Quick Tutorial: How to Setup Google Search Console for Your Blog
If you’re wanting to set up Google Search Console for your blog, you came to the right place!
In this article, we are going to break down the setup process into simple steps that you can implement in just a few minutes. Setting up GSC can be a little tech-y, so hold onto your hats and try to stay calm!
First, let’s answer the important question: does every blogger need to use Google Search Console (GSC)?
The easy answer is YES, but let’s talk about the value of this amazing free tool for a sec.
WHAT IS GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
Google Search Console is a free tool that is provided by Google to help you troubleshoot, manage, and improve your website’s appearance in search engines. Google describes it like this:
“Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results. You don’t have to sign up for Search Console to be included in Google Search results, but Search Console helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site.”
In other words, Google is giving us a free glimpse into how they view our website and where our website stands in terms of search results.
And then, they’re giving us insider information about how to make improvements to our website to stay on the good side of search engines.
Here are just a few of the insights and abilities you are going to get from this tool:
- Confirmation that Google can find and crawl your blog/pages of your site
- The ability to fix index problems and request indexing of new/updated content
- The ability to view traffic data for your blog
- The ability to see how often your site appears in search results on Google
- The ability to see which search queries bring up your blog in search results and how often searchers click through for those queries
- Alerts when Google encounters major issues on your site
- Reports showing you which sites link to your website, and more…
Do you HAVE TO use Google Search Console to be successful?
But it’s an incredibly powerful (and free) tool that is helpful for your site SEO.
So yes, you should set it up for your blog ASAP.
If you haven’t already added your website to Google Search Console, follow the steps below to get started today.
SETUP GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
First and foremost, it needs to be said: anything technical like this, can come with some hassle and headache. You might get an error while going through these steps, verification might fail, your screen might not look exactly like my pictures, etc.
Try not to panic.
Panic helps no one, and it certainly doesn’t help YOU grow your blog.
Stay calm, take deep breaths, and always lean on Google’s step-by-step tutorials as a backup.
Quite honestly, the guides are a bit dry, wordy, and boring, which is why I created this easy tutorial to bring some life to this (somewhat tedious) task!
If you want to review the walkthrough from Google, their GSC setup guide is here.
But, my guide is more fun, so let’s get to it!
STEP ONE: SIGN IN TO GOOGLE ACCOUNT
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand times.
If you are a blogger or creator of any kind, you absolutely NEED a Google account for your blog.
You can use this free account to set up:
- Gmail (for business emails)
- Google Drive (for storting all files, using word/excel/pp etc)
- Google Analytics (for tracking traffic)
- Google Search Console (for troubleshooting and improving your site)
- And more!
If you ever decide to sell your blog, this makes it easier because all of your stats and records for the blog are stored within these sites attached to your central Google account.
And if you keep the site forever, this helps with your own business records and efficiency.
STEP TWO: GO TO GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
If you already have a Google account/Gmail account, login to that account and then follow this Google Search Console link to get started with the setup process.
When you click the link above, it’s going to take you to a page that looks like this:
You’ll have the option to add your property via two different methods: via your domain or via a URL prefix.
You only need to pick one of them, but here are some quick definitions that will come in handy as you’re going through this tutorial.
DOMAIN: your website name/address without the http, https, or www. This site domain is sweetandsimplelife.com.
SUBDOMAIN: an extension added to your domain. Example: m.sweetandsimplelife.com or shop.sweetandsimplelife.com
DOMAIN PROPERTY: the umbrella term for a website property and its subdomains without the protocol http:// or https://. This is essentially the same as your domain, but includes your subdomains under this definition. Example: the domain property for this site is sweetandsimplelife.com.
DOMAIN- LEVEL PROPERTY: not to be confused with domain property (similar but not the same). This is your domain search console property that may or may not include the protocol http: or https://. So, for example: https://sweetandsimplelife.com or http://sweetandsimplelife.com
URL: the address of a specific webpage on your site. The domain is the name of your site and your site URLs are the path leading to various pages within that site. Example: https://sweetandsimplelife.com/how-to-start-a-blog-that-makes-money/ is the URL of a page within my site.
URL PREFIX: the protocol that appears before your domain name. Example, http:// or https://.
If that all sounds like stressful gibberish, ignore it and move on. We only started with those brief definitions to clarify WHY we recommend choosing the domain option for property selection.
We recommend this option because this sets up your Google Search Console at the domain-level property, which includes all of your subdomains, prefixes, protocols. Essentially, it covers all aspects of your website, which is exactly what we want!
Add your domain name to this box on the left and click Continue.
NOTE ABOUT URL PREFIX
If you select the URL Prefix option for setup, then it’s only going to create a property for that one URL on your site, which can potentially skew the data that we’re looking to collect.
If you have no other option, it’s fine to use the URL Prefix option, but try to set up via the domain option first.
And if you have to use the URL prefix option, make sure you create a GSC property for each of the following four URLs, to ensure accurate stats for your overall website:
You’ll also need to create a property for any subdomains you use on the site. Basically, you will be repeating this Google Search Console set up process for each of the additional URLs that you want to track.
Not ideal, but if you have to do it this way, it’s fine.
STEP THREE: VERIFY OWNERSHIP
To use Google Search Console, you have to prove that you own that domain.
GSC is going to be providing data that only the domain owner should have access to, so you need to prove that this site belongs to you before moving forward.
You added your domain name to the box on the left. A verification box will pop up that looks like this:
This box is giving you the info that you need to use to verify ownership via your domain provider (whoever you bought your domain name from or wherever your domain is pointed).
Before doing anything else, hit that drop down arrow and see if your domain provider is on the list.
If so, click on it for step by step instructions on how to verify through that provider.
If you bought your domain from a company that’s not on the list, like Namecheap, then you’ll have to do this manually.
And you CAN do this!
Copy that string of text in the verification box and head over to the site where you bought your domain name.
Each domain provider is setup different and has a slightly different layout for accessing and managing your domain name, but generally speaking, you want to find the area where you can manage the domain name you purchased from them.
In Namecheap, it’ll look something like this (click on Manage).
You’ll click on Manage and add the TXT records under the DNS section. Follow these steps directly from Namecheap to accomplish this.
Even if you purchased your domain name from a site like Namecheap, if your domain name is pointing to the nameservers of a different website host, you’ll need to verify through them.
I know, it’s a confusing mess, but read that again!
Example: I purchased my domain name through Namecheap but I pointed the domain to Namehero (my website host).
Since my domain is pointing to Namehero, I’m going to verify through my Namehero cpanel.
If you are a visual learner, follow this video tutorial below to see how I did this step-by-step!
If you’re verifying ownership through Namehero, follow these steps.
I just did this for my husband’s website and it worked perfectly. Add that TXT to your DNS records in Namehero (or whatever host your domain is pointing to).
Then go back to the Google Search Console page where you started this verification process and hit the Verify button.
NOTE ABOUT VERIFYING
Sometimes, it takes a few hours to update the DNS records, so IF you hit that verify button and it fails, don’t stress!
Come back in 15 minutes to an hour and try again.
Once verified, you’ll see this page – congratulations! You are set up.
If you want to see this magic happen in real time, head back to the Youtube Tutorial linked above – my site gets verified LIVE on camera (which feels sooooo good)!
After your property is set up in Google Search Console, you’re ready to roll! We’ll dig into using this tool and growing your traffic with this tool in another article.
HOW TO ACCESS GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
After you’re all signed up, how do you get back into the dashboard to view your data?
Login to your Google account and then go to this Google Search Console sign-in page.
That’s it. Site verified! GSC account ready to roll!
Now, let the traffic start flowing and keep an eye on this data regularly so you can keep growing that blog of yours!
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