Google Search Console – Setup, Verification, and Basics
Do you already know why you need to setup your Console account? If yes, you can directly skip to the steps to find out how to do it. But, if you want to know about the basics of Google console, do read the initial paras to understand about the information Google console can provide you.
Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools and Google Webmaster Central, Google Search Console is a free, indispensable tool by Google to help you understand how it sees your website, direct it to parse your website the way you want it to, and get valuable inputs to improve your site’s performance and SERP rank. Interesting! Isn’t it? What is more interesting are the ways in which search console can be helpful to you.
Search console can help you:
- Understand how Google crawls, indexes, and discovers your website
- Fix any errors that might be preventing Google from crawling, indexing, and ranking your site and ultimately gives great recommendations to fix them
- Submit updated content, even before a scheduled crawl to help Google identify the changes/fixed you’ve made
- Monitor the overall search performance by country, keywords, webpage, etc.
Verifying your site for Console
Are you a newbie to Google search console? If yes, the very first thing you need to do is add your website and verify it. Before you start working with Search Console, you’ll need to verify that you own the site you’re trying to explore the data from. If you own multiple sites, each site is treated as a separate property. There are 2 types of properties available on the Search Console:
|Domain Property||URL Prefix property|
|Includes all subdomains and protocols. That is, applies to pages with http/https/www./m. automatically||Includes only the properties with specified prefixes and protocols. That is if an http is added, https or any other combination of protocol/prefix will not apply.|
|This can be verified via DNS record verification only||This can be verified via various means and provides flexibility in terms of allowing data access for specific parts of the website to specific people.|
Done with adding the site to the property list? Voila! Now, you can use one of the following ways to verify your site.
1.Uploading an HTML file: When you select the URL prefix option and add the URL property, Console will provide a personalized, downloadable HTML file in the HTML section. You can upload it to the root directory of the property you want to verify. Once you add the file to the root directory, all the child directories will be automatically verified. HTML verification is reflected immediately. If it doesn’t, check back on the console for more details on the errors and how to fix them.
2. HTML Tag: To use this method, you’ll need to have the permission to edit the source code of your home page. Console will provide you with an HTML meta tag with a personalized key that you’ll need to paste on the home page’s head tag. Once done, click on the verify button on Google console and the verification should reflect immediately.
3.Editing your DNS settings: If your DNS provider is listed in the drop down, you’ll just need to choose your DNS provider and login to your account there to verify. In case your DNS is not in the drop-down, you can use the DNS text record and follow your host-specific steps listed here by Google. The verification via DNS can take anywhere from a few hours to 2 days to reflect. Don’t be worried if your site isn’t verified immediately. If everything is right, you’ll probably get the verification in a day or two. If you get any errors, refer to the help center for more details.
Once verified, do not remove the tag from your DNS.
4. Adding a Google Analytics tracking code: For this, you’ll need to have a GA account that uses the same Google account as the one you’re using for Console, and edit permissions on GA. You’ll have to add the GA tag in the <head> section of the home page of the domain you’re trying to verify. If your GA code is in the <body> section, you’ll need to move it to <head>. Once the GA code is added to the head section, the property will be verified as soon as you enter the URL of the website in the console.
5. Google Tag Manager snippet: For using this way to verify your site ownership, you’ll need publish permission to your container in GTM. Also, just as in the case of GA, you’ll need to be logged in to Console with the same account you’re using for Google Tag Manager. Add the <noscript> portion of your GTM tag right after the <head> tag of your home page and at the start of the <body> tag. Having this anywhere else will make the verification fail.
6. Google Sites: You can use this option only if you have a classic Google site. This method will not work with the new site. As with the previous two, you need to log in to the Console with the same Google account you use to manage your classic site. It is one of the simplest and fastest options. You just need to add your site URL and your account will be automatically verified. However, in case you have a custom/new site, we recommend you connect with the GA in this case.
7.Blogger: To verify your site with Blogger, login to the Console with the same Google ID you use for Blogger. All you’ll need to do here is add the URL and click on continue, and your site will be automatically verified.
If any one of the verification methods fails, you can always try another. However, if all of your verification methods fail, you’ll lose the access to that property. This can be reversed by re-verifying as a new user. If you have a bigger company, it’s recommended to have more than one verified owner. For any errors you encounter during verification, you can search the Console help center with the error to find ways to fix it.
If one of your employees/agencies leave, make sure to remove their tag so that they will not be able to access your data anymore.
Once you’re verified, you’re all set to make use of the rich reporting features available on the Console and start helping to rank your site higher. Aren’t you excited already?
You can also see reports/data like performance report, AMP status report, sitemaps etc., in the console. To check out our more detailed blog on the reports and their features here (Link to the following blog on console reports).