What most people miss about Google Webmasters Tools verification

December 12, 2011 / Search Engine Optimization / By Kathy Alice

GoogleGetting your site set up and verified with Google Webmaster Tools is one of the tasks that should be done with any new site. For one thing, if your site hasn’t been indexed yet by Google, it will be if you submit it to GWMT (Google Webmaster Tools). Second, as I have mentioned before, GWMT is a communication channel from Google to you about any problems that could hurt your site’s SEO.

One annoying thing, and many people miss this, is that you should verify both the ‘www’ and non ‘www’ versions of your site with Google Webmasters Tools, even if you have a 301 redirect (as you should) setup from one to the another.

Why verify both the ‘www’ and non ‘www’ versions of your site?

  • Google is pretty smart about the ‘www’ subdomain, but telling it you own both your domain and the ‘www’ subdomain just is another signal that helps your site. Google doesn’t automatically transfer the trust and authority it’s given to a domain to a subdomain. This is because it is possible for someone different to own a subdomain.
  • Verifying both versions allows you to set the “preferred domain” (Site Configuration -> Settings) in GWMT, again another signal that can only help.
  • If you ever have to move your site to another domain, you will want to submit a “Change of Address” in GWMT. You will not be able to do this unless both the ‘www’ and non ‘www’ versions of your site have been verified.

More on Google Webmasters Tools Verification

To verify your site in Google Webmasters Tools there are three methods (the third method is newer):

  1. Add a meta tag in the of your home page
  2. Upload a file to the root directory that GWMT provides to you
  3. Add a DNS record for your site and telling Google about it.

DNS Text Verification was released in mid 2011 by Google.

There are many step by step articles and videos on how to do the verification, including in this blog. Also as one might expect, there is a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to do the verification if you don’t want to deal with FTP, editing your site or DNS records. Here are some links to resources:

About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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