Dave Taylor

How do I verify my site with Google Webmaster Tools?

By: Dave Taylor
April 25th, 2011
I've heard that one of the best ways to improve my Google search ranking is to fix anything that's marked as incorrect in Google's Webmaster Tools service. Problem is, when I did go to Webmaster Central it says my site's not verified. How do I verify my Web site with Google Tools?

Dave's Answer:

You're spot on to be concerned with the information that Google Webmaster Tools reveals as not perfect with your site: it's not the same team as Google's search algorithm team, but they're looking at a lot of the same factors, so if it doesn't work for them, it's quite possibly an issue with the search results, as you suspect.

Then again, Google search is also a grand mystery and it's possible that what Google Webmaster Tools reports is irrelevant. But... just in case that's not the case... it's probably a smart idea to be aware of what's being reported.

Once you verify you are the owner of Web site.

Let's start at the beginning, though. At Google Webmaster Tools.

Connect and if you're like me, you have a number of sites, but not all of them are verified as being under your control. It'll look like this:

google webmaster verify site 1

To verify your site, simply click on "Verify this site" and it'll tell you, no doubt, that it failed to verify, as you can see at the top of this page:

google webmaster verify site 2

The recommended method is a good one: just add the <meta> information to the top of your own Web page. Before we proceed, however, let's see what alternatives are available:

google webmaster verify site 3

Link to your Google Analytics account? That sounds easy, especially since I'm running Google Analytics on my site already. To try that, I just click on the radio button adjacent to "Link to your Google Analytics Account" and click on the "Verify" button.

google webmaster verify site 4

Unfortunately -- and oddly -- it doesn't work, however, so I switch back to the line-of-code solution instead by clicking back on the "Recommended Method" tab. I copy that line of code and paste it into the top of my latest blog entry, as shown in this screenshot of the backend of my blog:

google webmaster verify site 5
Back to Google Webmaster Tools and a click on "Verify" just to find...

google webmaster verify site 6

Oops, that's right. It can't be in some random location on the page (because otherwise you could leave a comment that included the meta information on someone's site to verify "your" ownership and cause all sorts of trouble, I presume). Instead, I open up the template for the main page of the site (known as "index.html") and paste in the meta information:

google webmaster verify site 7

Save and republish, then back in the Google Webmaster Tools another click on "Verify" and...

google webmaster verify site 8

That's right, there's no "success" or "verified" message. If it works, you just see the Webmaster Tools data, information that's only available to site owners.

Now the hard part, reading what's there and acting upon it. Good luck!

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About the Author: Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since 1980 and is internationally known as an expert on both business and technology issues. Holder of an MSEd and MBA, author of twenty books and founder of four startups, he also runs a strategic marketing company and consults with firms seeking the best approach to working with weblogs and social networks. Dave is an award-winning speaker and frequent guest on radio and podcast programs. AskDaveTaylor.com http://www.intuitive.com/blog/