Chapter 2 – Google Webmaster Tools account set up and adding website.
Creating an account in Google Webmaster tool is the easiest of thing and maybe many of you already have it and you just need to sign in. To get a Google webmaster account, you simply need to sign up fill up a simple form and you are done.
If you are already using a Gmail account, then you already have a Google webmaster account, you simply need to sign in. Google has adopted a policy of single sign on which has made possible to use the same username and password on all Google resources.
After you get your account and sign in you need to add your website to Webmaster account.
Once you are signed in, you would see the home page like the one below if you already have added any website it will appear in the list as shown below. To add a new website you need to click on the red button on the top right hand side which says “ADD A SITE”.
Before we move ahead and add the site to the webmaster account. I would like you to note this point that you need to add both “www” and non “www” version of the website that is you need to add site example.com and www.example.com and verify both the account. We would discuss in later chapter why is it necessary to do this, but for now we need to keep in mind, we need to add both “www” non “www” version of website to our webmaster tool account.
On clicking “ADD A SITE” button a dialog box will appear to enter your website URL. Once you enter your website URL click on continue.
Next it will ask you to verify the ownership of the website. You will get five options which you can choose from to verify your website. These options will be presented in two tabs, one which says “Recommended method” and another is”Alternate methods”.
Recommended method is nothing but it is a method which google thinks would be easy for webmaster to follow. If you see the screenshot above, you will find that recommended method for me is “Domain name provider” but, you may get “HTML file upload” as a recommended method as this is the default option which comes up when you are verifying the account for the first time. I have been presented with this option as I normally use this option to verify my new websites and google now presents me with this recommended option as they think this is the easiest method for me.
So you can choose any one of these option you find it easier for you to follow, it is not necessary that it has to be the “Recommended method” only.
To make this decision, let us have a look what are these methods and how is your site verified using the method you choose.
1. Domain Name provider: Let us start with my favorite option “ Domain name provider”. In this option you need to choose the name of your domain name provider which is usually the web hosting company from which you have purchased your domain name. To choose the domain name you need click on box highlighted in red box which will bring you the drop down list of various hosting providers.
This method has restriction not all web hosing providers are listed in this list. So if your web hosting provider is not in the list you will not be able to verify your website using this method. If you find your hosting provider in the list, select it and click on verify. You may be presented with certain steps which you need to follow. These steps may be different for the different web hosting provider. For me it is fairly simple I just have to log in to my domain hosting account to verify my website ownership.
2. HTML File upload: In this option you need to upload an HTML file generated by Goole Webmaster Tool and upload it to the root directory of your website. To download the file you need to click on link similar to the one highlighted in a black box in the screenshot below. Once you have uploaded the HTML file you can check if the upload is successful by clicking on the link highlighted in red box. If all is good, click on “Verify” button and you are done. This HTML file should not be removed after verification is successful. It should remain there as long as you wish to use Goole webmaster tool.
3. HTML tag : This option will give you a meta tag which you can insert in the head of your home page HTML and once you are done you can click on “Verify” button. If you are using WordPress or other CMS there are various plugin which can solve your purpose and you don’t have to bother about finding a web developer to update it for you. These plugins are so easy to use that you simply need to copy the meta tag and paste it in the form of the plugin and click on save. Some of the common plugin in WordPress are WordPress SEO by Yoast and All in on SEO pack.
There is one drawback with this method of verification. If by any chance you update your home page which every website owner does at some point, this HTML tag may get removed and your verification will get revoked. To fix this you will have to add the HTML tag again and then click on “Verify” button again to fix the issue.
4. Google Analytics: Google analytics is another free service provided by Google, which shares detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and traffic sources and measures conversions and sales. If you are already using the Google analytics account and you have verified your account in Google analytics you don’t have to do much. You simply need to click on “Verify” button to verify your account.
The only clause here is that if you have verified your Google analytics account by meta tag option the tracking code should be till there in the head section of HTML of your home page.
Also, you should have full access to your Google analytics account. It should not be not be delegated account with read only access.
5. Google Tag Manager : I would suggest this option for people who are already using Google Tag Manager. If you are then you are then it is simple just click on “Verify” button and it is done.
Just an FYI Google Tag manager is a free service from Google which helps you to update tags on your website (such as tracking and marketing optimization tags). It simplifies the updating of tag without having you to make changes to website codes.You can update AdWords, Google Analytics, Floodlight, and non-Google tags from the Google Tag Manager user interface. So you cannot create Google Tag manger account specifically to verify your webmaster account.
This was all about adding the website to Google webmaster account and verifying it. In the next chapters we will become familiar about the home page of webmaster tool and see what the menu option on the home page do.
If you have any question forum space is all yours.