One of the main sources of traffic for a website is search engines. Considering the large number of people that search and discover websites through search engines like Google and Bing, it is necessary to have a search engine presence. While your pages are automatically listed in search results, it is much better to have a control over them. That is why the top search engines have a webmaster tools section where site owners and managers can do different things.
The first thing that one should do to get access to the webmaster tools and options of a certain website is to verify it on search engines. Verification in places like Google Webmasters and Bing Webmaster Tools is quite simple. Actually, they have a number of verification options like downloading/uploading a verification file, placing a meta tag, or even making some change in the name records of your domain.
The simplest way is to place a meta tag with a special line of code which instructs the search engine that the website belongs to someone. The meta tag provided is unique and it goes into all the pages of the website. It should be placed before the </head> tag in html documents.
In WordPress there are several ways to place Google and other webmaster verification meta tags on the website. They are
- Manually editing the theme’s header.php file to place the tag.
- Using Jetpack’s Site Verification module for easy code placement.
I prefer the use of Jetpack’s Website Verification Service because it is simple and the code retains even after themes are updated or changed.
So, to verify the website to use the webmaster tools provided by Google and others, follow these steps:
- Go to Jetpack from your admin area and click on See the other 25 Jetpack features to list all the modules.
- Find something called Site Verification and hover over and click Activate if it isn’t already.
- Then hover over it and click on Configure to reach its options page.
- Now what you want to do is place the content part of the meta verification code provided by Google, Bing and if needed Pinterest.
- Place them in their respective areas and click save.
- Back in the webmasters tools, click on verify and your website will be verified successfully.
How to Get the Verification Code
To get the verification code, you’ll have to visit the management page provided by search engines. You must have a Google, Microsoft and Pinterest account if you want to use all there.
Google Webmasters Tools
- Visit http://www.google.com/webmasters and Sign into Webmasters Tool using your Google account.
- Click on Add a Site and enter the URL of your website like http://wpcraze.com
- You’ll be given an option to download/upload a file and verify it. Click on Alternate methods
- Click on the radio button that says HTML tag and you’ll be shown a code like
<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”EiueM1qqrMR28pzn2KNdD6ztvwVjVu8aD7snwBW7dCw” />
Copy the content part i.e. EiueM1qqrMR28pzn2KNdD6ztvwVjVu8aD7snwBW7dCw and paste it in Jetpack’s Website Verification Tools and click Save Changes. Back in Google Webmasters, click on Verify and you’ll be shown with a success message of verifying the ownership of your WordPress website.
Bing Webmasters Tools
- Visit http://www.bing.com/toolsbox/webmaster and sign in using your Microsoft account. Your old Hotmail, MSN or Outlook emails will do.
- Click on Add Your Site and input your exact website URL, sitemap URL and other personal details if requested.
- In the verification step, use Option 2 where you see a meta code like <meta name=”msvalidate.01″ content=”23B096186D5731A347886E67ECD450CA” />
Copy the content part of meta code i.e. 23B096186D5731A347886E67ECD450CA and place it back in Jetpack’s Website Verification Tools. Back in Bing Webmaster Center, click on verify and you’re done.
Now not everyone wants to or needs to verify their website in Pinterest, but for those who want to have a social presence, they can create a Pinterest business account and add a website.
To add a website:
- Visit your profile page at Pinterest and click on Edit Profile link preset on the top-left.
- Right next to your website, you will see a Verify Website button that you should click.
- You will be given a meta tag like <meta name=”p:domain_verify” content=”b981a076ae3d0cf2b942bd5a02d9e908“/>.
Copy the content part i.e. b981a076ae3d0cf2b942bd5a02d9e908 into Jetpack’s Website Verification Tools and save the changes. Back in Pinterest, you’ll have to click on Complete Verification to finalize the process.
Verifying websites in Webmaster Tools is absolutely necessary. You don’t have to verify in all the above mentioned websites to start with. Just do it with Google as you begin. You will be able to access awesome tools like:
- Fetching your website as the search engine.
- Submitting new links and diagnosing them if necessary.
- Submitting your sitemap so that all your URLs are properly discovered.
- Remove URLs from the search engine index if necessary.
- Test your website’s meta tags.
- See the links to your website.
- See the top search queries that are leading people to your website.
- Many other issues related to security and links.
So, don’t forget to manage your website in search engines with the help of the given webmaster tools. It allows you to do many things so that you may rank better and get traffic to your WordPress site.