When you’re ready to share your site with the world, it’s a great idea to give Google the heads up that a new site exists. Sure, you could wait for their bots to stumble upon it, but why not take charge + get your name out there sooner than later?
The other perk of telling Google about your WordPress website is that you’ll have a place to go if you need to gently nudge those bots to scan your site again. (This is a good step to take if you revamp your site content by adding/removing multiple pages.)
This only takes a few minutes to do + requires that you have a Google account (think gmail) and access to your domain registrar (where you bought your domain from).
Set up your webmaster tools account
The place that you keep in touch with Google about your website is called Search Console but was previously named Webmaster Tools. Both searches will get you there.
Head to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools + sign in with your Google account. If you have Google Analytics, I would recommend that you use the same email address you used there for this account.
Add your site
Click the red “Add a Property” button to add your domain. (I like to pretend this is referencing beach front properties.)
Paste in the URL you’re adding + click the blue “Add” button. This is where it gets a little nerdy, but you’ll do great!
In order to manage this domain with Google, you need to verify that you own it. The great news is that they walk you through the steps based on who you bought the domain from.
If the idea of setting up a DNS record has you feeling less than great, click the Alternate methods tab + select from those options. Verifying with Google Analytics is the easiest if you have GA already on your domain. The HTML file upload option is great too if you know how to use FTP.
Add a sitemap
Once your domain is verified, you’ll want to submit a sitemap so that Google knows more about your site than just the domain.
In the dashboard of your domain, click on the Sitemaps heading.
In the upper right corner is a red button that says “Add/Test Sitemap” + it opens up a little text field for you to paste in the address of your sitemap.
If you have a plugin installed to configure your sitemap, use the URL provided by the plugin. If not, no worries! WordPress automatically sets up a sitemap for you. In the text box type feed + then click the “Test” button.
Once Google tests your sitemap, you’ll want to click the blue “view test results” button to ensure that it worked. If it did, go back to the “Add/Test Sitemap” button, put in the same text you did the first time, but this time click the blue “Submit” button. If it didn’t work, confirm that the link is right or check to see if you have a sitemap/SEO plugin installed that you didn’t know about.
Have Google check out your site
There’s one more thing that I like to do for new sites, just to be on the safe side that Google got the hint. And this is the same thing you’ll do if you ever revamp your site + want the Google bots to crawl your site sooner.
While managing your property, click the Crawl heading on the left sidebar + then “Fetch as Google.” You can leave the settings for the homepage as is + click the red “Fetch” button. (Fetch and Render will show the site as Google sees it, which is interesting but not necessary.)
Once Google fetches your homepage, click the “Request Indexing” button, remind Google that you’re not a robot + check the option to “Crawl this URL and its direct links” to get your pages scanned by Google.
That’s it! You’ve now told Google about your website + made sure that the Google bots know what pages + content you have available.