Nowadays Webmaster Tools is an unavoidable package for any site owner to track the performance of a site in search engines. Especially submitting site to Google is more important since it has more than 60% of search engine market share with the local searches available in most of the languages. Have a website, a Gmail id and then what? This article explains the important settings to be done immediately after login to your Google Webmaster Tools account.
Submitting Your Site
Login to Google Webmaster Tools with your Gmail id. If you have any Blogger or Google sites, they will be automatically visible as verified sites. Click on “Add A Site” button to add any your site and follow the verification instruction to verify the ownership of your site.
The important step is to add all versions of your site, since Google considers each site as a different site. A site can have the following four versions:
Based on http or https add both www and non-www versions of your site. Here, you don’t need to verify each site separately, once the first site is verified you can just add remaining sites, which will be auto, verified. Learn more about adding and verifying site to Google.
Forgetting to add all versions of your site will lead Google to consider content duplication and downgrading your site in search results.
An XML Sitemap is the guide for search engine bot to understand the structure of your site. Navigate to “Crawl > Sitemap” section and click on “Add/Test Sitemap” button. Enter your Sitemap URL and test the results. If Google bot can able to fetch your Sitemap then submit it.
Ensure to submit the correct Sitemap as per the verified version of your site. For example, if you verified http://www.example.com then your Sitemap URL should be http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml. If you submit non-www version here there will be no indexing status visible. Learn more about submitting Sitemap to Google.
You can also submit your RSS feed as a Sitemap URL.
Add Preferred Version of Your Site
Next step is to add the preferred version for your site so that Google can use that format in search results. It will take considerable time to replace already indexed URLs, hence decide the format when you start your account. Set your preferred domain under “Site Settings” option as shown below:
Learn more about preferred domain settings in Google Webmaster Tools.
If your targeted visitors are from a particular country or your site’s primary language is not English then it is highly recommended to add geo-targeting to your site. Generally country specific domains like .ca or .us are by default geo-targeted for that country. For other top-level domains like .com, .net or .org can be targeted using this option.
The chosen country will be displayed in the search results and choose “unlisted” for no country targeting. Learn more about geo-target settings.
Add All Site Owners and Users
If you are the only owner of your site then this step is not necessary. If there are multiple owners and users then you can add all of them in your Webmaster Tools account. All owners and users added here can see the site details by logging into Webmaster Tools using their Gmail id.
Below if the summary of setting up Google Webmaster Tools account: