Set Up Google Webmaster Tools for Your Blog

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog and Bloggers Guide to Google Webmaster Tools.]

Setting up Google Webmasters is quite simple and I hope that this will be the easiest walk-through that you’ve ever seen!

What’s fascinating is that despite the simplicity and small amount of time required to setup the value is enormous!

What does this mean? Make sure that you set aside the time the do this! Ready? Here we go:

1. Sign Up for Google Webmasters

Go visit Google Webmasters and begin the signup process!

2. Sign In with Your Google Account

3. Add Your First Site

Go ahead and click that big “Add a site” button!

4. Add Your Specific Site URL

5. Verify Ownership of Site

Please note that Google takes privacy really importantly. Verification, in and of itself, doesn’t affect your SEO or Page Rank, or anything else like that but it can impact how your the Google bots parse the content of your site (depending on your choice of verification).

You have 4 choices:

  1. Add a DNS record
  2. Link to your Google Analytics Account
  3. Upload an HTML file
  4. Add a meta tag to your site

A common question is which one is the best to do and I always use option #4, adding a meta tag to my site. This is simply because by adding a meta tag it helps the Google bots parse the content on your site and provides additional information that you can leverage for increasing traffic to your blog and more.

The other options though can do just fine but some of them are more complicated than others. If you can, I’d add the meta tag and if you can’t do that then I’d link your Google Analytics (only if you have asynchronous tracking enabled – you can see the 10 step process of adding Google Analytics here), and then doing an upload of an HTML file if you must.

The last choice, especially for those on shared hosting providers (most people), is DNS since your IP address can be changed in those types of hosting environments, sometimes without you knowing! So just don’t do it unless you have a dedicated service and know how to do all that fancy jazz!

6. Copy Meta Tag Info and Paste it Into Your Site

Grab this code that Google provides you and paste it into your WordPress-Powered blog, in your header.php file (or your index.php file). This, of course, depends on your WordPress Theme that you use.

For my purposes, I’m editing the Default Twenty Ten theme in the WordPress editor:

I’m looking at the header.php file and I’m adding this code here in the space just below the first <meta> tag:

[cc]<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”qMBiZjc2dBuFnjsL7mPfZfzvPi1z2elSrDdNaxLWhvw” />[/cc]

Here’s what it looks like:

Then hit “Update File”!

7. Go Back to Google Webmasters and Click “Verify”

Hit “Verify” and then…

8. Success! View Dashboard!

If it worked then you should be instantly directed into the dashboard itself! It’ll now take some time to start pulling in data so that you can start investigating traffic sources, patterns, keywords, and more!

Rejoice, as you now have equipped yourself to be even a more effective (and successful) blogger!

We’ll go through some ways to use this data in some upcoming posts.

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog and Bloggers Guide to Google Webmaster Tools.]