Google search console verification is the process of making sure you own the site you want to add to your account.
It can be a bit fiddly to do because you’ll need access to change the files for the site you’re trying to add.
Thankfully there are a few different options on how to verify your site with Google search console and I’m going to walk you through the easier ones here.
Why do you have to verify your site with Google search console?
The reason Google want to make absolutely sure that you own the site before they let you add it to your account is because you get access to all the site’s Google search data.
You’ll be able to see lots of different reports showing things like where your pages rank in search results and you’ll be able to make changes that could affect it’s appearance in search results too.
This could make or break a business so it’s important that Google make 100% sure that the site belongs to you.
Adding different versions of your URL
Before I get stuck into the verification methods I want to quickly mention the different versions of your URL.
I’m talking about your domain name with and without www. before it as well as http and https.
If your site has a SSL certificate, which it should (if you need help setting one up check out this blog post), you should have 4 versions of your URL.
Unles you decide to use the domain name provider method (which I’m not going to go through in this blog post), you’ll need to add each of these properties to Google Search Console.
Each one will need to be verified indivisdually but, once you’ve verified the first one, verifying the others will be the click of a button.
Google search console verification methods
There are 5 different ways to verify your WordPress site with Google search console.
HTML file upload
This is the easiest and most reliable way to verify your site with Google Search Console.
You’ll be prompted to download an HTML file, which you’ll then need to upload to your website.
Once you’ve downloaded the file, login to your host and access your file manager.
Upload the file to your public_html folder in your file manager.
Once the file has finished uploading, head back to Google Search Console and hit the verify button.
You should now see a green tick next to your chosen verification method.
To verify your site using a HTML tag you’ll need to copy some code into your website header.
If you’re not familiar with the file structure of a child theme then it’s best for you to use a plugin that lets you add code to your website header.
Insert Headers and Footers is a decent plugin and the one I’ve used to demonstrate here.
Copy the code that Google Search Console gives you, as shown below.
Head into WordPress, hover over the Settings menu item and choose Insert Headers and Footers from the menu.
Paste the code that you copied from Google Search Console and put it in the text area labelled Scripts in Header as shown below, then click save.
Then head back to Google Search Console and click Verify. You should then see a green tick.
Google analytics tracking code
If you’ve already got your site set up with Google Analytics via the gtag.js code in your site header you can verify straight away.
Just click Verify, and it will verify there and then.
There are a couple of other methods that you can use for Google Search Console verification but I would say that they’re for more advanced users.
The domain name provider method will verify all versions of your URL in one go e.g. http://thebloggenie.com, https://thebloggenie.com etc.
But it involves adding DNS records to your domain name, if you’re interested you can find more info on how to do it here.
Google search console verification – verdict
You can’t add a website to your Google search console account until you’ve verified you’re the owner.
This is to make sure that the wrong people don’t get access to a site’s Google search data as well as access to make changes that could affect a site’s search ranking.
There are 5 different methods to verify your site with Google search console. In this blog post I walked you through the 3 easier methods.
The easiest and most popular ways are uploading an HTML file to your site, adding some code to your site header and using your Google Analytics verification (if you used gtag.js).
I prefer to use the file upload method, because once it’s there you don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s going to be overwritten.
While you’re check out these related posts:
9 important ways to use Google Search Console for SEO
The Google Search Console dashboard – all you need to know
Google Search Console vs Google Analytics – do you need them?