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How to Add a WordPress Website to Google Search Console

How to Add a WordPress Website to Google Search Console

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial for increasing the traffic your WordPress website gets and expanding your reach to draw potential conversions. Nowadays, everyone has at least heard of SEO and most know what an integral part it plays in developing a successful website. This is so important for the success of a business that there are professional agencies offering their services in improving a website’s SEO.

However, there are some free services that you can use to give your site a boost, as well. In this article, we will take a look at one such service—the Google Search Console. We will discuss some of the reasons why you should add Google Search Console to WordPress and how to do it in a way that will optimize the search engine rankings of your website. To make the steps easier to follow, we’ve broken the process of adding Google Search Console to WordPress into smaller chunks:

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The benefits of adding a WordPress website to Google Search Console

The Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a free service provided by Google. It consists of tools that help webmasters monitor their website’s SEO performance. The Google Search Console offers various features that can help you ensure a higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Some of these features include tracking impressions, clicks, and SERP rating, as well as monitoring the indexing status of your website. There are also identifying the common keywords on your website, finding malware and spam issues, and checking the mobile-friendliness of your website. In addition, the Google Search Console can provide a website performance overview and help users discover and solve security issues that would negatively impact the search engine ratings. All of these features are potential benefits you could get by adding your WordPress website to Google Search Console. If your goal is to have a website with a global reach, then adding it to the Google Search Console from the start will help you make that goal a reality.

How to add a WordPress website to Google Search Console

To start using the Google Search Console’s tools for your website, you need to complete a few steps first. These involve submitting your website URL and verifying your ownership of that website using. There are different methods you can use to do this and we will cover the one that will be suitable for the majority of WordPress users. The whole process will be described in detail, so you just need to follow the steps carefully.

Submitting your website URL

First, navigate to the Google Search Console and click on the Start Now button.

Google Search Console

After signing in with your Google/Gmail account, you will see the Google Search Console Welcome screen. On it, you will be asked to select a property type—either Domain or URL prefix.

Welcome to Google Search Console

To explain the difference between the two briefly—the Domain property includes all subdomains and both the HTTP and HTTPS protocol, while the URL prefix only includes a single URL of a single protocol, HTTP or HTTPS. Thus, the Domain level covers considerably more URLs.

On other hand, these property types can be also compared by the number of verification methods they accept. The Domain property type accepts the verification via a DNS record change only, while the URL prefix property type accepts other methods as well. These include uploading a verification HTML file, adding an HTML meta tag or Google Analytics code inside the <head> section, or using the Google Tag Manager container ID.

To sum up, the Domain method is best suited for websites with multiple subdomains that want to cover all URLs of their websites in one go. And the URL prefix method is more suited for smaller websites that need to add only the www and non-www versions of their website. Please note, if you select the URL prefix method, you will need to add both the www and non-www website URLs separately.

Assuming you’re just starting out with your site, we decided to cover only the URL prefix method. It involves adding the URL of our website in the appropriate field within the URL prefix method section and pressing the Continue button.

URL Prefix

In case you aren’t sure what your website’s URL is, you can log in to your admin dashboard and navigate to Settings > General. The URL of your website will be found in the Site Address input field. Ideally, this should be done in a separate tab, as you will need to switch between tabs later in this process.

Settings General URL

Verifying your site ownership

After pressing the Continue button, you will get the Verify ownership popup window. In it, you will see the five previously mentioned verification methods: HTML file, HTML tag, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Domain name provider. The first of those five, HTML file, will be selected by default.

Verify Ownership

However, for this article, we won’t be using the default selection. Instead, we will be using the HTML tag method, which works better for WordPress users. As such, we will expand the HTML tag tab and press the Copy link next to the meta tag, which needs to be copied into the <head> section of your website.


The reason this method is more suited for those using WordPress is that most WordPress SEO plugins offer a way of integrating this meta tag into the appropriate place within the code. And, for users who opt not to use such plugins, adding a simple code snippet will also work to verify your ownership.

We will take a look at both versions of the HTML tag property verification method in this article.

  • Using a WordPress plugin to insert the HTML tag

Since an SEO plugin is a must for practically all WordPress users, this way of verifying your ownership is the most convenient. While many WordPress SEO plugins allow you to integrate the HTML verification tag, in this article we will cover how it is done using Yoast SEO.

The Yoast SEO plugin is the most popular WordPress SEO plugin currently, with over 5 million active installations. It has numerous handy SEO options, many of which are available within its free version. For example, Yoast helps you optimize your content by checking on keyword and keyphrase instances, checks your headings and meta descriptions, as well as your post URL, so you get a comprehensive overview. Moreover, Yoast employs a very easy-to-grasp color and emoticon-based notification system. With a goal of staying in the green, it’s easy to see which areas are good to go and which, flagged by red or orange, need improvement. Furthermore, it can help you verify ownership over your website to several search engines, including the Google Search Console.

After installing it, navigate to SEO > General and open the Webmaster Tools tab. The plugin offers options for website verification for Baidu, Bing, Google (i.e. the Google Search Console), and Yandex. So you can also use the SEO optimization tools of other search engines if you choose to do so thanks to Yoast.

With that being said, to integrate your website with the Google Search Console, insert the meta tag code inside the Google verification code input field and press the Save Changes button.

SEO Webmaster Tools

After saving the changes, you will see that the content of the input field has changed to display only the last part of the HTML meta tag. That last part is its content and it is the only part that is needed for the website verification to work with the Yoast SEO plugin.

  • Using custom code to insert the HTML tag

If you don’t want to, or don’t have, an SEO plugin you want to use to verify your ownership, then you will need to use a suitable custom code snippet. This code snippet should be added either inside the functions.php of your child theme or inside a site-specific plugin.

Furthermore, to use this method, you will need to know how to use FTP.

Below, we will show you a simple snippet as an example, but we leave it up to you to decide which location you want to put it.

function add_GSC_HTML_meta_tag() { ?>
// Insert the meta tag instead of this comment line
<?php }
add_action( 'wp_head' , 'add_GSC_HTML_meta_tag' );

As we noted in the code, you will need to replace the comment line with the HTML meta tag code you previously copied.

HTML Met Tag Code

A similar code snippet can be used for adding Google Analytics code, which is another website verification method you could use if you choose to do so.

function qode_add_google_analytics() { ?>
// Paste your Google Analytics tracking code here
<?php }
add_action( 'wp_head', 'qode_add_google_analytics' );

Please note, you will need to replace the comment line in this code snippet with your Google Analytics code.

Once you’ve inserted the HTML tag using either of the two methods we mentioned, switch to the previous browser tab and press the Verify button to finish the process.

HTML Tag Verify

Shortly after, you should see a success message similar to the one below. In case you don’t see it immediately, try to wait a bit and press the Verify button again. Once you see the success message, this process is formally over.

Ownership Verified

Bonus tips

However, there are still some things we should cover. As such, we advise you to press the Go to property button and review the tools that the Google Search Console has to offer. You will need to be patient as there is some wait time until the data is gathered for the respective tools before you can make full use of them.

Review the Tools

Nevertheless, there are two things you can do right away. Those are adding a backup ownership verification method, and adding your website’s sitemap. To do the former, click on the Settings link from the left side menu and locate the Ownership verification section on the right.

Ownership verification

Clicking on the Ownership verification will open that section and you can observe your current verification status and what other verification methods are available. If you click on any verification method other than what you initially used, you will get instructions for adding a backup verification method. Adding backup verification methods is optional, but it’s a good precautionary measure in case something were to happen to the initial one.

You are a verified owner

As for the sitemap, it is a file that contains the information on all the pieces of content on your website and their relationship. Therefore, adding it to Google Search Console will help Google crawl your website more efficiently.

You can add a sitemap to the Google Search Console by clicking on the Sitemaps link from the left side menu. Then, you will see the Add a new sitemap option where you need to insert the relative URL of your sitemap.


If you aren’t sure what the URL of your sitemap is, don’t worry, we’ll explain below.

Since the WordPress 5.5 update, WordPress has automatically created a default sitemap, whose relative URL is wp-sitemap.xml. And if you are using an SEO plugin, you will also have a plugin-generated sitemap. For the Yoast SEO plugin, which we used in this article, the relative URL of the sitemap was sitemap_index.xml. Here’s how you can figure this out within the plugin itself.

From your WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to SEO > General and select the Features tab. Make sure that the XML Sitemaps option is enabled and click on the question mark icon next to it. Then, click on the See the XML sitemap link, which will lead you to your sitemap page.

See the XML sitemap

Please note, these steps are specific to the Yoast SEO plugin. Other SEO plugins might create their specific sitemap pages with different URLs, and they might require different steps to find the sitemap page. Therefore, if you don’t want to use the default sitemap page generated by WordPress (your-website-URL/wp-sitemap.xml), you will need to investigate the documentation of your SEO plugin to find its sitemap URL or consult with the plugin authors.

Once you’ve figured out the relative URL of your website’s sitemap, return to the Sitemaps section within the Google Search Console. Then insert the URL into the appropriate field, and press the Submit button.

Add a new sitemap

Shortly after, you will see the following message stating that your sitemap was submitted successfully.

Successfully Submitted

Final Thoughts

The Google Search Console offers tools that help you monitor and improve your website’s standing by working on its SEO. These tools are a valuable asset to any WordPress webmaster in building a successful website. But to use them, you first need to connect and add Google Search Console to WordPress.

In this article, we discussed the types of properties you can add to the Google Search Console and the verification methods you can use. We shared how you can verify your website using the method called HTML tag, and explained the two approaches you can take to that. Since adding your WordPress website to the Google Search Console includes many benefits, we recommend bookmarking this article for the next time you might need to use it.

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