One of the first things you should do when launching your new website or blog should be notifying Google — the biggest search engine there is — of your new website’s presence. Majority of people go to Google to search for their needs, and the engine needs to know that you exist on the web.
Thankfully, Google wants to help you inform it of your presence. There’s a separate service that lets you not just index your site to Google but also see how your site is performing across its search result pages. It’s called Google Webmaster Tools. Today I’ll show you how to add your site to Google Webmaster Tools to ensure that your site’s contents are faster indexed on Google.
Step 1: Log in
Go to Google Webmaster Tools and log in using your Google account. Note that this will be the administrator account for the domain you’re about to add. While you may use separate Google accounts for separate websites (in case you own many of them), but it’s a good idea to have one master account to administer them all.
From Google Webmaster Tools landing page, click the sign in button. You’ll be redirected to a list of websites that you have under your account. If this is the first time you’re using Webmaster Tools, it’ll show empty.
Step 2: Add your site
Click the red Add button on the top right of your screen. It should pop up a small field asking for your domain name. Enter your website address. http:// is not mandatory.
Step 3: Verify your website
To add your new website to Google Webmaster Tools is to verify your owner ship. And there are many ways to do it. Let’s take a look at how each of the ways work.
HTML File Upload
This is as simple as uploading a file to your website via FTP. As long as the file stays in your server, Google will know that you own this site. It’s simple, but requires logging in to FTP. It’s especially useless if you don’t have an FTP account at all.
If you have a Google Analytics profile installed on this website under the same Google Account, you will be able to connect them together and verify by virtually doing nothing additional.
Google Tag Manager
Similar to Google Analytics, if you have a Google Tag Manager account are are using that with this domain, you can verify your ownership this way.
By far the easiest solution is to take this one line HTML tag and put it in the header section of your website. For dynamic sites, where all headers are same (like WordPress or Blogger), it’s easy. For static sites, however, it means you might need to copy-paste the tag to each pages manually.
Domain Name Provider
This method requires you to log in to your domain name provider account and add a verification code to your DNS management. This is, in my opinion, the best option to go with. Problem with HTML tag is if you change your theme, all header information will go away or you will have to copy-paste them, which I feel too much work. Since you rarely make changes to your DNS entry, doing this once will make sure you’ll not have to mess with the verification again.
Therefore, this is the method I’ll show you.
Step 4: Add Verification code
When you click the Alternate methods tab and “Domain name provider” radio button, you’ll see a huge list of domain name providers. You can choose which one you bought your domain name from, and Google will show you a detailed guideline on how to add the code.
I, however, use CloudFlare on most of my websites, so I chose “Other”. That showed me the verification code that needed to be entered into my DNS zone. I copied the code and headed over to my CloudFlare account.
If you use CloudFlare, and I highly suggest you do, log in to your account, click the gear icon next to your website name and click DNS settings. In the list, scroll to the bottom and add a TXT entry. Put @ at the first field, and the code you just copied from Google Webmaster Tools to the second. Click Add.
Step 5: Verify
Now head back to your Google Webmaster Tools window and click the red “Verify” button. If all was done correctly, the site will then be verified.
Please note that DNS update may take up to 48 hours. But usually it doesn’t take more than a couple of hours.
Once your site is verified, you’ll be given inside access to how your site is performing on the search result pages. Please note that if you want detailed information about visitors on your site, you should rely on Google Analytics. Google Webmaster Tools is for more technical insights into what’s happening between your site and Google, not necessarily your site and your visitors.
Have you verified your site using Google Webmaster Tools? Which method did you use and why?