To start using Google Webmaster Tools you first have to add your site to your Webmaster Tools account then verify site ownership. We will be covering the two easier ways to verify site ownership for the average website/blog owner.
Verifying ownership for Google Webmaster Tools seems to be a problem for some people. Not sure what they do wrong but if you follow the instructions below carefully you should not have any problem.
Add Site to Google Webmaster Tools
- You need a Google Account if you don’t already have one.
- Go to Google Webmaster Tools and login using your Google Account.
You are taken to the Home page of your Webmaster Tools account.
- There is a button called Add a Site on your Home page, click it.
A small screen pops up under the Add a Site button with a spot for the url of the site.
- Type in your website address.
Click the Continue button to complete.
Refreshes to the Verify Ownership Screen.
Options for Site Ownership Verification
- Using a meta tag in the head of your home page.
- Using a file uploaded to your web server.
- Adding a DNS record to your domain’s configuration
- Link to an existing Google Analytics account.
Instructions for verifying by DNS record are available at Verification: DNS TXT record.
Instructions for verifying by an existing Google Analytics account are available at Verification: Google Analytics tracking code
The problem with this method is that you need a separate head section just for the home page. When using includes or a DWT (Dynamic Web Template) this is extra work. We prefer the HTML method.
- Click the radio button (circle) beside Add a meta tag to your site’s home page.
You custom meta tag appears at the bottom of the screen.
- Copy the meta tag shown into a plain text editor (Notepad for example) and save for safe keeping.
- You now have to paste this custom meta tag into the head section of
your home page. The idea is that you keep Google Webmaster Tools open
while you do this.
The head section of your page is surrounded by an opening head tag and a closing head tag.
You are to paste your custom meta tag just before the closing head tag of your home page.
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1" / >
<title>Title of the document</title>
<meta name="Description" content="Your description" />
<meta name="Keywords" content="first, second, third" / >
<meta name="Copyright" content="Copyright Statement" / >
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="styles/stylesht.css">
Put meta tag here
The example above is for a site using XHTML DOCTYPE declaration. The tags between the opening and closing heads for your site template might be a bit different.
- Upload the updated home page to your web space. You can do this using a FTP client.
- Go back to your browser with Google Webmaster Tools open and click the Verify button at the bottom of the screen.
If Google has problems verifying the meta tag they will give you information on what is the problem.
If you can upload the file either by using a FTP client or through the control panel at your web hosting this is our method of choice.
- On the Verify ownership screen click the radio button (circle) beside Upload an HTML file to your server
The instructions appear at the bottom of the screen
- The first instruction says to download the file provided.
Click the link and you will get a screen asking you where you want to save it.
Save this file in the folder that contains the files for your website. You do have a backup copy of your website, right? It goes in the root of your website files. This is where your index/default page file is (your home page).
You can proceed to the next step without closing Google Webmaster Tools, minimize the browser if you are using the FTP client method to upload or open a new window/tab if you are going to use the web hosting control panel to upload.
- Start up your FTP client or log into your web hosting account’s control then to the file manager.
When using the web hosting file manager, make sure you navigate to
folder that contains the root of the site, where your home page is.
Likewise for when you are using a FTP client. Make sure you have navigated to the root folder of the website before starting to upload.
- Upload the file you just got from Google to the root of your website.
Once the file has been uploaded, you can close the program or web hosting control panel, which ever you used to upload.
- Maximize the browser/go back to the tab with Google Webmaster Tools in it.
- There is a link in the Verify ownership screen to click which will verify you have uploade the file to the right spot.
A new tab/window will open. You will see a web page with just
google-site-verification: the name of the file you just uploaded. This
verifies you uploaded the file to the right spot and you can close this
If you don’t see this, then you uploaded the file to the wrong spot.
- The next step is verification.
Click the Verify button at the bottom of the screen.
Screen refreshes and takes you to the Dashboard screen. There is not going to be any data here yet because Google hasn’t had time to produce any for you yet.
- That is it. You can click the Back to Home link at the top right to go back to the home page.
Once the site ownership has been verified you should see a Add or
remove owners note beside your website listing on your Webmaster Tools