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I feel like most bloggers know that they need to set up Google Analytics for their blog to get information about their audience and traffic, but what I have found is that many bloggers don’t know about Google Search Console or why they need it for their blog. In this tutorial I am going to show you how to set up Google Search Console and 3 reasons why you need to use it for your blog.
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This post is a part of a series of posts on How to Start a Blog that I have created to help simplify the process of setting up your WordPress site.
In order to follow the steps of this tutorial you will need to have your Google Analytics account set up. Check out my tutorial on how to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site.
3 Reasons Why you Should Set Up Google Search Console For Your Blog
First, let’s start with why you should set up Search Console for your blog. Google Search Console (use to be called Google Webmaster Tools) is an important tool that works in conjunction with Google Analytics to give you information about your blog’s traffic.
1. Help your blog get found by submitting your Sitemap to Google
Google Search Console allows you to submit your blog’s sitemap to Google. A Sitemap is a structured listing of all the pages on your site and is used by web crawlers like Google to index your site and understand what it is about.
2. Find out what search terms people are using to find your blog
With Google Search Console you can also find important information like what search terms people used to find your website. Sometimes it may surprise you what search terms are popular for your blog and you can use this information to help guide future content around those search terms.
3. Improve your Search Appearance
Within Google Search Console there is the Data Highlighter tool, which allows you to give more information to Google about how your website it set up. The more Google knows and understands about your website the better.
Other features of Google Search Console
- Find out who is linking to your website
- Information about type of device or country where your searches are coming from
- Learn about if you have any crawl errors or security errors on your website
- Check to see your usability status on mobile devices
Now that you know why Google Search Console is important let’s talk about how to set it up.
How to set up Google Search Console
Step 1: Add a property for your Website
Go to Google Search Console and sign in with your gmail account. I recommend setting up your Google Analytics before setting up Google Search Console. Enter your website URL and click to Add a Property.
Next you will be prompted to verify your ownership of the website.
If you added Google Analytics tracking ID to your website using the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin by MonsterInsights (check out this tutorial on how to add Google Analytics to your website) then all you need to do is click verify and it will let you know that it has been verified.
Click continue and you will be taken to the dashboard for that property. You do not need to adjust any settings at this time. To get back to the main page Click on Search Console in the upper left of the screen.
The property you created will now be displayed.
Step 2: Create a Property for each version of your website
Next, you will repeat this process for a total of 4 times to add all the different variations for your website for http, https and with the www and without.
Step 3: Determine how Google sees your Website
After you have added all property versions of you website. Go to your google search bar and type in: site: yourwebsitename
By performing this search you will learn how google is indexing your site.
For my website you can see that it is indexed by https://blogherway.com/ without the www in front. With this information you are going to go back to Search Console and set the preference for you site based on this result.
Click on the first property for your website. Click on the cogwheel in the upper right and select Site Settings.
Select your preferred domain based on how Google indexes your website and click SAVE.
This setting should automatically be set for all of the other properties after you have saved it once. Just go through and verify with each property to make sure it is properly selected. If any one performs a search and types any of the URL variations for you website then Google still treats each of the searches the same to point them to your website.
How are people finding your content? Learn why Google Search Console is important for your blog and how to learn more about your blog’s traffic.
Step 4: Connecting Google Search Console with Google Analytics
Next, you will want to connect your Google Search Console account with your Google Analytics.
Log in to Google Analytics. With the main dashboard make sure you have your property selected and then under the admin section select property settings.
Once you are in property settings scroll down and select Adjust Search Console.
Click to associate your Search Console account with your Google Analytics account. Click on the Add link.
To enable Search Console data in Google Analytics select your site and then click SAVE.
You will be prompted to add an association for your Search Console account. Click OK.
How to access your Search Console reports in Google Analytics
After you have connected your Search Console and Google Analytics account you will be able to access some of the features of Search Console directly in Google Analytics. To see this information go to Acquisition > Search Console.
How to use these reports is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but I wanted to make sure you knew how to set up Google Search Console and connect it to your Google Analytics so you can start accessing these powerful tools!
Don’t forget to download the How to Start A Blog checklist with 100+ steps you should take to get your blog ready to launch.
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Check out the other tutorials in my series on How to Start A Blog.
- Pick a topic for your blog
- Choose the best domain name for your blog
- Set up hosting and install WordPress
- Set up WordPress general settings: site title, tagline and permalink
- Choose and install a theme for your blog
- Install the 6 essential plugins for your blog
Recommended Blogging Tools for Setting Up Your Website:
Blog Hosting: Every blog needs a place to live and I highly recommend SiteGround for hosting. They have great customer service and tiered pricing to meet your hosting needs for any level.
WordPress Themes: There are 3 things every blogger should invest in and that is hosting, education and a good theme. If you don’t have a theme that you love then it can be a big stumbling block. I love my Bluchic theme which is nice and versatile, fully responsive and easy to work with.
Email List Provider: Make sure you start thinking about building your email list from the beginning. Mailerlite is a great option with automation capabilities and it is free for your first 1,000 subscribers. Check out my tutorial on how to deliver your
Blog Graphics: I am team Photoshop all the way! Photoshop is a powerful tool and with the creative cloud you can start working with it today with just $10 a month. If you need a free alternative check out Canva.
Check out my full list of recommended resources for blogging!