Google Webmaster Tools
So you used to use Google’s Webmaster Tools and haven’t checked your site for a while only to find out that it doesn’t exist anymore and it’s been replaced by the Google Search Console (and your details haven’t been moved across automatically – thanks for that google! another blinder!).
Google Search Console
First thing you’re gonna need to do is add your site. This is pretty straightforward and if you’re logged in using the same email address as your google analytics a/c and you’re using the most recent google analytics code on your site this is pretty straightforward and you’ll just be verified in no time!
However when you see item one of google’s introduction instructions you’ll see you have to add both instances of your site with and without www, which might seem like a problem if like me you have your host automatically redirect http://yoursite.co.uk to http://www.yoursite.co.uk but all you’ll need to do is select the Domain Name Provider option and create a TXT record in your DNS.
This also means that if you add SSL to your site you’re also going to have to add two more properties https://yousite.co.uk and https://www.yoursite.co.uk
Go to site settings and select your poison, either http://yoursite.co.uk or http://www.yoursite.co.uk (making sure of course that these settings match the one you selected in at your host (if applicable)).
Select Target Country
It’d be really great if selecting your country in WordPress would populate the hreflang for you, but it doesn’t. So I’ve ignored this. If you want to read an analysis see this article on Yoast.
Seriously?! There are people in your business who also want to see this?! Lucky you! Invite away!
Submit a sitemap file
No Sitemap? As I use Yoast SEO (which has a sitemap configured*) I was surprised not to see a sitemap, but it’s simple to sort. Just go to the XML Sitemaps section of the Yoast SEO plugin. Click and get your sitemap. It’ll normally be http://www.yourdomain.co.uk/sitemap.xml or http://www.yourdomain.co.uk/sitemap_index.xml (if you have more than one site map (I did).
I recommend running the test feature first which will check that there are no errors in your sitemap. You will however then need to add the sitemap manually again as it refreshes the page and removes it.
* Remember if you’re using Yoast SEO to generate your sitemap you should make sure that you don’t have the Jetpack sitemap feature enabled!