If you own a site, verifying it with Google Search Console (old Webmaster Tools) is simply something you have to do. Why? Because it’s your surest way to get access to tons of valuable data, to make it easy for Google to find and index your site – and to communicate with you, if any issues arise. Last but not least, it’s a good way to ensure that Google’s pinged about your newest posts before any scrapers get their fingers on them.
Some bloggers hesitate to do it, because they’re not sure how to go about it. Verifying your site with Google Search Console isn’t that difficult a task, though. Some first-timers might still find it a bit challenging but no matter how challenging, you should do it at all cost – as long as you’re not just blogging for the fun of it.
In order to verify your site with Google Search Console, you must have a Google account. This is basically the very same account you use to check your Gmail, to access Google+, or to enable certain functionalities on your phone. If you still don’t have a Google account, simply create one.
As a next step, log into Google Search Console and follow these steps:
- Click on the red button reading Add a Property
- Write the URL of your site. It should look like: http://www.mysite.com/ or http://mysite.com/. If you’re adding a subdomain, it should look like http://mysubdomain.maindomain.com/.
- Click on Continue
- You should now see different methods for verification of the added property (necessary step). There’s a Recommended Method tab and Alternate Methods tab. They all work just the same.
- Choose a method, follow the instructions, and remember to click on Verify at the end.
Methods for Verifying Your Site With Google Search Console
Method 1: Add a DNS TXT record or a CNAME record to your domain’s settings.
This method requires that you have access to your domain name provider’s site and more specifically to domain management. If you don’t have access or you’re unsure about how to proceed with this method, you might ask your domain name provider to help you. Most will gladly assist you.
Tip 1: You can, however, bypass this procedure if using a plugin. There’re many plugins that help you verify your site with Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster, etc. (as the plugins reviewed in this article, for example). All you need to do in such case is to copy-paste the Google verification code from the verification page into your plugin’s dedicated field. You must, however, only copy-paste the part of the unique security token which comes after the “=”.
Tip 2: If you aren’t using any plugins that can help you with the verification process and you feel that the recommended method is too difficult to implement – or your site is installed on a subdomain, take a look at the tab Alternate methods.
Method 2: Upload a HTML file to your site’s root directory.
If you have access to the server via FTP or File Manager, try to verify your site with Google Search Console by uploading Google’s HTML verification file to the root directory. The procedure goes like that: you download the file from Google’s verification page, connect to the server via FTP and upload the file into your public_html directory (if your site isn’t a subdomain. In such case you should upload the file into the respective subdirectory in public_html). Then you should go back and click on Verify in Google Search Console.
Method 3: Add a HTML tag in the HEAD section of your site.
If you feel more comfortable with code instead of with servers or FTP, try this method and add a HTML tag into your home page’s head section. What you actually need to do is edit the header.php file of your theme. The verification tag should be added before the first <body> tag. Please use this method, only if you’re familiar with coding! You can otherwise easily cause fatal errors.
Method 4: Verify your site via Google Analytics.
This method is perfect for everyone, who’s not feeling comfortable with any of the other described methods. The reason is that, even though the method requires a functional Google Analytics account, which normally gets activated by you adding code to your pages, most themes and SEO plugins offer Google Analytics integration. This means that, instead of you going in and editing your code page by page – yes, you have to add the code on each page that you want analyzed – you should simply write your Google Analytics ID or copy-paste the provided code piece into a dedicated field in your theme’s settings or in the settings of the SEO plugin, which you’re using. After you’ve done that, a bit of time has to pass – up to 24 hours – before the code is detected. From this point on, though, the task of verifying your site with Google Search Console becomes much easier. You should simply choose Google Analytics as a verification method and then click on Verify.
Method 5: Verification via Tag Manager.
This is done pretty much the same way as described for Google Analytics – you must have activated Tag Manager on your site and have “View, edit, and manage” account level permissions in order to use this method. Follow the instructions on the Verification page. The Tag manager code should be placed right after the first <body> tag on your page for the verification to succeed. When you’ve added the code, click on Verify in Google Search Console.
After completing one of the described methods, the result should be that you’ve successfully verified your site with Google Search Console. Even though your account gets activated right away, a few days will pass before you’re able to see any data.
The reason is that Google Search Console gets updated roughly once a week and needs always a few days to generate initial data. You have to also manually (via the available tool) submit a sitemap to enable Google in its efforts to index your pages.
Examples of the data, which you’ll get access to, after verifying your site with Google Search Console, are: search analytics, server status, crawling history, sitemap stats and health, security issues, mobile usability notice, timely notifications from Google on issues and possible improvements, overview of backlinks, internal links, importance of keywords on your site, etc.