We all want to be found online and get more website traffic organically.
One of the first steps to being found in Google search results is submitting your sitemap to Google and ensuring you're set up with Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools. It gives Google a clear picture of the links that are on your website, and the structure of how to find content within it.
In this post, I'll take you through the steps of setting up your Search Console, adding your sitemap to Google and then where to submit your links for Google to crawl your site, so that your links will be displayed in Google's search results quickly.
Set up Search Console
First, you'll need to sign up for a Google Account or sign into your existing account to be able to add your website and claim it through the console.
1. Once signed in, you'll need to Add A Property and then choose a verification method. If you're using one of the more popular domain providers, the easiest way to verify is to sign into your domain provider's admin. This will verify the domain automatically. The other methods include adding HTML code to your website. If you have access to your code, you can add this yourself, or you can have your developer add it for you. No matter which HTML method you choose it may take some time for your site to show up as verified. You may need to leave it alone fo
The other methods include adding HTML code to your website. If you have access to your code, you can add this yourself, or you can have your developer add it for you. No matter which HTML method you choose it may take some time for your site to show up as verified. You may need to leave it alone for a while and come back to it to see if the verification will go through.
2. If you haven't selected your primary domain on your website, you'll want to add all of the versions of your website. What I mean by this, is that each of the web addresses above counts as a different property, even tough they all point to the same domain.
The four possible versions of your website are:
HTTPS is the secure version of your website. If you have an SSL certificate, your website will show up as https, which is great for your Google rankings. If you do not have a secure version, I would suggest getting an SSL certificate, or moving to a provider like Shopify that offers a free SSL certificate with your site. Google will give preference to a site with https over a site with http.
In the backend of your website host, choose your primary domain and redirect all traffic to that domain. This will ensure that all of your traffic and analytics are recorded in one place, and it means that no matter how someone types in your URL, it will show up as the primary domain you selected.
You'll be able to add your sitemap in a few easy steps. Depending on your website provider, your sitemap may be structured differently. If you're using a site like Shopify or Wix as your provider, you'll be able to add your sitemap by doing the following:
- From Search Console, choose the property
- From the sidebar, Select Crawl
- Select Sitemaps
- Select Add/Test Sitemap
- Type sitemap.xml
- Submit Sitemap
Once you submit the sitemap, your site will be crawled and indexed by Google. Indexing basically means your site will become a part of their results. Think of Google as a book. Your sitemap is the table of contents for your section of the book.
Have Google crawl your URLS... Often
Each time you create a new page on your site, be it a product page, blog post or anything that creates a new link, you can submit your link to Google to have your page crawled and indexed right away. Initially, you'll want to have the whole site crawled and then once you add new pages or make updates, you'll want to submit each of those links as well.
- From the sidebar, Select Fetch as Google
- Select Fetch
- Under status, you'll see Complete
- Select Request Indexing
- Select Crawl this URL and its direct links
If you select Fetch and Render rather than Fetch, Google will give you an image of what your site looks like when it's crawled by Google. You can do this to ensure your site is showing up the way you want. At times, this will give you a Partial status rather than Complete. I always suggest hitting Fetch to get a complete indexing.
After some time, you may not need to have the entire site crawled. At that point, you can submit the links individually, to have your new page or post crawled.
Your Search Console is going to be a great tool for you to see what search terms your customers are using to find your site. It's a great place to look at what links to your site exist and or any errors that might be causing a slowdown.
It's one of those things you'll set up once, and you'll be able to use it to your advantage forever. Once you're all set up, I'd love to hear about how you use your Search Console/Webmaster Tools.
Let me know if there's a particular topic you want to know more about. Don't forget to like comment and share!