Getting your website verified with Google Search Console is an important first step to understanding and measuring how your SEO efforts are performing. Without proper data and tracking, you'll often be left wondering if you're making any progress at all with your content marketing strategy.
Is it working? Are you getting visitors? Why aren't you getting visitors?
Google Search Console has all the data you're looking for and acts as the early indicator of a well-executed SEO strategy.
If you're using Wix or Squarespace or another website provider and just kicking off your SEO journey, you'll likely be prompted to "verify your domain" in Google Search Console. You've come to the right place to get this done.
If you've just stumbled upon this article because someone told you Google Search Console is important, you've also come to the right place.
What is Google Search Console?
If you’re a modern website owner, chances are you've heard about how powerful Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and analytical tools are. One such tool is Google Search Console (GSC).
GSC is a powerful tool that acts as an early indicator of how your SEO efforts are performing. For most business website owners, Google Analytics has become the go to analytics tool for monitoring and measuring website performance.
But if you're not using Google Search Console, you're missing a treasure trove of information that provides much more relevant information to how your website is performing in Google search results.
Getting started with Google Search Console SEO
If you’ve just launched a new website or are updating your old one, you’ll want to verify your domain on Google Search Console as quickly as possible. Doing so connects your website with Google Search and other services that crawl the internet for content.
GSC allows you to keep tabs on how your website ranks in search, what SEO keywords your website content appears for, and how many search impressions your website receives each month. These Google Search Console crawl reports let you monitor statistics like how many requests were made and when, along with your server response times, and any availability issues encountered.
Setting up your GSC account can be tricky if you’ve got a custom domain name rather than a regular subdomain or subfolder of your main site, but that’s why we’re here.
What is google search console ownership verification?
Google Search Console verification is necessary to guarantee that you own the website you are working on. When you add a site in GSC, you'll have access to sensitive Google Search data about your website and how you're performing in Google search.
If you'd like, other individuals may be authorized to see or manage site data in Search Console if you are verified as the owner. Adding a user to google search console is easy to do in the Settings menu on the left hand side of the tool.
How to verify site ownership
There are several ways to verify your ownership with Google Search Console:
- Adding a DNS Record - Creating a new TXT entry in your provider DNS
- HTML File Upload - upload a small HTML file to your root HTML directory
- HTML Tag - Add an HTML tag to your raw website content
- Google Analytics Tracking Code - Verify your ownership via your Google Analytics account tag
- Google Tag Manager container snippet - Connect your Google Tag Manager account
- Google Sites - If you've created your website using Google Sites
- Blogger - If your website is built on the blogger platform
We're going to focus on #1, adding a DNS record to your website provider. This is one of the most reliable ways to do it and the one we recommend.
Before beginning, ensure each of these Google Search Console “setup” items are checked off:
Remove your site-wide password(s)
If you have a site-wide or homepage password, remove them both. Passwords prevent Google from indexing your content
Ensure your domain is connected to your hosting service properly
If you use a third-party domain, make sure it's properly connected to your website hosting service like Squarespace. It's best to wait at least 72 hours after connecting your domain before verifying it with Google Search Console to avoid any dependency issues.
Verify that your site is live
Trial sites are hidden from search engines so verification won't work on them. If you have a trial site, publish it before continuing.
The Step-By-Step for Verifying Google Search Console with a TXT Record:
- Open up Google Search Console
- Click on ‘Add Property.’
- It'll be on the left side panel if you’re already in your GSC Dashboard. Otherwise, it will look like this:
- Choose the ‘Domain’ option by entering your domain name
- Click ‘Continue’
- Ensure the instructions are set to ‘Any DNS provider.’
- GSC will provide you with a domain verification TXT record. Copy it and make sure you don’t lose it for the time being (ours is censored, yours will look complete).
- Log into your website’s domain provider. Find your various hosts here for tailored instructions. For example, these are the steps that Google provides for Bluehost:
- Open Bluehost (or your host) and sign in with the account you used to buy your domain
- Next to the domain you're setting up, click the ‘Manage’ down arrow and select ‘DNS.’
8. Scroll to ‘TXT’ (text) and click ‘Add record.’
9. Fill out the form
- Enter @ in the Host record field
- Paste the verification code you copied from the setup tool into the TXT value field
- Click ‘Save’
10. Return to the browser tab where the Google Workspace setup tool is open. (You can reopen the tool if you've closed it.)
11. On the page where you copied your verification code, scroll to the bottom and click ‘Verify.’
12. You’ll likely run into an error, warning you your Google Search Console domain property couldn’t be verified. Don't worry! This is completely normal. Wait about 20 minutes to an hour and try again.
Once your DNS entry has propagated to the worldwide DNS system, you'll see a message like this after clicking google search console verify:
No matter what host you use, the steps will be extremely similar. If you have any issues, consult your hosts’ documentation and Google’s tailored instructions for tutorials like ‘How to verify your domain on WordPress.’
In case you have any lingering questions, here are some FAQs from Google’s Site Ownership Support Page.
How long does verification last?
Verification lasts as long as Search Console can confirm your verification token through periodic checks. If GSC can’t verify your domain token, you will be notified, and if not fixed, your permissions on that property will expire after a set grace period. We recommend checking up on your website’s back-end housekeeping often!
When will I start to see data?
Data is collected for a verified domain property as soon as anyone adds it to the Search Console, even before it’s verified. However, it takes a few days for data to start to accumulate for your domain.
Once you’ve successfully verified your domain, you’re off to the races! Next up, you can learn to use GSC’s sitemap and analytics features! Learning how to set up Google Search Console can be a little overwhelming at first, so check out our blog for more tutorials on how to use google search console and the various ways to use google search console for seo.