Google Search Console is a valuable tool for SEOs and webmasters alike. It provides a great deal of data and information that can be used to further enhance your website’s positioning on search engine results pages (SERPs) and user experience. And the best part? It’s free! We’ll go over how to set up and verify ownership of your own Google Search Console account in a few simple steps below.

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How to Set Up Google Search Console

Before we get started with setting up your Google Search Console account, we need to preface the verification process and options you can choose from. Ideally, you would want to have a Google Tag Manager account created first. You can verify your Google Search Console that way rather than the other options. It’s not necessary but highly recommended.

This sounds confusing (because it kind of is), but it’s also beneficial, and here’s why — configuring as many scripts through Google Tag Manager instead of individually adding it into your website’s backend code can help identify broken scripts or errors as well as optimize for a better site speed load time (fewer third party scripts on your actual website).

So before you get started with adding a Google Search Console property, create a Google Tag Manager account first! But just as we mentioned before, it’s not necessary so keep reading to find the step-by-step process for setting up Google Search Console.

  1. Navigate to the Google Search Console home page
  2. If you have not made an account yet, you will need to. Click the ‘Start Now’ button to either log in or create a new account. The easiest way to do this is through your Gmail account. (It’s best to use the same email address that is associated with your Google Analytics and Google Tag manager accounts).
  3. Once you have successfully logged into the account, navigate to the top left-hand corner of the page where there is a drop down menu. Click on it and select ‘Add a Property’ that’s featured at the bottom of the menu.
  4. To add a property in Google Search Console, you need to choose the property type: a domain or a URL prefix. 
    Google Search Console setupChoose Domain if you have multiple subdomains and want to capture data for all of the properties and protocols associated with your website (http, https, ftp).If you do not have any subdomains or various protocols associated with your website (this is common after a domain changes or websites migrate from http to https), add a property through the URL prefix option and enter in the entire URL.
  5. Once you enter the URL into the property type you select, it will move into the verification process. Keep reading to learn how to verify ownership of a Google Search Console account.

 

How to Verify Ownership of Google Search Console

Now that you have added a property into Google Search Console, you will be prompted to verify the account. You will have the option to either verify the property immediately or to pause and reconvene at a later time.

If you selected the Domain property type, you will only be able to verify Google Search Console through the DNS Record. If you selected the URL Prefix property type, you will have several options for verifying the account:

  • HTML File
  • HTML Tag
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Tag Manager
  • Domain Name Provider

how to set up google search console
HTML File

This option requires you to download the file provided in the verification window. Then upload it to your website, typically in the root directory. If you are not familiar with how to do this, work with your web developer to upload it properly and ensure that it’s registering. Once it’s uploaded, click verify to complete the verification process and see if it’s accepted or not.  If it’s not accepted, you can troubleshoot this by selecting Potential errors.

Google Search Console setup
HTML Tag

Search Console will provide you with a meta tag to copy and paste onto the home page. It comes with detailed instructions on where to place it: in the <head> section right before the first <body> section. Once the code is in the proper place, click Verify to complete the process.

Google Search Console setup

 

You can also verify Google Search Console using the Google Analytics script and verification ID. You need to meet certain conditions if you choose this method:

Google Search Console setup

  1. Your homepage must contain either your analytics.js or gtag.js snippet.
  2. Your tracking code should be in the <head> section of your page.
  3. You must have the “edit” permission for the Google Analytics property.

You must use the same account for both Google Analytics and Google Search Console and it’s best if the code is as high up as possible in the <head> section of the home page. Click ‘Verify’ to complete the process.

Google Tag Manager

As we mentioned earlier, this is our preferred method of verifying ownership of Google Search Console because it doesn’t require that you add any additional script to your website. It’s also becoming the best practice because webmasters can identify errors with script and troubleshoot it faster. As well as can help improve overall site speed performance.

Google Search Console setup
To verify ownership of your Google Search Console account using Google Tag Manager, your Google Tag Manager container will need to be published. It should identify your container ID to be able to complete the verification process. If your account cannot be verified, a common problem is that the container script is not placed in the proper location of the <head> section. See how to troubleshoot Google Tag Manager verification here.

Domain Name Provider

The last option for verifying ownership of Google Search Console is through the Domain Name Provider. Search Console provides the TXT record that you will need to copy and paste into the DNS configuration of your domain name provider. You will need to log into your domain provider. From there, follow the steps outlined in the dialogue box to verify the Search Console property.

Google Search Console setup
Source: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9008080#verification_details 

 

Now that you have successfully set up Google Search Console, it will take a little bit of time for data to start populating in your account. Check back in a few hours on this, but in the meantime, start exploring! It’s a robust tool with many valuable insights that can elevate your marketing strategy and also maintain your site’s health.

Before you log off, make sure that you upload your XML sitemap into Google Search Console so Google spiders can crawl your website and better understand your web pages! To submit your sitemap into Search Console, follow these steps:

  1. In the left-hand navigation, click on ‘Sitemaps’ under the ‘Index’ section
  2. Paste your sitemap URL into the ‘Add new sitemap’ section at the top of the page
  3. Click submit

Note: You can do this for all the sitemaps associated with your website.

Google Search Console is a valuable tool that both business website owners and agencies can benefit from. And the best part? IT’S FREE! Take advantage of this free tool and use it to enhance your website experience and performance.

 

Let Us Help You Make Sense of the Data

At Boostability, our trusted and proven small business SEO services include setting up and managing tracking platforms, like Google Search Console, that business owners like you retain ownership over. We’re just here to help you better understand the data and use it to advance your SEO strategy!

Whether you are a business owner that needs help getting in front of the right customer on Google, or if you are a business looking to partner with a white label SEO provider that can deliver results to your clients, Boostability is here to help! Click the links below to learn more about our different services and to connect with a team member who can answer your questions.

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Kristine is the Director of Content with Boostability. She brings a decade's worth of communications strategy work to the company. In addition to being a part of the marketing team, Kristine enjoys traveling, sports, and all things nerdy.