When launching your website, you want to ensure you submit the URL to Google. The purpose of this is to ensure your site is being scanned properly by Google’s web crawler and pages you want to show for in organic search aren’t blocked from being seen in SERPs.
Setting Up Google Search Console
To submit your URL to Google, you’ll need a Google Search Console account. You may have heard it be called Google Webmaster Tools. These names are interchangeable – Google just updated what it’s called in the past year. To sign up for Google Search Console, follow these steps:
- Go to: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools
- Sign in with your Gmail business account. (Learn to set up a Google account here).
- Enter the website name including the http://. You’ll want to repeat this step and the following steps to claim all versions of your website (www., non-www., http:// & https:// if you have an SSL certificate securing all site pages).
- Click “Add A Site”.
- Now, you’ll have options on how you can verify your site. Choose the option that best serves your skill level or the platform your site is built on. The easiest way to verify is if you already have Google Analytics setup using the same gmail account.
- After you’ve claimed and verified all versions of your site, check your gmail account associated with the Google search console. You’ll see notification emails with suggestions for next steps.
- From the email, you should at least do the following:
- Setup the geographic target.
- Set the preferred version – and remember which version you set as this becomes important later.
How to: Submit URL to Google
Once you’ve setup your Google Search Console account, claimed and verified each version of your site and set the preferred version, you’ll want to locate your sitemap.xml file. If one needs created, based on your website platform there are different solutions for this.
If you’re manually creating it, and will be doing this for multiple sites, using this xml sitemap generator is very helpful.
After your sitemap has been created, it’s time to submit your URL to Google. Login to your Google Search Console account. Click on the preferred version of your site in your dashboard. You should see something that looks like this.
Click on the Tab header that says “Sitemaps”.
Next click on “Add/Test Sitemap”.
A dropdown menu will appear with your main URL already there. You’ll need to enter the relative path where your sitemap is located.
Example – only enter the bold portion: http://your-site.com/sitemap.xml
You should immediately see if there are any errors in processing. And in a couple of days, you can go to the report in the Google Search Console to see how your site has been indexed. This is found by following the left navigation and clicking “Google Index > Index Status”.