- Create a Google account (if you don't already have one!). There are many benefits to this as I will explain shortly.
- Log in to the Webmaster tools section with your Google account.
- In the "Add new site" section, enter the full URL of your blog (eg: http://www.yourblog.com). Google will usually index your blog on its next crawl.
- You may also want to verify that you are the owner of your blog; this allows you to access statistics and crawl errors. There are two ways you can verify your ownership: add a meta tag to your blog template, or upload an HTML file to a directory specified by Google. For blog owners it may be easier to add the meta tag, which you can do easily by copying and pasting a small piece of code to the section of your blog template (Google provide this unique tag when you opt for this form of verification). Don't worry, the tag can't be seen by your readers!
- Once you've verified your ownership, it's also a good idea to tell Google the location of your sitemap (I explained how to create a sitemap for your blog in this post). This ensures that all of your blog pages are properly indexed and available to search. To do this, click on the "sitemaps" tab at the top of your Webmaster Tools dashboard, and click the "add" link next to your blog url. You need to enter the full url of your sitemap (for example: http://yourblog.com/sitemap.xml).
Once you've taken these steps, Google will crawl your blog regularly to check for updates and new pages. You can ensure that all of your pages are being indexed by logging into Webmaster tools>Sitemaps to see how many URLs are being indexed. If you notice that some post pages are not indexed, you can help Google to index them by linking from other posts (create a "related posts" section in other posts, for example).
Eventually, all your blog posts and pages will be crawled and indexed by Google, and your blog will achieve a "Page Rank" which you can also see in Webmaster tools. You can also view detailed statistics for your blog, links to your posts, and any crawl errors (such as missing files) which may be found.
Of course, the best way to improve your blog's visibility in search engines would be to work hard at your blog, write great posts and generate some link love! A subject I'll talk about in detail in future posts...