The 2018 Guide to Google Webmaster Tools – Google Index, Crawl, and More by The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog [Marketing]

Editor's Note: This article first appeared on The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog and was curated by Closer Spot. Please subscribe to get actionable news and advice delivered to your inbox each week.

Back in 2010, we wrote a thorough beginner’s guide to Google Webmaster Tools. But since then, there have been significant changes to Google Webmaster Tools.

We’ve updated this guide to include new ways to set up your website with Webmaster Tools, the new data included in Webmaster Tools about your website, important data you might have forgotten about, and how to continually monitor for any issues that might affect your search engine rankings.

Setting Up Your Website with Webmaster Tools

If you haven’t already, the first thing you will need to do is set up your website with Webmaster Tools.

To do this, visit the Google Webmaster Tools website, sign in with your Google Account – preferably the one you are already using for Google Analytics.
Click the red Add Property button to begin.

Next, you will have to verify this site as yours.
Previously, this involved having to embed code into your website header or upload an HTML file to your web server.

Now, if you already have Google Analytics, you can verify your site by connecting Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics.

To do so, select the Use your Google Analytics account option.

Once your site is verified, you will want to submit a sitemap if you have one available.
This is a simple XML file that will tell Google Webmaster Tools what pages you have on your website.

You’ll find the option to add a sitemap under the “Crawl” tab of your toolbar.
If you have one already, you can usually find it by typing in to see it in your browser.

To create a sitemap if you don’t already have one, you can use online tools like XML Sitemaps.
If you are running a website on your own domain using WordPress, you can install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.

Once you have activated the plugin, look under your Settings in the WordPress dashboard and click on XML-Sitemap.

The plugin should have already generated your sitemap, so there’s nothing else you have to do.
You’ll find your URL at the very top of the page: