This Google Search Console for Beginners guide helps business owners easily submit their website so Google knows there’s a new kid on the block. Once your website is submitted and verified, trust can start to be established with Google.
For this guide, we assume that you already have a Google Account set up.
Add Your Website to Google Search Console (GSC)
- Log into Google Search Console with an existing Google account or create a new account specifically for this website.
- Under the Google Search Console, click Add Property, and click Add Property again.
- For the Domain property type, enter a naked domain (see image). (Note: You do not enter anything before your domain name such as “www”, “https://”, etc.).
- Click Continue.
For the next steps, we need to make some additions to DNS. We use Cloudflare for all of our DNS services, so we’ll cover how to make changes over there.
We have a Cloudflare CDN for Beginners guide that we highly recommend if you’re not already Cloudflare services. Otherwise, you can just follow along and make the changes wherever your DNS is hosted.
- Log into the Cloudflare dashboard.
- Browse to the DNS tab.
- Using the DNS Record type drop-down, switch from “A” to “TXT”.
- Enter the values given to you by Google, using our image below as a reference, and click Add Record.
- Go back to the Google Search Console and click Verify.
If everything goes well, you should see the image below. After you click GO TO PROPERTY, you’ll notice that Google has started to process your website’s data. You’ll want to give Google some time, checking back every 15 minutes or so until the processing has completed.
Submit Your Sitemap
The next thing you’ll want to do is submit your website’s sitemap to Google. Sitemaps help Google understand the content and URL structure of your website.
If you happen to use SEOPress as we do, you can find your various sitemaps by going to SEO > XML / HTML Sitemap > View Sitemap. For these instructions, we’ll just be looking to add our top-level sitemap, which is to simply append /sitemaps.xml after your website’s URL.
- Google Search Console > Sitemaps.
- Paste in your sitemap URL.
- Click Submit.
With your sitemap now submitted, you’ll want to keep a watch on the console, ensuring that your sitemap is showing a “Success” status.
Jumpstart New Content Indexing
One of the items on our Off-Page SEO checklist is to submit our new URL to Google using the GSC. Assuming there isn’t something preventing Google from indexing your website, (or the content you wish to be indexed) it’s true that Google will eventually index your content automatically.
That said, we like to set the wheels in motion as soon as we press “publish”. We do this using the steps below.
- Launch the Google Search Console.
- Click on URL Inspection within the left-hand menu.
- Paste in the full URL (e.g. https://your-url.com).
- Hit Enter.
- Click Request Indexing.
Ongoing GSC Maintenance
Google Search Console is not a set it and forget it thing. Luckily, Google makes things a bit easier on us by sending out email notifications when they detect issues.
It’s important that you have access to the email on file with Google and that you regularly check it or you can set up an email forwarding rule that sends these particular messages to an account you are checking throughout each day.
Depending on the criticality of your SEO, there may be items that you want to fix right away, some that can wait, and some that are just recommendations that may or may not apply to your website.
We offer monthly website mainteinence plans that include ongoing Google Search Console management. We’ll help you decipher any notifications that come from Google and fix any issues that arise.
Grant Team Access
- Log into Google Search Console.
- Choose the Property (i.e. website) you wish to grant access to.
- Click Settings.
- Click Users and Permissions.
- Click Add User.
- Enter the email address for the team member.
- Choose the desired permissions for the user, referencing the image below. (Note: In most cases, when we’re talking about a team, you’ll want to grant Full access.).
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