Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) should be one of the first things you setup when you create a new website. It’s the best way to let Google know about your website and make sure your code is setup to index properly. Once setup you get access to Search Traffic, Inbound/Internal Site links, Site Keywords and more. It’s basically the tool you can use to see how the search engines view your site and how well your site is indexing from a technical perspective.
So let’s get started setting it up.
First, you’ll need a google account. Most people have one, but if not, they’re free so go ahead and sign up for one.
Step 1: Go to the Search Console Home (click here)
Step 2: You’ll see a form field to enter your web address. Put the entire URL including the “http://” and “www” if that’s the main url you selected. Click “Add Property”.
Step 3: Verify that you own and control the website. If you have access to the domain registrar, you can use their recommended method, but I like to use the alternate method of uploading an html file with Google’s code in it. This just seems to work better and more reliably for me. Instructions for this are below this image.
For the file upload option, click the “Alternate Methods tab, then select the “HTML file upload” option and follow the instructions (requires FTP access).
Now that you’re setup, the first thing you’ll want to do is add your sitemap so Google will index your website. To do this, go to the “Crawl” section on the left sidebar and select “Sitemaps”. On the top right corner of that page, you’ll see a button that says “Add/Test Sitemap”. When you click that you’ll see a place to enter the path to your sitemap file. You can test it if you want, but when you’re ready, click the “Submit” button.
Once you submit the sitemap and refresh the page, you should see a page that details the amount of pages you have on your website. It will also show you any errors you have and give you some indications as to what the error type is and where it can be found.
From here, you may not see anything if your site is new or has never been indexed before. If you don’t see anything in a day or so, you may log back in and look around for any errors or indications of what is going on.