Using Google Search Console (aka Webmaster Tools)

Signing up for a free Google Search Console account (also known as Webmaster Tools) is a great way to learn about how Google understands your site and what your site looks like on the web. You can also gain insight into organic keyword phrases that bring people to your site and what your average search position is for each keyword phrase. Make sure to link your Google Webmaster Tools account to your Google Analytics account for some additional data in your analytics account that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

Using Google Search Console (aka Webmaster Tools) 

How to Create a Google Webmaster Tools Account

There are 2 ways to create your Google Webmaster Tools account. You can visit Google Webmaster Tools directly and begin creating your account, or you may click through from your Google Analytics account.

Creating your Google Webmaster Tools Account from Google Analytics

Within the Acquisition menu in your Google Analytics account, you’ll notice the tab called Search Console in the sub-menu. When you visit that tab or any of the items in the Search Console sub-menu, you’ll see this notice instructing you to set up your Search Console account in order to access the data in this reporting section.

Set up Google Search Console from Google Analytics

Click on the “Set up Search Console Data sharing” button to continue. You’ll be redirected to the Property Settings area inside your Google Analytics Admin area.

Google Analytics Property Settings

Click on the “Adjust Search Console” button.

In this view, you’ll see “none” listed with the link to click to add your site. The full message reads, “By linking your Analytics property to your Search Console account(s), Search Console data will be imported in Analytics and included in your Google Analytics reporting.

Add site to Google Search Console

On the next screen, Google will make you re-enter your password. 

Click the “Add a site to Search Console” button at the bottom.

Enable Search Console data by verifying your site

Welcome to Google Search Console! Click the blue “Start now” button.

Welcome to Google Search Console

On this screen, you’ll need to choose between the Domain option and the URL prefix option. The Domain option will setup your new Google Search Console for any variations of your domain, but requires DNS verification. Choosing the URL prefix option means you’d need to set up any variations of your domain inside your Search Console account separately, but is much easier for most people to verify.

Choose property type to setup in Search Console

Enter your domain name and click on the Continue button.

Since you are creating your Search Console account after clicking through from your Google Analytics account, you’ll likely be immediately verified because one way the Search Console verifies your new account is through your analytics account.

Verify Search Console with Google Analytics

Now that you’ve created your Search Console account, you’ll need to finish connecting it to your Google Analytics account by associating the two. Click on the radio button (open circle) next to your domain address and click “Save“.

Link Google Search Console account with Google Analytics property

Return to the tab you have open in your browser with your Google Analytics account open. Find the same Search Console Settings section as seen above and make sure the site you just linked is showing in that admin area. You may need to refresh and click Done.

Other Ways to Verify your Site with Google Search Console

If you decided to set up your Google Search Console account separate from your Google Analytics account, you have some other options to verify your site: upload an HTML file, add an HTML tag to your site (if you’ve installed your own Facebook pixel on your site, you’ll likely find this the easiest method), Google Tag Manager, and DNS record.

Other ways to verify ownership of your site

Google console verification methods

If you opt to add an HTML snippet to your site, you’ll need to copy and paste the snippet into your <head> tag area of your site and then click to verify.

HTML tag for Google Console verification

Data Available from Google Search Console

Upon signing in, you can immediately view your Google Search Console. From it, you can access all sorts of (more technical) data like keyword phrases that bring traffic to your site, search traffic including links to your site and mobile usability, Google Index status, and other items like crawl errors.

Google Search Console data

Spending time clicking through the analysis provided about your site may lead to important changes that pay off for you in the long term. Your Google Webmaster Tools Search Console is also where to go to look at keyword search information that leads visitors to your site.

*Post updated 4.12.19 


1 Comment

  1. Mrs. Jen B

    Off to explore this right now!!


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