We are back to talk about Google Search Console, more specifically about the process of verification of site ownership in order to enable the use of the californian company’s free platform. A few days ago we saw together the seven different methods to complete the precedure, and today we are going to further focus on the most frequent errors that can happen, then determining the whole operation’s failure.
Most common site verification’s errors
It is the official Search Console guide page itself to help us discover which are the most common errors in a site verification process, by listing both the general ones and those more specifically concerning the chosen method. In first case, there are at least nine problems we could stumble upon:
- Wrong tags/snippets/files.
- Expired server connection.
- DNS error.
- Too many redirections for download request.
- Invalid answer from server.
- Inability to connect to server.
- Internal error.
- Inability to find the domain.
Frequent problems with the method
First error comes whenever the tag, the code snippet or the requested file received at the beginning of the procedure is not used; sometimes, it is not possible to verify the file because of a server timeout, that could be inactive or busy and for that answer too slowly. In these cases, we need to solve the problem and then try again.
Google marks as common even a kind of error happening during the research of the site’s domain name: the system tries to access to the verification file, but cannot really reach the domain because of a DNS error, due to inactive server or a problem of DNS routing for the domain.
Another problem happens when the download request has been redirected too many times creating an infinite URL cycle, or if the server gives back an invalid answer, like if the access to the site requires the authentication through password or there are other reasons stalling the process.
Frequent (but generally temporary) are also the errors of server connection to the site, that can generate an absolute inability to reach the site or a timeout of the attempt (meaning when the site or DNS do not answer to Search Console’s requests, anymore). Lastly, we may stumble upon a generical internal error or type a wrong URL, preventing Google from finding the domain.
Specific errors per verification method
To this quick list we can add, as mentioned before, errors that can happen during the process of the specific verification method we chose: here too, we are not dealing with anything particularly complex, but rather with procedures easy to correct and fix.
Potential errors with DNS record
When we proceed with the DNS record verification there are two potential errors that could emerge
- Verification record not found.
- Verification record not matching.
It can happens for Google to take a few minutes to finally see the published record, so generating an error in the short term; in the other case, instead, we could have used a different verification record of the DNS provider than the one actually received from Search Console.
Potential errors with HTML files
There are four potential errors who choose to perform the verification with the loading of HTML files could fall into:
- Verification file not found.
- Verification file with incorrect contents.
If we edit in any way the original file supplied by Search Console’s Verification page, and then if the name or file contents do not match the original ones, it will not be possible to successfully complete the request. Moreover, the file must be uploaded in the pre-specified placement.
- Verification file damaged.
The failure of the attempt seems to indicate that the site could have been damaged.
- Verification file redirecting to a not allowed position.
Googlebot does not follow the redirectings of the verification file; redirects within a single site are allowed, but not those toward other sites (it is recommended to use verification through meta tags).
Potential errors with HTML tag
There are only two problems that can happen with the HTML tag verification system, both born from the same basic mistake:
- Meta tag not found or in the wrong position.
- Meta tag incorrect.
As we know, the verification meta tag has to be in the <HEAD> section of the page; every other different placement inevitably generates an error. Furthermore, Google suggests not to touch the contents of the provided meta tag, but to simply copy and paste it from Search Console’s Verification page into the right position.
Potential errors with Google Analytics monitoring code
The procedure performed through Google Analytics monitoring code risks to produce some greater difficulties:
- Snippet not found.
- Snippet not valid.
- Wrong snippet found (outdated Google Analytics snippet or third parties Tag Manager/Tag Manager).
- Snippet in the wrong placement.
- Google Analytics account missing or insufficient authorizations.
Looking closely, though, these problems come from trivial reasons, such as entering the snippet in the wrong place (a.k.a the <head> section of home page), not to use the exact same snippet provided, owning an invalid Google Analytics account or not having edit permissions and so on.
Potential errors with Google Tag Manager
Something similar can be said for the verification using Google Tag Manager:
- Insufficient permissions.
- Wrong tag.
- No Tag Manager container.
- Tag not found/wrong placement.
In this case, the mandatory steps are to have admin authorizations for the Google Tag Manager account, to create an account container, to use the right associated tag and enter it in the proper page and position.