Google Search Console Verification Simplified 101

on Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Data Driven, Data Driven Strategies, ETL Tutorials, google search console, Tutorials • October 20th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

Google Search Console is an indispensable tool for anyone who owns a website and wishes to get organic traffic from Google Search. Not only does it provide you with performance reports, but it also provides you with pointed insights on where your site needs to improve. This comes in the form of several Analytics reports like Mobile Usability, core Web vitals, Links Reports, and several others. It allows you to submit a newer page on your site for indexing (so that it appears faster in Google’s Search results), and also allows you to submit a sitemap so that newer pages on your site keep getting read by Google regularly.

The recently launched Google Search Console Insights (beta) makes the Google Search Console even more useful, providing insights about the top-Performing Pages, top Traffic Sources, Keywords used, the Performance of your newer content, and a lot more. Moreover, it’s important to set up your Google Search Console Verification.

Reading the above paragraphs would have made you excited about adding your website property to Google’s Search Console. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We have a separate article discussing the broad steps required for setting up your Google Search Console account. You can find it here. The current article will discuss in detail one important step of the entire process: Google Search Console Verification.

Table of Contents

Prerequisites

It is assumed that you have a website property that you wish to add to Google Search Console. It is also assumed that you have gone through the article here discussing the broad steps of setting up your Search Console account. No other prerequisites apart from this for setting up Google Search Console Verification.

Introduction to Google Search Console Verification

Google Search Console allows you to add two types of properties: Domain properties and URL Prefix properties. For Domain properties, there is only one verification method available: DNS Verification. For URL prefix property, you can use DNS verification, yes. But there are several other easier verification methods available. Let’s go through all the methods one by one for Google Search Console Verification.

1) Google Search Console Verification: DNS Verification

Note: This is the only Verification method that works for Domain properties. It works for URL Prefix properties as well.

This involves the addition of a TXT or a CNAME record to the website’s Domain Name provider’s list. Google provides you with a text record, that you need to manually add by logging into your Domain Name provider account. A sample is given below:

Google Search Console Verification - DNS Verification
Image Source: Self

Notice the dropdown which reads ‘Any DNS provider’. If you click on that dropdown, you will get a list of common DNS providers, like godaddy.com or name.com. If your DNS provider is mentioned in the list, select it. If you don’t know who your DNS provider is, this guide will help. If you select a DNS provider from the list, Google will provide you with a ‘Start Verification’ button. Google will do the heavy lifting in this case, and all you’ll have to do is provide Google access to your DNS account.

Google Search Console Verification - Start DNS Verification
Image Source: Self

Let’s discuss the generic case, wherein you don’t find your DNS provider in the dropdown. In this case, you will select ‘Any DNS provider’ in the dropdown. You will then have to log in to either the admin panel of your web host or directly log in to the domain name provider (some web hosts allow domain settings directly in the admin panel, some de-couple the domain settings and host settings). You can see select your host (like hostinger.com or bluehost.com) from this guide to see the host-specific steps.

In general, you will then need to manually enter the record. You typically need the following:

  • Type: It will generally be TXT, it will be CNAME for some cases. Generally, Google will tell you which type to use, as in the first image above, where Google specified the TXT record type. If you still want to check the record type applicable to your website separately, see the instructions here.
  • Name/ Host/ Alias: This guide will help determine the value for this field for TXT type and this one for the CNAME type.
  • Value/ Answer/ Destination (for TXT) or Distination/Target (for CNAME): Enter the token provided by Google here
  • TTL (Time to Live): This is the number of seconds before any further changes to the TXT record go live. This value should be 3600 for TXT records, and 3600, or default, for CNAME records. 

An example is provided in the below screenshot (this is for Hostinger host):

Google Search Console Verification - Manage DNS Records
Image Source: Self

Once you’ve added the record, click on ‘VERIFY’. It can take up to 2-3 days for your changes to take effect. If you still face errors after 2-3 days, see the Troubleshooting guide.

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2) Google Search Console Verification: HTML File Upload

Note: This method works only for URL Prefix properties.

This is a simple method. All you need is access to your website’s file manager. Google will provide you with an HTML file. You just need to download it and then upload it to the address provided by Google (typically the root folder, which generally appears as public_html in the file manager). Thus if the file is named test.html and Google asks you to upload it to https://example.com (or whatever your website address is), then it should be accessible at https://example.com/test.html.

Google Search Console Verification - HTML File
Image Source: Self

Note the following:

  • Do not modify the HTML file.
  • Use only the file provided to you. The file provided to you for your website property cannot be used to verify any other website property.
  • Make sure that the file doesn’t require any authentication. It should be accessible on the internet. You can confirm that the file is accessible on the public internet by visiting it in an incognito window on your browser.
  • It is recommended to not remove this file, even after successful verification.

Once you have uploaded the HTML, click ‘Verify’. If the verification fails for any reason, see the troubleshooting guide.

3) Google Search Console Verification: HTML Tag

Note: This method works only for URL Prefix properties.

This is another simple method. All you need to do is add a snippet in the HTML file of your homepage. 

Google Search Console Verification - HTML Tag
Image Source: Self

The meta tag provided by Google needs to be added to the <head></head> section of your homepage. For example:

<head>
  <title>My Awesome Website</title>
  <meta name="google-site-verification" content="elT...." />
</head>

Once you’ve added the tag, save the page, then click ‘Verify’ in the Search Console dialog.

Please make sure that your homepage doesn’t require authentication and is accessible on the public internet. If you face any errors in Google Search Console Verification, then refer to the troubleshooting guide.

4) Google Search Console Verification: Google Analytics

Note: This method works only for URL Prefix properties.

If you have already added your site to Google Analytics, then the <head></head> section of your homepage file will contain an analytics.js or a gtag.js snippet. If you have the ‘Edit’ permission for the Google Analytics property, then the verification will generally be automatic. If it doesn’t happen automatically, all you need to do is click Verify. Google will simply match the accounts which have edit access to the property corresponding to the snippet with the account trying to get the website verified.

Google Search Console Verification - Google Analytics
Image Source: Self

Note the following:

  • Your homepage must not require authentication.
  • Do not temper with the analytics.js or the gtag.js snippet.

If the verification fails, refer to the troubleshooting guide here.

5) Google Search Console Verification: Google Tag Manager

Note: This method works only for URL Prefix properties.

This is similar to the Google Analytics integration discussed above. If you have a Tag Manager account, your website homepage will contain the container snippet. You just need to sign in to the Search Console using an account that has edit access in the Google Tag Manager account from where the said container snippet originated. And you simply need to click on ‘Verify’.

Google Search Console Verification - Google Tag Manager
Image Source: Self

Note the following:

  • Your homepage should not require authentication.
  • For the tag manager container whose snippet is used on your homepage, you must have ‘Publish’ permission.
  • Do not tamper with the container snippet. Use it exactly as provided.
  • The <noscript> portion of the Tag Manager code should immediately follow the opening of the <body> tag on your homepage.

If the Google Search Console Verification fails, visit the troubleshooting guide here.

Special Considerations for Google Search Console Verification

Some additional points that need to be taken care of when working with Google Search Console Verification are listed below:

  • Blogger: If you have created a new blog in blogger, it should be added and verified automatically in Search Console. If you don’t see it, add it to the Search Console (you must be logged in with the same account that you used to create the blog) and the verification will be automatic.
  • Google Domains: Any property that you register on a domain that is registered on Google Domains will be automatically verified on adding to the Search Console.
  • Google Sites: If you have a new style Google site (2017+) without a custom domain URL, you must use the Google Analytics tracking code method to verify. To verify either a classic Google site or one which uses a custom domain URL, use the HTML Tag method
  • WordPress: Use the  Site Kit for the WordPress plugin provided by Google. It will handle the verification for you, and also provide a unified view of several Google services, like Analytics and Adsense.
  • Wix: See the guide here.
  • Weebly: Follow the steps here.

Conclusion

In this article, you have seen several methods that can be used for Google Search Console Verification. You should choose the one that is applicable for your site and is easiest to implement. Moreover, you also learned about other critical considerations to keep in mind while working with Google Search Console Verification.

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