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Google Alters Site Verification in Webmaster Tools

Changes Meta Tag and HTML File Verification Methods

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Google has made some changes to the way Webmaster Tools users verify their websites.

Before, the user’s verification meta tag was based (partially) on the email address of their Google account, which meant that if they changed the email address in their account settings, their meta tags would also change, and they’d become unverified for any sites that used the old tag. Google has made a new version of the verification meta tag, which is unrelated to the email address to prevent this from happening.

Google has also changed the way it handles verification by HTML file. In the past, if a user’s site returned an HTTP status code besides 404 for URLs that didn’t exist, they wouldn’t be able to use the file verification method.

"A properly configured web server will return 404 for non-existent URLs, but it turns out that a lot of sites have problems with this requirement," explains Google software engineer, Sean Harding.

Google has simplified the file verification process, eliminating the checks for non-existent URLs. Now users can just download the HTML file Google provides and upload it to their site without modification. Google checks the contents of the file, and if they’re right, no further action is required.

Verification Method

"We hope these changes will make verification a little bit more pleasant," says Harding. "If you’ve already verified using the old methods, don’t worry! Your existing verifications will continue to work. These changes only affect new verifications."

Sites and software that have features, which help you verify ownership by adding the meta tag or file for you may need to be updated, Google says. The company also says it is working on further changes to the website verification process. In the future, they will begin showing the email address of all verified owners of a given site to the other verified owners of that site.

Google Alters Site Verification in Webmaster Tools
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  • http://www.brain-waves-technology.com/ Brain Waves Technology Meditation CD ~ MP3

    Now users can just download the HTML file Google provides and upload it to their
    site.

    Their are 2 Methods not just the one you mention!

    Methods 1 of 2 Upload a  file to your site eg. google50ce27khagsy623j612.htm

    Methods 2 of 2 You have not mention is the meta-tag method (NOT email) used in your index.html or your default file


    <meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”hBFE9jvpSrOP4NK1JHGHHTt44479HKu_khagsy623j612gcv”/>

    Both methods are not new as I have used them for over a Year

    • Dominic Watson

      Huh? this is NOT new

      • http://pokerenleren.com pokeren leren

        “Google has also changed the way it handles verification by HTML file. In the past, if a user’s site returned an HTTP status code besides 404 for URLs that didn’t exist, they wouldn’t be able to use the file verification method. ”

        I have encountered this with some sites. Authentication used to give an error because the 404 did not come up like they want. If this is now fixed that’s good news.

  • http://www.snerdey.com Snerdey

    Google has improved the tools, not created new ones.

    Chris said “Google has made some changes” therefore the changes are NEW :)

    Follow Snerdey on Twitter!
    http://www.twitter.com/snerdey

  • http://www.studio2002.com/internet/ Internet, SEO

    Methods are not news, but it’s good to repeat sometimes. :)

  • http://www.documents-online.net platejno narejdane

    Oooo, I got 50 site, great job waiting for me!

  • http://tr.im/mewC Rahul – Web Guru

    Thanks for this info. Updates my site verifications too.

    Cheers.

  • http://www.acs-web.com Lisa Deaton

    The first part of the article deals with the meta tag validation. The update to the meta tag is that it is no long partially based on your email account. It is still site specific but if you change emails you don’t have to change your verification tag.
    The second part of the article refers to the file upload. The update is Google making it easier to verify a site by removing restrictions.