New episode of the Google Search Console Training series on YouTube, in which Daniel Waisberg leads us to uncover the secrets of the old webmaster tools the US company supplies to everyone owning or managing a site. Right after explaining how to use Google Search Console, today we enter on a crucial phase, the verification of site ownership.

Google Search Console, how to verify site ownership

There are 7 methods to correctly complete this procedure, according Mountain View’s Search Advocate, and for the record they are DNS record, HTML file upload, HTML tag, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Sites and Blogger, each with its specific characteristics, among which everyone can find “the system that suits his needs the best”.

Google descrive i 7 metodi per verificare la proprietà in Search Console

What is verification needed for

Verification is the procedure that “allows your to prove you own a property”, needed for Google to be sure that “you are the owner of the site and prevent others to get access to your personal search data”. Verifying property is anyway “a simple passage that proves the ability to update and perform small and invisible edits to your site”, says Waisberg, and that takes you “only a few minutes”.

Regardless the method you will decide to use, the verifying procedure always starts in the same way: after the final goobye to the preferred domain setting, now it is required to perform the access to Google Search Console and then click on “add property” or to select an unverified property from the selection bar; or, if it is the first time ever accessing an unverified property, it will be the GSC wizard to guide the process instead.

Second step is to indicate the type of property to verify between the two available options: Domain and URL prefix, that respectively allow to verify all of the site URLs and subdomains or the specific added URLs only. The googler suggests to at least create one domain property to represent the site, because it offers more comprehensive information for the management of the project, while URL prefix should only be used to monitor single section of the site or to limit the access to all the info to possible external contractors.

1.      Verification with DNS record

This system works with the adding of a record DNS in the domain name provider. It was implemented over the past months and, as Waisberg highlights, it is now the only supported method for domain verification (but it can also be used to verify the properties of an URL). Right after entering the domain name on the form, we need to choose one of two options listed in the following box: select the provider of our domain name, if present on the list, or add a new record TXT.

First case is both quicker and easier: we land on the provider’s login page, where we can access and then grant the communication with Google Search Console, to which we will be later redirected. The verification generally happens in a matter of few hours, or some days tops, and if necessary we can always repeat the entire process if we fear it did not go through, by always keeping in mind that sometimes DNS record modifications can be really slow.

If the provider name is not actually listed, we then need to follow the instruction of the Help Center to complete the procedure, by adding the DNS text record and copying the Google token displayed on screen: there we can find the instruction for lots of providers, that often have different systems, but it should not be that hard to complete the operation.

2.      Verification through HTML file loading

The second method consist in the loading of a special HTML file in the site: in this case, we will first go on the verification for URL prefix and then on the HTML file section, from where we can download the resource we are going to later upload on our site’s root directory.

For instance, if we are trying to verify www.example.com its root directory would be the home page; while if the verification would be on www.example.com/party, the root directory is /party/. For the latter, by uploading the file in /party/ all child directories will be verified as well.

The file can be used on every site we want to verify, it is customized on our user and can be reused; moreover, confirmation of success is immediate so if it does not work we know right away we committed some kind of error!

3.      Verification with HTML Tag

We need permission to edit the home page source code in order to procede with the verification with a <meta> tag to the HTML code: it again all starts from the URL prefix selection, but in this case GSC supplies a tag with a custom key linked to a specific user. The string needs to be copied and then entered in the home page <HEAD> tag, and we can check directly from the source text if the adding has been successful; in this cas as well the verification would be immediate if correctly performed.

4.      Verifying the site with Google Analytics monitoring code

In order to proceed with the verification through a Google Analytics monitoring code we first of all need to use the same associated Google account or at least have the permission to edit related to the web property we are working on. Furthermore, we need to check that the home page actually has the Google Analytics tracking code in the head section of the page (not in the body one, even if still effective with Analytics).

The system follows the same path described for previous cases: we click on add property, choose URL prefix and enter the address, to then be linked to Analytics. Verification is immediate, except for errors, and in the video it is stressed that the verification is not made to get any kind of access to the Analytics data.

5.      Verification with Google Tag Manager

If we have a Google tag Manager account, we can verify site ownership using a code of the container snippet: before anything else, we need permission to publish on the Google Tag Manager container, alongside having to login Search Console with the same account and check that our home page has the <noscript> part of the Tag Manager code right after the opening <body> tag.

The proceeding continues in the same old way: we open the GSC, click on add property and enter the URL in the URL prefix. If we own all necessary permissions, the verification will be immediate after the click. Like for Analytics, here as well we are not linking the accounts of the two Google products, only making the verification easier.

6.      Verifying ownership with Google Sites

If we mean to verify the ownership of a site created with the Google Sites platform we primarily need to acceess it with the same account; the verification is instantaneous (through the URL prefix, as always) and automatic, but not in every case.

If we own a new site or a site with a custom domain URL, will in fact be necessary the same process previously described for the Google Analytics monitoring code method.

7.      Verification through Blogger

If our site is hosted by Blogger (the platform – once known as Blogspot – that back in 2003 became part of the Google ecosystem), in order to perform the verification you will need to login the Search Console with the same account; right after adding the property in the URL prefix a screen will open confirming the successful end of the operation. Simple and automatic.

The advice: use multiple verification systems

Before ending the second episode of the series, Daniel Waisberg offers a last practical suggestion: to use multiple verification methods, so to be sure that at least one will succeed in the event of problems, errors or difficulties. Moreover, each property verified in Google Search Console requires at least one owner, but it should be better to have a few more of them, both for safety and easy access.

Lastly, for your own safety, is good to know that we can check the list of verified owners on any given moment and possibly proceed with the removal of these privileges if necessary (very useful if we are talking about an employee leaving the job or we changed company of SEO consultancy), so to prevent them the access to sensitive business data.