Search engine optimization takes many forms, but today we want to focus on something that all webmasters should do. One important step in optimizing your site for search engines is adding your Joomla site to Google Webmaster Tools. Using Google webmaster tools along with other tips that we have provided can be a huge help. In this article, we will show you how to add your Joomla site to Google Webmaster Tools.
What is Google Webmaster Tools
Google’s Webmaster tools is a set of tools offered by Google to give publishers a look at how their website is seen by the search engine. Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) provides you with detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google. By submitting your Joomla sites to Google Search Console, you can find out quickly if Google is having a hard time accessing or crawling or site or distinguishing the content on your site.
How to Add your Joomla Site to Google Webmaster Tools
If you don’t have a Google Search Console account, visit Google Search Console. You will be asked to sign in with your Gmail or Google account or create a new account.
Once you are signed in, do the following to submit your site:
- Click the red Add a Site button in the upper-right corner.
- Enter the URL for your website, for example: example.com
- Click continue.
- You will be prompted to verify the domain.
- Click the Alternate Methods tab to verify the ownership using an HTML tag:
<meta name="google-site-verification" content="VerificationKeyCode" />
3 ways to verify your Joomla site in Google Webmaster Tools
Google provides a meta tag that you can include in your Joomla template to verify the site. You must copy the meta tag, and paste it into your site’s home page. It should go in the <head> section, before the first <body> section.
To use this meta tag, you need to copy the tag from the Google Webmaster Tools page and paste it into your template index.php file.
The template index file is located in the folder /templates/TEMPLATENAME/ folder on your server.
How to add the meta tag to your Joomla site
- Do a backup of the index.php file.
- Open the file in your HTML editor of choice. we prefer using eXtplorer, which is a file manager for Joomla. But you can also download the file via FTP and edit it with a text editor, Dreamweaver or other software.
- After opening the file, locate the HEAD section. That means the section which is enclosed by the <head> and </head> tags.
- Paste the meta tag into this section.
- Save (and upload) the file to your site.
Upload an HTML file
This is the easiest method in my opinion. All you have to do is upload the file Google Webmaster Tools provides in the website root folder.
This means the same folder as the configuration.php file is located.
Add a DNS record
The most advanced method of verification is to add a DNS record. This requires you to have control over and a knowledge of the DNS for the domain in question.
A TXT record is an entry within the Domain Name System (DNS) that provides supplemental information about your domain. You can create a TXT record that proves to Google that you own the domain.
NowGo back to Google Webmaster Tools and click the Verify button.
Once the site is verified, click the red Add a Site button again. This time, add your site using the www version of the site, e.g. www.example.com.
Setting the Preferred Domain with Google Search Console
If you followed the steps above, you will now have two versions of your website verified with Webmaster Tools. The next step is to tell Google which is your preferred URL, which you can do by navigating to Configuration > Settings in the sidebar
You will want to repeat this process for both versions of the site (obviously, each preferred URL should point to the same version).
To submit your sitemap to Google:
- In Google Webmaster Tools, click on your website, and then click on Crawl.
- Click Sitemaps.
- Click the red Add/Test Sitemap button.
- Enter the file name for the sitemap.
- Click Test Sitemap.
- If the test is good, click the Add/Test Sitemap button again and enter the filename for the sitemap again.
- Click Submit Sitemap.
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