of your website
Google Search Console can significantly improve the search position of your website. There’s just so much you can do with it!
From selecting your primary target country and sharing access with others from the same domain to better website indexing or refining your settings, add apps, Google Search Console if filled with useful features designed to optimise your site.
Important features like the Search Analytics report; a convenient tool that analyzes your search status and finds ways how to improve it. It shows you which websites have the highest position in search engines results. And why.
The Search Analytics report also tells you what your status is, which keywords you rank best for, and so much more.
- Monitor and analyze search results
Once you’ve educated yourself on how to set up Google search console and actually got it in place, it’s important to monitor and analyze your search results in Google Search Console. And using the Search Analytics report, it’s possible to see how many visitors came from Google to your website. And which search words or phrases are being used in those searches.
If you know the keywords you’re ranking best for, then it’s possible to create content around them. And tailored content like that will help give you an even higher position with search engines results. And as a result – boost your traffic.
Google Search Console also has an Index Status which shows how many pages are indexed by Google Search Console. And how this changes over time;. all information can help you to better optimise your website for SEO.