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How to add your WordPress website to Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC), formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a free Google tool that lets you do a variety of SEO-focused activities.

You can:

  • Understand how your website is performing in Google Search
  • Get insights search analytics like impressions, clicks, and other metrics
  • See if your website has been crawled and indexed
  • View issues or errors that are impacting your website’s presence in search results
  • Determine if search enhancements like structured data, AMP, or others have been indexed by Google

Getting started with Google Search Console

Google needs to make sure you actually own (or manage) the website before it will give you access to Google Search Console. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to get your website connected to GSC. We recommend adding your domain to GSC. This method requires DNS verification. If you don’t have DNS access, that’s ok! There are many ways to connect your website to Google Search Console.

Before you jump to setup steps, you’ll need to first make sure you have a Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll want to to create one before you do anything else.

Add your website to Google Search Console using one of the following methods:

Add your domain to Google Search Console with DNS

  1. Visit Google Search Console and click Start Now. You’ll be presented with this screen:
  2. Under Domain, enter the web address of your WordPress website.
  3. Click Continue.
  4. When the “Verify domain ownership via DNS record” modal appears, click Copy.
  5. Add the TXT record to your DNS.
  6. Return to Google Search Console and click Verify.
  7. When prompted, click Go To Property.
    Google Search Console ownership verified modal
  8. Start using Google Search Console.

Add your website to Google Search Console with an HTML file

  1. Visit Google Search Console and click Start Now.
  2. Under URL prefix, enter the web address of your WordPress website.
  3. When prompted, download the HTML file.
    HTML File
  4. Upload the HTML file to the root directory of your WordPress website. You can usually do this by logging into cPanel and then using FTP or a file manager.
  5. Return to Google Search Console and click Verify.
  6. When prompted, click Go To Property.
  7. Start using Google Search Console.

Add your website to Google Search Console with Google Tag Manager

  1. Visit Google Search Console and click Start Now.
  2. Under URL prefix, enter the web address of your WordPress website.
  3. When prompted, select Google Tag Manager.
    Google Tag Manager
  4. Click Verify.
  5. When prompted, click Go To Property.
  6. Start using Google Search Console.

Add your website to Google Search Console using an HTML tag

  1. Visit Google Search Console and click Start Now.
  2. Under URL prefix, enter the web address of your WordPress website.
  3. When prompted, select HTML tag.
  4. Copy the meta tag Google provides.
    HTML Tag
  5. Add the tag to the <head> section of your website’s home page:
    • If you’re able to edit the theme directly, you can add the tag through header.php.
    • You can add the snippet to the <head> section using a plugin like Header and footer scripts.
    • Alternately, some SEO plugins like Yoast or All In One SEO Pack will let you add the unique ID from the tag so you’re able to verify the website without having to edit the theme’s code.
  6. Once you have the tag added, or unique ID put into your SEO plugin, click Verify.
  7. When prompted, click Go To Property.
  8. Start using Google Search Console.

Add your website to Google Search Console using Google Analytics

  1. Make sure Google Analytics in on your website. You can use Google Tag Assistant to confirm Google Analytics is on your website.
  2. Visit Google Search Console and click Start Now.
  3. Under URL prefix, enter the web address of your WordPress website.
  4. When prompted, select Google Analytics.
    Google Analytics
  5. Click Verify.
  6. When prompted, click Go To Property.
  7. Start using Google Search Console.

Exploring Google Search Console

Below, we’ll take a closer look at what you can do with GSC.

Jump to a section:

Overview

When you log in to Google Search Console, you’ll be presented with the dashboard overview.

From the left menu, you can access the following reports and tools:

  • Performance
  • URL inspection
  • Index
  • Enhancements
  • Security and Manual Actions

Google Search Console Dashboard

Performance

This report provides search analytics for your website. You can see how your website is performing in Google Search. You can view your impressions, clicks, average CTR (click-through rate), and average position. Other search analytics are accessible from this report as well. Keep in mind you can set filters at the top to narrow down results.

Google Search Console Performance

Scroll down and you’ll find tables with data for the extra filters:

Filtered Table

This is helpful for learning more about your audience and whether or not you’re reaching the right people with your site.

For example, use the Queries list to track your keyword optimization efforts. If you’re spending time mapping keywords to content, this data tells you if visitors are using your search terms and, further, clicking through to your site from Google.

URL Inspection

The URL inspection tool lets you dig into more information on a specific URL that belongs to your website. This lets you to get a quick idea of how well any given page on your site (or the site as a whole) is doing in search:

  • Is it indexed?
  • Is it searchable?
  • Is it mobile-friendly?

URL Inspection

Coverage

The coverage report tells you if any of your submitted pages have not been indexed, if Google experienced issues crawling or indexing your pages, and more.

Coverage Errors

Sitemaps

Although Google will likely find your website by crawling it, uploading an XML sitemap to Google Search Console is a proactive step to take, to encourage Google to crawl pages on included in your sitemap. You can usually, easily generate an XML sitemap with an SEO plugin.

Sitemaps

Mobile Usability

Mobile usability is incredibly important as Google prioritizes indexing websites that are designed to be mobile-first.

Mobile Usability

If Google reveals any errors in the list below, fix them immediately to make sure you’re giving your website the best chance to show up in the SERPs.

Mobile Errors

Security and Manual Actions

A vulnerability on your website will not only harm the user experience, but it can get your site blacklisted in search. Or, if you were caught doing something against Google’s webmaster guidelines, you could receive a Manual Action against your website.

Security Issues

Links

Links still play a significant role in plays a big role in SEO. The links report in GSC can provide beneficial insights. You can

Google Search Console breaks down links into the following categories:

  • External links: which pages other websites link to most often on your site
  • Internal links: your own URLs that you link to most frequently on the website
  • Top linking sites: which websites promote links to your website
  • Top linking text: the link text other websites use when linking back to you

Internal links are great for improving navigation and the user experience on site. External links are great for building authority — you just have to make sure those websites are well-trusted and linking to your site responsibly.

Links

Moving forward with GSC

There you have it: you now know how to get started with Google Search Console and what it can do for you.

If you run into any problems setting up your website in Google Search Console, get in touch with Expander Digital. We can help!

Josh Gellock

Josh is the SEO and Content Strategist at Expander Digital, an SEO studio he founded in 2014. He's been in the SEO space for over seven years and helps businesses drive website traffic from organic search. When he’s not meeting with clients, you can find Josh spending time with his children or on a bike.

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