Adding your web site to the Google Search Console, formerly called Google Webmaster Tools, will allow you to monitor your site’s performance in Google Search results.

You can also see how Google sees your site, including your site’s relevance for Rich Cards and Accelerated Mobile Pages.

In this tutorial, you will see:

  • How to setup JetPack and connect it to your WordPress.com account. [Video Only]
  • How to activate the XML Sitemap feature in JetPack.
  • How to add your web site to the Google Search Console.
  • How to set the preferred domain, and optionally country for your web site.
  • How to submit the JetPack XML sitemap for your site to Google.

Before you move on:

  • Please be sure that you have a Google account. Having a Gmail email address is sufficient.
  • We will be adding the JetPack XML Sitemap, to your WordPress site, so please be sure that JetPack is installed and connected to your WordPress.com account. The video includes a walk through for setting up JetPack.

How to activate the XML Sitemap feature in JetPack.

  1. From within your WordPress Dashboard, click on JetPack, then Settings.
  2. Click the Engagement link from across the top of the page.
  3. Slide the slider next to Sitemaps to Activate it.
  4. You *may* also need to go to Settings, then Reading to make sure that the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” option is unchecked. That’s an important step to ensure Google will crawl your site, and crawl the Sitemap. If you do make this change, be sure to click the Save Changes button.

How to add your web site to the Google Search Console.

  1. First, login to your Google Account, or Gmail.
  2. Then, point your web browser to: google.com/webmasters/tools/home
  3. Type or paste in the URL to your homepage next to the box that says Website, then click the Add A Property button.
  4. Click the HTML Tag radio button.
  5. Click on the Meta tag to highlight it, and copy it to the Clipboard.
  6. Go back to your WordPress Dashboard in a new Tab or Window.
  7. Click JetPack, then Settings.
  8. Click the Engagement link from across the top of the page.
  9. Slide the slider next to Site Verification to Activate it.
  10. Click the down-arrow.
  11. In the Google box, paste in the Meta tag you copied from the Google Search Console.
  12. Remove everything from the tag, except for what is within the quotes of the Content parameter.
  13. Scroll down and click on the Save Settings button.
  14. Go back to the Google Search Console.
  15. Click the Verify button. You may need to wait several minutes if you see a “Verification failed” message.
  16. Once you see the “Congratulations” message, click on the Continue link.

Note: If you continue to see “Verification failed” when trying the “Meta Tag” verification, if you are comfortable with FTP, you can try the “HTML File Upload” verification method instead.

Be sure to repeat the previous steps for all versions of your web site. You may or may not have them all, it depends if you have SSL attached to your domain or not.

At a minimum, add the www and non-www http versions. When repeating the above steps, there will be no need to re-add the Meta tag, as it is already there.

The different versions of your site might include: https://www.example.com, https://example.com, http://www.example.com, and http://example.com.

You will set your preferred version next.

How to set the preferred domain, and optionally country for your web site.

You should still be logged into the Google Search Console from the previous steps. If not, login to the Dashboard now.

Your Site should be listed in the drop down at the top right.

  1. Click the Gear Icon at the top, then click Site Settings.
  2. Choose whether you want www or non-www as your Preferred Domain.
  3. Click the Save button.
  4. Optionally, to specify a target country for your web site, from the left side, click Search Traffic, then International Targeting.
  5. Click the Country Tab on the right side of the page.
  6. Put a check in the box, select the country, and click Save.

How to submit the JetPack XML sitemap for your site to Google.

The JetPack XML feature was activated earlier. Now we just have to tell Google about the location.

  1. With your web site chosen in the list at the top right, click the Crawl link, then Sitemaps from the left side.
  2. Click the Add/Test Sitemap button.
  3. In the text box, type sitemap.xml
  4. Click the Submit button.

And that’s it!

Now that you are setup with the Google Search Console, within it you can learn more about:

  • Structured Data, Rich Cards, and the Data Highlighter tool.
  • … and Accelerated Mobile Pages.

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