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Google Webmaster Tools verification details

Google Webmaster Tools provides useful stats and analysis of your site, but Google can only share this information with owners of the site. You can verify your site by uploading an HTML file or by adding a meta tag to your home page.

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Why verify your site?

Privacy is important to Google, which is why Google Webmaster Tools asks you to prove you own a site before showing you stats and data about it. Verification doesn't affect PageRank or affect your site's performance in Google's search results.

To verify that you own a site, you can either add a meta tag to your home page (proving that you have access to the source files), or upload a specific HTML file to your server (proving that you have access to the server). Webmaster Tools will check to see that the file or tag is present. If it is, Google considers you a site owner and will show you site details.

FAQs

Q: I'm getting an error when trying to verify my site with an HTML file, even though my file is visible in my browser.
A: Look at the specific error that Webmaster Tools is showing and read the help content for that error.
The Live HTTP Headers Firefox extension or an online HTTP result code viewer such as Web-Sniffer can be helpful in figuring out what status code a page is returning. Your homepage should return a HTTP result code 200. If you use file-based verification, the verification file should also return a HTTP result code 200 and must contain only the content provided by Webmaster Tools.

Q: Does it matter whether my Webmaster Tools verification meta tag is in HTML or XHTML?
A: We'll be able to find your meta tag no matter which format you use. Webmaster Tools provides the meta tag in XHTML by default, but you're welcome to change it to HTML; this won't prevent you from verifying ownership of your site. The meta tag version that you choose does not affect Google's ability to crawl and index your website.

Q: How can I give someone else access to my Webmaster Tools account?
A: Verified owners can add additional owners to a site. Click the "Manage" link next to the site's name on the home page and select "Add or remove owners" to go to the Verificatio details page. From this page, you can click the "Add an owner..." button and add another Google account.


Which method should I use - meta tag, HTML, DNS or Analytics code?

If you can't add files to your server (for example, if you create your site using a tool such as Blogger), adding a meta tag or verifying ownership via Google Analytics is the best way. If you have direct access to your server, you may find it easier and faster to upload an HTML file. If you access Webmaster Tools via a web hoster such as GoDaddy, your site is already verified. Verification with DNS requires a bit more technical know-how, but allows you to verify ownership of an entire domain (and all of the sites within that domain). Other hosting services provide their own procedures for verification in Google Webmaster Tools. Check with your provider for more information.

The verification by meta tag shows to some extent if the Google verification bot can parse the content of your home page, so it gives this extra information compared to verification by file upload.

How to verify a site

  1. Sign into Google Webmaster Tools with your Google Account.
  2. Click Manage site > Verify this site next to the site you want.
  3. Select the verification method that works best for you.

Potential errors

Occasionally, you might receive an error when verifying your site. These can occur for a number of reasons:

DNS and server errors and timeouts
: These can prevent Google from looking up your domain name. If you get a message that Google couldn't look up your domain name because of an error or a timeout, make sure your domain is resolving correctly and try again. Also, check in case your server is down or overloaded and responding slowly. If your server is repeatedly unreachable, you may wish to contact your hoster for additional help.

HTML file errors: The most common errors happen because the file name is incorrect or the file hasn't been uploaded to the directory listed by the Verify button. Don't modify the HTML verification file in any way - just download it from Webmaster Tools, and upload without changes to your server.

Meta tag errors
: Make sure that you've copied and pasted the meta tag to your site's home page - the page your server returns when someone requests your site. Also, make sure that it's in the <HEAD> section of the page, like this:
<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Your Title</TITLE>
<meta name="google-site-verification" content="String_we_ask_for" /></HEAD>
<BODY>

Try to have as correct (X)HTML mark-up as possible, to help the verification bot parse correctly your home page and find the meta verification tag,

If you wish to check your server access logs when you have a verification error, the Google verification bot identifies itself as "Google-Sitemaps/1.0". For information on verifying subdomains and subdirectories, allowing multiple users and other issues see site verification.


Verifying on Blogger

Blogger has integrated with Webmaster Tools, so verifying your blog is now simpler than ever.
  1. From your Blogger Dashboard, click on the Webmaster Tools link (in the Tools and Resourcessection)
  2. That link should take you to the Webmaster Tools home page. Click Add a site.
  3. Enter your blog's URL (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com) and click Continue.


Verifying on Google Sites

See our help center for full instructions on verifying your Google Site.


Verifying sites on GoDaddy

Verifying a site hosted on GoDaddy is easy.
  1. Make sure you have created a Webmaster Tools account for your GoDaddy account.
  2. Sign in to your GoDaddy Account Manager.
  3. In the My Products section, click Hosting.
  4. Click Manage Account next to the hosting account you want to manage.
  5. In the Content section, click the Google Webmaster Tools icon. The Google Webmaster Tools page will open.
  6. Select the domains you want to verify.
  7. Click Verify.

GoDaddy Website Tonight
  1. Go to Page designer or Design your pages.
  2. Choose your "Home Page" as the page to modify, if it isn't shown already.
  3. Select the Page tab, choose Properties, then Meta Data.
  4. Under Custom Meta Tags, click Add Meta Tag.
  5. Enter google-site-verification for the name, enter the given verification string (eg uEtG4638yY...) as the content.
  6. Click OK to save, and finally Publish to update the live homepage.


Verifying on Apple iWeb

The easiest way to verify a site created in iWeb is to upload an HTML file to your server.

  1. Sign into Google Webmaster Tools with your Google Account. If you haven't added your site to your account, do it now.
  2. Click Verify next to the site you want.
  3. In the Choose verification method list, select Upload an HTML file. Google will ask you to download a file and upload it without changes to a specific directory on your webserver.
  4. Move the verification file to your iDisk /Web/Sites/ folder to upload it to your server.
  5. Click Verify in your Webmaster Tools account. Google will check your server to see if the file is present. If it finds it, your site will be verified, and you'll have access to all the information in Webmaster Tools.


Verifying on Microsoft Office Live

When you verify a Microsoft Office Live site, you'll need to make a few changes to make sure that the meta tag appears correctly in your HTML. (For more information, check out Solutions for Office Live.)

  1. Make sure you've added your site to your Google Webmaster Tools account.
  2. Sign into Google Webmaster Tools with your Google Account.
  3. On the Home page, click Verify next to the site you want.
  4. In the Choose verification method list, select Add a meta tag.
  5. Copy the meta tag that appears on the page and paste it into a text file. It'll look something like this:

    <meta name="google-site-verification" content="uEtG4638yYT42PzvFua6iiR1v+iJ2lfnUpZ/cJPdzKM=" />

    Note: Keep the Webmaster Tools window open.

  6. In this step, you'll create a new meta tag using the ID Google provides. Copy the following text and paste it into the same text file:

    %22%20%2F%3E%3Cmeta name=%22google-site-verification%22 content=%22

  7. Copy the ID from the tag provided by Google, and paste it at the end of the string above. It will look something like this:

    %22%20%2F%3E%3Cmeta name=%22google-site-verification%22 content=%22uEtG4638yYT42PzvFua6iiR1v%2BiJ2lfnUpZ/cJPdzKM=

    Note: If the tag provided by Google contains "+", you'll need to replace it with %2B.

  8. In Office Live, open your site's home page (default.aspx).
  9. Open Page Properties and paste the string above into the Keywords box, after any keywords you have already added. The Keywords box does have a size limit, so check to see that the whole tag was pasted correctly.
  10. Go back to Webmaster Tools, and click Verify.

Verifying on Netfirms

  1. Login to your Netfirms Control Panel.
  2. Click Applications.
  3. Select Website Tools.
  4. Click Webmaster Tools.
  5. In the Add Webmaster Tools section, use the pull-down menu to select a domain you wish to setup with Google Webmaster Tools.
  6. To add a default Sitemap for your site, click the corresponding Add button.

You can either use a default sitemap.xml that is created for you, or a customized sitemap.xml file that you or a 3rd party program has created. Using the interface you can submit either of those to Google.

Completing the above steps will also accomplish the following:

  • Create a Google Webmaster Tools account on behalf of the registrant.
  • Submit the selected domain name to Google’s search engine for indexing.
  • A confirmation file in the selected domain’s home directory will be created to allow Google to visit that link. The file created looks similar to: googlefdh35sdh48dfhr734.html.

Verifying on Mr. Site

  1. Make sure you've added your site to your Google Webmaster Tools account.
  2. Sign into Google Webmaster Tools with your Google Account.
  3. On the Home page, click Verify next to the site you want.
  4. In the Choose verification method list, select Upload an HTML file.
  5. Download the HTML verification file as instructed, and save it on your computer.
  6. You will now upload this file to your website via FTP (you can use a free FTP client like FileZilla if you don't already have one). Open FileZilla (or your FTP client) and go to Edit > Settings > Connection > FTP.
  7. Make sure you select the Active Transfer Mode and uncheck "Allow fall back to other transfer mode on failure." Click "OK" to save your changes.
  8. In the bar at the top of FileZilla, fill the following fields with your information:
    Address: www.example.com (replace “example.com” with your website name)
    Username: example.com (replace “example.com” with your website name)
    Password: Your original Mr. Site activation code in capital letters
    Port: 21
  9. Click on the ‘Quick Connect’ button. Once you've been logged in, click on the wwwroot folder (in the ‘Remote Site’ column) and then upload your HTML verification file by locating it in the ‘Local Site’ column. Simply double click to upload.
  10. In Webmaster Tools, click the "Verify" button.
You can also watch this video on how to upload via FTP.

Verifying your site on other popular hosting setups

There are many hosting environments that make verification with Webmaster Tools a fairly straight-forward process. These are just some of them:



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