When it comes to the world of conducting business online, Google today is, in some or the other way, present in every single field of online business.
Google has played a massive role to advance our civilization deeper into the digital realm, and it maintains a dominating presence in almost all spheres of services that help people conduct online business. One such service is its suite of tools called Google Search Console.
Google Search Console, previously called Google Web-Master Tools, is a free web service that allows website owners, digital marketers, and developers to understand how they are performing on Google Search.
Search Results are based on website rankings that the Google Algorithm is responsible for. And, the Google Search Console helps you with data, and guidance that will help you get better ranking. When a new website (or any edit in the website) is discovered by Google, Google bots crawl over them for indexing.
Crawling is the process of discovery of new pages by Google bots to be added to the Google index. The crawl results in a massive index of all the words discovered by the bots, and their location on each page. Indexing is the process by which Google “understands” what your website is offering by keeping a record of your pages.
Google analyses everything from the content, images, and videos while indexing. And, it is essential for you to have Google understand your website optimally in order to attract relevant audience in volume, as Google will not rank something that it does not think is right for the viewer.
To help your website have a higher position on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), it will give you information about the search queries, and the keywords that will bring your target audience to your site. The console is also capable of keeping a record of your content, and it will notify you if your content looks irrelevant.
It also gives you the power to have the bots selectively crawl your content in order to have indexing on those particular pieces of content. It will help you keep bugs off your sites by giving you information about errors, and how to fix them.
The Google Search Console is an essential tool for bloggers, digital marketers, and even website developers. Okay, it is a thing of beauty… But how does it help you with your business? Through this series of blogs, we will try to understand what Google Console can do, and how you can use it for your business.
But before we do that, let us start with how you can set up your Google Search Console Account –
> Go to: https://search.google.com/search-console, and click on the “Sign in to Search Console” button.
> Log-in using Gmail Account.
Your GSC Account setup is done.
> Once you’re in, you will see the “Welcome to Google Search Console” page which requires you to add your property to Google Search Console.
> If you do not have a property on GSC, you need to click on “+ Add Property”, to the Property Type Selection box.
- Domain Property Type will compile all combinations of your domain under one property. E.g., your domain (all your sub-domains, http, and https.)
It is advisable to add a domain property to represent your website as it gives the most in-depth view of your website.
- URL prefix property type that allows only specific URLs. Easier to set up, but will set-up your subdomains separately, useful if you want to track subdomains.
This method is recommended if you’d like to separately view (or have someone else separately view) sections of your website.
> Click “CONTINUE” under your choice of method after entering the URL.
After this step, you will be required to verify your site. There are eight ways to do that.
How to Verify your Site Ownership in Google Search Console?
For this process, you need to have permission to upload a file to your website. To follow this process, you will have to upload a special user-specific HTML file to your website.
Add your website URL under the URL prefix property type, and then click “Continue”.
Download the HTML verification file in the HTML file section, and upload it to the root directory of the property you want to verify.
Click “VERIFY” in the Search Console.
Verification, in this case, should be done immediately. Check potential errors by following the “Full details” link.
For this, you will need permission to edit the source code of your website’s homepage.
Enter the URL under the URL Prefix property type, and click “Continue”.
Find the <meta> HTML tag under the HTML Tag section, and copy it.
Paste this into your home-page head-tag.
Click “VERIFY”, after you are done.
Expect immediate verification. Check errors if that does not happen.
This process can be followed for both, Domain, and URL Prefix property types.
In the instructions dialogue, you will see a list of common DNS Providers.
If your DNS provider is listed, you will go through a quicker, automated verification process. Just choose your DNS provider, and click on “Start Verification”, which will lead you to their login page, where you need to enter your DNS credentials to sign-in.
Click “Authorize” to complete the process, and be redirected to Search Console.[Note: after you’re done with this process, the verification might take a few hours or even days.]
If your DNS Provider in not on the list, you will have to manually copy the TXT record given in the instructions dialogue, into the DNS Configuration of your site’s domain.
[Click “Full Details” in the instructions dialogue to learn how to do that for your specific DNS provider]
And, then press “VERIFY” on the instructions dialogue.
In case your Google account already is linked to a Google Analytics account, with at least an edit permission, you can verify your site on Google Search Console using this method.
Before you verify, ensure the head section of your site’s home page has the Google Analytics Tracking Code by looking at the source code of the page.
Now, simply go to the “+ Add Property” box, and enter your URL under the URL Prefix Property type. Click “Continue”. And et voila! Your site ownership will be auto-verified.
If you have a Google Tag Manager Account, you can verify the ownership of your site using your Google Tag Manager Container Snippet. You must have publish permission, for the Google Tag Manager on your site home page.
Before verifying, ensure that your website’s homepage has the no-script portion of the Tag-Manager code, right after the opening body tag. Enter your URL in the URL prefix option, and click “Continue”.
In the “Verify Ownership” box, select “Google Tag Manager”, and click “VERIFY”.
Log into the Google Search Console with the same Google Account you use over Google Sites.
Add your website URL under the URL prefix option, and click “Continue”.
Your site will be automatically verified.
Log-into the Google Search Console with the same Google Account you use on Blogger.
Add your website URL under the URL prefix option, and click “Continue”.
Your blog will be automatically verified.
If you register a domain over Google Domains, any property is verified automatically when you add it to Google Search Console.
Okay, so now you’re set up. What now?
Let us learn about the tools provided by the Google Search Console, and how to use them in the next part of this series of Google Search Console blogs.