Want to find the easiest way to verify your website with Google Search Console? This tool helps you find specific instructions based on your domain setup. Just answer 2 simple questions.
Common Google Search Console Verification Questions
What is GSC property verification?
Property Verification is the process where Google confirms you are the legitimate owner of the domain you’re adding before giving you access to private search data.
Why do I need to verify my site?
Google needs to know that you own the domain before they give you access to data for that domain. The most secure way to do this is demonstrating that you have access and control of your domain’s DNS records.
What’s the difference between ‘Domain’ and ‘URL prefix’?
Domain verification will capture anything and everything associated with the root domain.
URL prefix verification will only capture the data for the exact version of the URL provided. Here’s more details from Google.
- Includes subdomains ( www.example.com blog.example.com, shop.example.com, etc )
- Includes http:// AND https://
- Includes any subdomains ( www.example.com blog.example.com, etc)
- Includes http:// AND https://
- You will be able to see all the data associated will all these different versions
- DNS records are less likely to get deleted by accident
- Must use DNS verification method
- This method can sometimes be difficult for non-technical users
- Only includes the exact URL you provide ( https://www.example.com )
- Only matches what you provide (http OR https)
- Easier to verify in general since you don’t have to prove full control of the domain
- Have several different verification methods (including:
- HTML File Upload
- HTML Tag
- Blogger, Google Sites
- Google Analytics
- Google Tag Manager, etc)
- Limits the GSC data you can see
- For example, if another website links to the wrong version of your website(example.com vs www.example.com). GSC will not show this data since it does not match the exact URL prefix.
- HTML file verification can more easily get lost or overwritten.
Which domain registrars offer automatic verification?
As of early 2022, these companies have partnered with Google to verify your website auto-magically. You just have to add your domain to GSC and click Verify, they do the rest (so you don’t have to worry about those pesky DNS records).
In this case, Google is able to pass along the unique string and your domain registrar creates the DNS record for you automatically.
- IONOS by 1&1
- Google Domains
How do I figure out where my domain is registered?
Go to one of these trusted sites:
- ICANN.org (RDAP [new WHOIS] lookup may not work with all gTLDs (ie .co .club .io etc)
- Network Solutions
Enter your domain and look for the “Registrar Name” field. This is where your domain name is registered and where the DNS zones are usually maintained.
What if I use a hosted CMS ?
Below are a list of hosted CMS providers who can act as both the domain registrar and website host. If your account invoice includes an annual domain registration fee, then they likely have your domain registration info.
- WordPress.com (different from WordPress.org the self-hosted version)
Why do I need to update my DNS records?
Every website has them and they are secure. It remains one of the few ways that is reliable and trustworthy.
What does my DNS record look like?
You’ll notice they are mostly similar and the required fields are consistent:
- TTL (Time to Live)
Here are few screenshots.
Does my registrar have directions on where to find my DNS ?
Some registrars have published generic instructions on where and how to add a new DNS record. This can be useful to see what the DNS form looks like for your domain registrar:
- 1and1 IONOS
Which DNS record type do I add?
To verify your site with GSC you will create a TXT Record
Every DNS record has the same 3-4 fields:
What You Enter
[pick the shortest time]
- The Name or Record field is where you reference your domain. The @ symbol is commonly used to reference your root domain. Note: some DNS forms exclude this field, if it’s not there you likely don’t have to worry about it.
- The Value or Content field is where you’ll copy & paste the unique string from GSC
- TTL stands for “time to live” and it’s just how long the DNS record will take to be live on the server.
- Most DNS forms will provide a drop down of options, pick the shortest or lowest time. Sometimes the numbers are in seconds (3600,14400 etc)
- 14440=4hrs, 7200=2hrs, 3600=1hr
How long will it take my TXT record to be live?
Most DNS settings take at least a few minutes to load after adding a new record. If you are getting an error from GSC, you can check to see if the record has loaded. There are several free DNS sites you can check to see if the the record is propagated:
- Go to any of these sites
- Enter your root domain – no http or www (ie example.com )
- Select TXT from the drop down option
- Click the button to check your DNS.
If you see the unique text you got from GSC and put in your DNS record – you are ready to complete your verification!
If you don’t see your record yet, give it some more time. While most DNS systems warn about taking hours to update, this is usually not the case for TXT records.