Google Search Console, formally Google Webmaster Tools, is a fantastic tool that no website owner should be without. But, do you know how to add Google Webmaster Tools to WordPress? In this article, I will show you two ways that you can easily and quickly add it to a WordPress website.
What Is Google Webmaster Tools?
Google Webmaster Tools is the former name for Google Search Console. It is a free tool from Google that helps website owners see how their website is performing in organic search results.
Once you have linked your website up to your Google Search Console account, you can see various performance data. This data is then broken down into the following main areas:
This section of Google Search Console shows you how your website is performing in search results when someone does a search. The data in this section will include:
- How many times your website has been shown in organic search results (impressions)
- How many times someone has clicked on your website in organic search results (clicks)
- The average percentage that an impression converted into a click (average click-through rate)
- The average position of your website in search results for all keywords (average position)
This section shows how many of your website pages have been indexed by Google. It also tells you if they have come across any errors when crawling your website. By studying and fixing the errors, you can help Google to crawl your website more efficiently. This will in-turn help it perform better in Google Search.
There is also a tool within the coverage section that allows you to submit your website’s XML Sitemap. You can use this tool to check the performance of your XML Sitemap as well. Other data in this section will include:
- How many website pages were not indexed due to a page error
- How many website pages were indexed but contained issues that may need further investigation
- How many pages were indexed without any issues
- How many pages were intentionally not indexed by Google
Website Enhancements, Security & Manual Actions
There are also sections that give performance data on aspects such as mobile usability, AMP and the security of your website. If your website has been penalised by Google, they will also make you aware of this via these sections.
How To Add Google Webmaster Tools To WordPress
I am going to show you two ways that you can add Google Search Console to a WordPress site. The first is manually using HTML code and the second is using the Yoast SEO plugin.
But first, we need to set up Google Search Console.
Setting Up Google Search Console
- Firstly, you need to visit Google Search Console. Then, click the ‘Start Now’ button. You will be prompted to log in with your Google Account credentials. If you don’t currently have a Google Account, click the ‘create account’ link to open a new account.
- Once logged in, click ‘add property’. You will find this via the dropdown in the top-left of the screen.
- You will then be presented with two property types – Domain and URL Prefix. The Domain property type is suitable for top-level domain tracking. The URL Prefix property type is suitable for tracking exact URLs at a particular address or specified protocol. The property type you choose will depend on the recommended method of verifying your site.
- If you choose the Domain property, enter your domain in the box provided. Make sure you leave out any HTTP or www. Then, click ‘continue’. Follow the on-screen instructions to verify that you own the domain.
- If you choose the URL Prefix property, enter the exact URL in the box provided. Then, click ‘continue’. You will be presented with a variety of options for verifying ownership. Just follow the on-screen instructions for each.
Verifying Ownership Via A HTML Tag
It does not matter which verification method you choose. It will depend on the property type you are setting up and the access you have. For example, if the site uses Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager, you can use these to verify ownership.
However, I am going to show you how to add your website to Google Search Console using an HTML Tag. This involves copying the meta tag that Google Search Console provides on-screen and adding it to your website’s header.
- After following the setting up steps above, click the ‘HTML tag’ option. You will find this under ‘other verification options’.
- Select and copy the meta tag that is in the provided box.
- In a new tab or window, open the WordPress admin dashboard of your website. Then, go to ‘Appearance – Editor’.
- Find the header.php file in the list of your theme files and click on it to open the file. If you are using a child theme, you may need to locate and make a copy of the header.php file from your main theme folder.
- Within the file, locate the closing head tag (which will be just above the opening body tag). Add a new line just above the tag. Then paste your verification code/meta tag. Click the ‘Update File’ button at the bottom of the screen to save your changes.
- Switch back to Google Search Console. Click the ‘verify’ button to complete the process. Sometimes Google Search Console may take a while to pick up the website changes. You may also need to clear your website’s cache in order for the changes to be recognised.
Verifying Ownership Via Yoast SEO
An alternative way of verifying ownership is by using the Yoast SEO plugin. Yoast SEO is by far the best SEO plugin for WordPress. So, if you are not already using it, go install and activate it on your WordPress site now.
To find out more, don’t forget to read our article on how to use Yoast SEO in WordPress.
Once you have Yoast SEO installed, follow these steps:
- After following the setting up steps above, click the ‘HTML tag’ option, under ‘other verification options’.
- Select and copy the meta tag that is in the provided box.
- In a new tab or window, open the WordPress admin dashboard of your website and go to ‘SEO – General’.
- Click on the ‘Webmaster Tools’ tab, which is where you can add various tracking codes for different search engines.
- In the box labelled ‘Google verification code’ paste the meta tag from Google Search Console, then click ‘Save Changes’.
A big advantage of linking Google Search Console to Yoast SEO is that the data is displayed in your WordPress dashboard. By going to ‘SEO – Search Console’ you will be able to see any crawl errors. If you are using the premium version of Yoast SEO, you will also be able to setup redirects via this screen.
To setup linking, click the ‘Settings’ tab and click the ‘Get Google Authorisation Code’ button. Follow the on-screen instructions and copy and paste the code into the relevant box. Finally, click the ‘Authenticate’ button to complete the process.
Further Help & Information
Hopefully, this guide has shown you how easy it is to add Google Webmaster Tools to WordPress. However, if you get stuck, just leave a comment and I will get back to you.
Alternatively, if you would rather a professional take a look, our Introductory SEO Package may be of interest. This will also ensure your website is set up correctly in the other Google services.