Why do you write your content? To offer solutions to people’s problems. But how do these people find and read it? They mostly use phones to type queries on search engines like Google, after which they will potentially find your site. This is why you should learn how to submit your site to Google the right way.
Now at this point you may have started a blog the right way; configured the necessary settings on WordPress and published a few of your pre-written posts. BUT! Can anyone search and find you? If yes, good! If no, then that is because you haven’t submitted your site to Google in the right way.
You can let Google know your site exists by verifying it with Google Search Console and by submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console.
What is Google Search Console?
Previously known as Google Webmaster tools, this is a free platform that gives webmasters
detailed performance insights regarding their websites. Such useful information helps website owners to curate content based on user intent, therefore getting their sites ranked.
Actionable performance insights may include:
- High-volume/low volume search queries report which shows what search terms are getting users to your pages; how these search terms relate to the content and how you can use them to optimize for Google.
- Pages/posts with excellent or poor search performance.
- Device categories (phones, desktop or tablets) giving the best/worst search results or user engagement. When you notice high search performance with low user engagement from a specific device, that means you should re-evaluate the design of your site or content for that specific device.
- Domains referring to you.
- Countries holding the most user engagement for your pages/posts. If a country has a high search performance but low user engagement that would me changing language preference for that specific country.
What is the difference between Google
Search Console and Google Analytics?
Good question! When starting out I thought these two serve the same purpose. I was wrong.
Here are the differences:
- Google Search Console shows how Google views your blog whereas Google Analytics shows how users use your blog. In this case GSC will show the search queries triggering individual pages to show up on Google search; the pages showing up on Google search for a specific search term and the number of times your site appears on Google search. Google Analytics, on the other hand, will show how many pages a user visits (pages per session); how long the user is on your site (average session duration) and the number of users looking at only one page on your blog/site.
- Google search console focuses on traffic from Google only whereas Google Analytics shows traffic from other sources including Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Bing and so on.
- Google Search Console focuses on site health, giving you reports on what you should improve on. Reports like, which pages have crawl errors or whether the security of your site is compromised by some malware. Google analytics focuses on site tracking giving data on for example, the highest performing page or how long people spend on your time or real time figures of the number of people on your site.
In my opinion data provided by Google Search Console serves to improve the results you see on your Google Analytics dashboard.
You now know G/A and GSC are different but useful marketing tools. It is important to have both. This bring us to the next segment:
How to set up Google Search Console
There are several ways of verifying your site with Google search console.
You can do so by:
- DNS verification
- HTML tag
- HTML file upload
- Using the Google tag manager
- Using the Google Analytics tracking
This post will however concentrate on the DNS verification method and the HTML tag method. Why? Because they’re pretty straight forward for any beginner. Well, at least they were for me.
Verification by DNS Editing
- Create a Google account.
- Go to https://search.google.com/search-console/about and click ‘Start now’.
- On the top-left corner, click on ‘Add Property’. A pop-up looking like this will appear.
- Add your Domain on the left column as shown in this image. Note. Not the URL prefix.
- You will land to a prompt asking you to copy the TXT to your respective DNS nameserver.
- If your host is Siteground, you will have to log in to your Siteground account, click on WEBSITES then SITE TOOLS. This should lead you to your dashboard where you will click on DOMAIN then ‘DNS ZONE EDITOR’. Can you see TXT anywhere on your screen right now. Click on it and then paste the verification code onto the value field, and then CREATE. If you are with another web host like Bluehost or Dreamhost, I am certain there is a DNS Editor where you can paste the verification code.
- Once done, go back to your search console and click on Verify. That’s it! Your website is now verified with Google Search Console.
If this is too much work for you, how about contacting your service provider for help? In doing this, I was actually helped by the Siteground team. I gave Doreen the code and she did the magic for me. Part of the reason I’m in love with Siteground.
Verification by HTML Tag with Yoast
On your WordPress dashboard, hover over to Yoast SEO plugin then click on General.
This will lead you to a page where you should see Webmaster tools. Click on it.
You will then see a field requiring you to input a Google verification code. Click on ‘Get your verification code on Google search console’.
This will lead you to a page with options of the verification methods you would like to go with.
Click on HTML tag radio button then copy the meta tag shown and paste it on to the Google verification field on Yoast. Then Save changes.
Now that you have your site verified with Google search console, you’ll want to submit sitemap to it, so as to have Google index your site.
How to submit sitemap to Google
In order to have search engines intelligently crawl your site you need to submit a sitemap.
A sitemap gives you a chance to give search engines such as Google and Bing information on the pages, videos and posts on your site.
Search engines use the sitemap to know which segments of your site are important to you. Sitemaps also tell search engines how often you update your pages.
You may or may not need a sitemap, depending on how well pages in your site are interlinked and how large you site is.
If you have a large site, chances are there are old pages that are isolated and may not be crawled by search engines. If your site is new chances are, yes your pages are well interlinked, but are there external links referring to it? Probably not.
I suggest that you just submit a sitemap regardless of how large or small your site is, to be on the safe side. Search engines won’t penalize you for having one.
How do you submit a sitemap?
- On your WordPress dashboard, hover over to Yoast SEO and on the dropdown click on General.
- Next, click on Features and ensure that the XML Sitemaps switch is ON.
- Click the little question mark next to XML Sitemaps.
- Click on ‘See XML Sitemap’.
- This should lead you to a different tab with a list of pages that have been picked up.
- Copy the url on this tab.
- Now log in to your Google search console account.
- On the left of the GSC account, click on Sitemaps.
- Where you see ‘Enter sitemaps url’, paste the sitemaps url you copied in step 5.
- Then Submit.
And you now have your site completely live for the world to see. However, please note,
inasmuch as you have submitted your site to Google the right way, it does not mean you will appear in search results immediately. Getting ranked by Google takes time. That is why it’s important to be consistent in producing content that people will love—that is how you build trust with Google and other search engines.
In fact, you can help your site get indexed faster by generating traffic to your blog using the steps here. Remember, you can get the traffic. But can you keep it?
How will you know your site has or hasn’t been indexed?
On Google search, type site:www.yourdomainhere.com
This should give you a list of all the pages on your site.
To conclude, I hope this post has answered the question every beginner has: Why is my site not showing on Google? We have seen how important it is to start a blog in the first place; We’ve learnt that starting a blog is one thing but how well it is optimized for search engines is another. Google search console gives you actionable insights to help your site get found by search terms and improve user engagement.
In the end content in king! If people keep referring to your site for solutions to their problems, search engines will notice your blog.