WordPress.com and Google Webmaster Tools

I decided to play around with Google’s Webmaster Tools to learn a little bit more about how Google sees my site, and to see what the tools had to offer. Adding my main page and my portfolio to GWT was as easy as putting a meta tag in the <head> section for each site (a flat index.html page in the case of tonyscida.com and a Django template in the case of portfolio.tonyscida.com). But, this blog is hosted on WordPress.com, so the process was a little more involved. Here’s what I did:

A quick Google for “WordPress.com Google Webmaster Tools” let to lots of posts about getting GWT to work with WordPress.com. The short version is that you add a Page named with Google’s verification code. Following the steps outlined on all those sites (and the WordPress.com FAQ on the topic) worked perfectly. One problem, though: If your template automatically adds Page titles to the header, you end up with something like this:

Blog Header w/Google Verification Page

Blog Header w/Google Verification Page

Call me picky, but that just won’t do for me. I poked around the WP.com Dashboard for a few minutes looking for a way to remove pages from the header, but didn’t find a way. However, with a $15/year upgrade, you can customize the CSS on your WordPress.com blog. Using FireBug, I checked to see if this template gave me any way to select only that menu item, and was pleasantly surprised that each menu item appears to have both a common and a unique class attribute.

FireBug to the Rescue

FireBug to the Rescue

Deciding that it would be worth it (now I’ll be able to make other design tweaks to the site in addition to fixing this niggle), I bought the upgrade. WP.com’s CSS Editor gives you the option to append your styles to the existing stylesheet or replace it all-together. I decided to append a little display:none; rule and my ugly menu item is gone forever (or, at least until next year when I have to decide if the CSS upgrade was worth it).

none;"

Menu Item Styled "display:none;"

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One thought on “WordPress.com and Google Webmaster Tools

  1. Glad it worked for you. You can also just delete the page and use google webmaster tools for quite some time before having to make the page over again…leaving the page up there just long enough for the verification process to take place.

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