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Google Search Console

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First off, make sure the domain for the site you’re working on isn’t already there. Maybe a quick Ctrl+F through the page to search for it. If it’s not, click “Add a Property” (red button near the top) and type in the domain.

Next, you need to verify ownership of the domain. If you have Analytics set up on the WordPress backend (and you should), then it’ll usually offer an option to verify via Google Analytics. If it doesn’t offer it by default, click the tab for Alternate Verification Options and it should be one of the ones you can select there. Barring unforeseen issues, you’ll now be able to manage search tools for that site.

Of particular immediate interest:

  • From the landing you’re on, under Sitemaps, submit the most current sitemap. When prompted for the file path, you usually want to enter “sitemap_index.xml” in the text field (the rest of the URL should be filled in for you, to the left of that). When submitted, click the “Refresh” button.
  • In the sidebar, under “Search Traffic > International Targeting,” switch to the “Country” tab and make sure you check off “Target users in: United States” (and obviously, make sure the dropdown actually reads “United States”).
  • In the sidebar, under “Crawl > Fetch as Google,” there should be a space to have Google crawl your site. Leave the URL field blank, the dropdown set to “Desktop,” and then click “Fetch and Render.” Set the dropdown to “Mobile: Smartphone” and click “Fetch and Render” again.”
    • Both the desktop and mobile crawls will take a minute to finish. When they do, click “Submit to Index.” Both times, you’ll get a popup window with a Captcha and an option for what to crawl. If possible, click “Crawl this URL and its direct links.” Otherwise, just “Crawl only this URL.” Complete the Captcha, and then click “Go.” Do this for both items.

That should settle things for the Search Console.