Connecting Your Community to Google Webmaster Tools

4 minute read

December 8, 2015

Connecting Your Community to Google Webmaster Tools

Whatever option you choose, you will be given the requirements needed to verify site ownership. For example if you select to verify with Google Analytics, you will see the following:


If you meet the criteria, scroll down and click verify. Almost instantaneously, you will be verified and Google will start to share the data it has about your site. If your site is newer, it might take a bit longer before you see some data.

Should you not be able to verify your site with Google Analytics, the other option is via HTML Tag. If you select this as an option you will see the following:


The next step is to copy and paste the meta tag info and create a new Pocket with our Pockets Plugin. Create a Pocket for all pages, located after the head section.


Click enable, and save the Pocket. Next head back to Google to verify.


Please note: Verification will only work for communities that are public. Private sites are not crawled by Google and will not be able to be verified.

What can I do with Google Webmaster Tools?

So now that you are connected with Google Webmaster Tools, what can you do? Here’s a brief overview:



Once you connect Google Webmaster Tools, Google can easily notify you about issues or with suggestions. Make sure to correctly set up the messaging forwarding so you don’t miss these notifications.

Search Appearance


This section determines how your site will look in Google Search results. The main concern for communities, in this section, is to ensure you have the proper sitelinks. While they are automatically generated by Google, you may have content you don’t want highlighted. HTML Improvements are harder to control, as the meta titles and descriptions are controlled by what your members add in their content. Vanilla uses the best practices for SEO, so the recommendations are merely suggestions and do not cause you any harm.

Search Traffic

This section relates to how your site is performing in Google’s search results. Here are just some of things you can see:

  • The Search Analytics Report shows how often your site appears in Google search results. You can filter and group data by categories such as search query, date, or device. You’ll be able to determine trends over time and what search queries are most likely to show your site. This report has become popular to measure keyword performance due to changes Google made to protect user privacy on queries.
  • The Links Report, lists some of the websites linking to your site. As Google notes, “not all links to your site may be listed“.
  • The Internal Links Report lists a sample of pages on your site that have incoming links from other internal pages.
  • The Manual Actions Report, will note any manual actions taken on sites that use spammy techniques. This includes actions such as penalties, demoting them or even removing them from search results.
  • The Mobile Usability Report is a quick way to check how Google views community. Out of the box, Vanilla meets those requirements.

Google Index

This section focuses on your content in the Google index. This includes:

  • The Index Status report provides data about the URLs that Google tried to index in the current property for the the past year.
  • The Content report lists the most significant keywords and their variants Google found when crawling your site.
  • The Blocked Resources Reports report shows resources used by your site that are blocked to Googlebot (CSS or Javascript, for example).
  • The Remove URLs Report allows you to temporarily remove URLs that you own from search results.


This section provides data on Googlebot’s activity on your site. The key reports include:

  • Crawl reports provides information on Googlebot’s crawl rate, time on site and more over the last 90 days.
  • The Crawl Errors report the URLs that Google could not successfully crawl
  • Google Fetch, can test how Google crawls your site, and also allows you to submit content to be indexed.

This is also the place to submit your sitemap, if you have enabled the sitemap plugin.

SEO data in Google Analytics

Finally, if you are using Google Analytics, you can get your Google Webmaster data included there too.


Head to the acquisition section, and under “Search Engine Optimization” click on Queries. Follow the prompts to connect your Google Analytics to the appropriate Google Webmaster property.


Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Adrian Speyer

Written by Adrian Speyer

Adrian Speyer is the Head of Community and Lead Evangelist for Vanilla by Higher Logic. Besides spending many years in digital marketing, Adrian has been building communities of all sizes for over 20 years.

Have an Article for Vanilla's Blog?

Send us an email to [email protected] with your topic idea and we'll circle back with our publishing guidelines.

Subscribe to the Community Corner Newsletter and get expert insight and analysis on how to get the most out of your online community every Friday.
[contact-form-7 id="5700" title="Newsletter Form"]

Request a Demo

Schedule a product demo now.

Contact Us