How to Properly Add Your Site to Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is formerly known as Google webmaster tools. Submitting your site to Search Console is the first step to get your site found on the web. In this tutorial, I will show you how to properly add your site to Google Search Console so that you get the most out of it for your website.

Add a Property

Go to Google Search Console home page. Login with your Google account. Then click the Add a property button on the upper-right corner.

submit website to google search console

 

Type your site URL. Specify your site URL exactly as it appears in the browser address bar. If it has trailing slash, you must include the trailng slash. If your site is HTTPS enabled, first add the http version and then later add the HTTPS version. Click Add.

google search console add a property

 

Then select a method to verify that you are the owner this domain.

Google Search Console verify your ownership

 

Once the verification is completed, your site is added to Google Search Console.

Improve the Search Presence of Your Site

After the verification process, you will receive a message in Search Console. In that message, you are told to complete 6 steps. They are as follows:

  1. Add all your website versions
  2. Select your preferred version
  3. Select target country
  4. Share access with co-workers
  5. Sumbit a sitemap
  6. Learn how to work with Search Console

The 1st, 2nd and 5th step must be done by every webmaster and I will go over these steps below. The other steps are optional depending on your situation.

Add all your website versions

You must add all versions of your site to Google Search Console. If your site supports https, then you must add the following versions of your site.

  • http://example.com
  • http://www.example.com
  • https://example.com
  • https://www.example.com

If your site don’t support https, then just add the first two versions.

Preferred Domain

Preferred domain is also called canonical domain. It’s the version that you want used for your site in search results. For example, my preferred domain is https://seostepbysteplab.com.

Once you’ve set your preferred domain, it’s recommended that you use 301 permanent redirect to redirect traffic to your preferred domain so that other search engines and visitors can also know your preferred domain. For instance, My preferred domain is https://seostepbysteplab.com, so when people visit my site using the following URL:

  • http://seostepbysteplab.com
  • http://www.seostepbysteplab.com
  • https://www.seostepbysteplab.com

They will be redirected to https://seostepbysteplab.com.

If you use Linux or OS X, you can check your 301 redirect using curl command in the terminal window.

[user@linux ~]$ curl -I https://www.seostepbysteplab.com
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Server: cloudflare-nginx
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 2016 03:39:52 GMT
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Connection: keep-alive
X-UA-Compatible: IE=edge
Location: https://seostepbysteplab.com/
CF-RAY: 26c1e99690ae2300-LAX

As you can see, https://www.seostepbysteplab.com had been permanently moved to https://seostepbysteplab.com. If I check my other two non-preferred domain, they are also permanently moved to my preferred domain.

Sumbit a sitemap

The XML sitemap was first introduced by Google in 2005. It’s an XML file that shows your site structure and plays a very important role for Google to know your site structure and help Googlebot easily crawl your site. You can generate a xml sitemap for your WordPress site using a plugin called Google XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold.

google search console submit xml sitemap

Once you installed and activated Google XML Sitemaps plugin in WordPress, go to Settings > XML-Sitemap. You will see the URL of your sitemap. Copy the URL and submit it in Google Search Console.

wordpress xml sitemap address

The WordPress Yoast SEO plugin can also generate XML sitemaps for your site. If you are using Yoast SEO, then you don’t need to install Google XML sitemaps plugin. In fact, having two sitemaps can cause problem and slow down your site.

In WordPress dashboard, go to SEO > XML Sitemaps, make sure the XML sitemap functionality is enabled and then click XML Sitemap button to see the URL of your sitemap generated by Yoast SEO plugin.

Yoast SEO XML sitemaps

If you see the XML sitemap is not found, then you may need to reset the permalink structure. Go to Settings > Permalinks and click the Save button.

Both Google XML Sitemaps and Yoast SEO XML sitemaps will automatically notify Google and Bing when posts, pages are created or updated. The Yoast SEO plugin can also submit images on your site to Google and other search engines for indexing. So if you are using Yoast SEO plugin, I highly recommend not installing other sitemap plugins.

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