If you run a blog then it goes without saying that you want as many people as possible to read it. Attracting visitors can be done in a number of ways and we have written a tutorial in the past on improving SEO. Along with quality content, keywords, backlinks and the other common SEO practices, Google Webmaster Tools can be a real help in boosting organic search traffic.
Google Webmaster Tools is a set of tools that give WordPress users a closer look at how their website is seen by the Google search engine. Information provided includes reports and data that allow you to understand how the different pages on your site are appearing in search results. The feedback it provides can then be used to tweak and improve pages so that these perform better. Webmaster Tools also allow you to tell Google what sort of content it should be displaying from your site and will deliver you notifications of issues that are preventing posts and pages from being indexed.
Submitting your WordPress site to Google Webmaster Tools is vital in helping you come up with a strong content strategy; here’s how it’s done.
Add Your Site to Google Webmaster Tools
In order to benefit from Webmaster Tools, you will need to have a Google account. If you do not already have an account then you can create your Google account here.
If you have an account, you need to go to Google Webmaster Tools and sign in.
Once you have signed in Google will ask you to enter your WordPress URL and verify the ownership of your website. There are two ways of doing this:
- HTML tag
- Google Analytics
The second method is the quickest and easiest and verification can be achieved in just a couple of clicks.
If, however, you are not registered with Google Analytics (it is well worth registering), you will need to use the HTML tag method.
Check the radio button next to HTML tag and Google will provide you with a Meta tag that will need to be added to your home page. Copy this tag and then log in to your WordPress site.
From your dashboard navigate to Appearance > Editor and locate the ‘header.php’ file.
In the editor, find the <head> tag and paste the Meta tag on the line directly underneath it. Save the file and return to Webmaster Tools to complete the verification process.
Adding a XML Sitemap
With your site verified, the next thing you should do is add your XML sitemap. This is not essential, but it will help spiders determine the layout and structure of your site. The easiest way to create a sitemap is by using the SEO by Yoast plugin.
Once you have the plugin installed and activated, all you need to do to create a sitemap is go to SEO > XML Sitemaps and check the box to enable XML sitemap functionality. The plugin will take care of the rest.