Verifying multiple ‘owners’ of a website in Google Webmaster Tools has just got a lot easier.
Up until now, you had two methods to verify you had the right to see data available in Google Webmaster Tools for a specific website:
- upload an HTML file to the root of the website or
- place a verification meta tag within your home page code.
Whichever method you chose, it proved to Google that you had FTP access to the site either directly or, at least, through somebody who did.
A straightforward process if you’re a one man (or woman) band. The pain was when you had several people all wanting to access Webmaster Tools; they’d each have to go through the verification process as the verification codes were unique to the user, not to the website. That meant the webmaster would have to upload several HTML files or add several meta tags to the home page – one for each user.
Well, that’s what Google’s calling it. With this new feature, only one person needs to be directly verified using the HTML file or meta tag method. Once verified, they can add users to Google Webmaster Tools for that website. The only caveat is that that the additional users must have a Google Account.
The screengrab below shows the new functionality. This can be accessed from the verification details page within Webmaster Tools.
The main gotcha with this new method is that if the person holding the original verification somehow becomes unverified, all those that have been added by them to Google Webmaster tools for that website will also become unverified. The most obvious way this can happen is if their HTML verification or meta tags are deleted.
What? No multi-level security?
Nope. One admin access fits all I’m afraid – there is no read-only. Any users you verify using this new method will have full access to Webmaster Tools including stuff you may not want others to fiddle about with: URL removal requests, sitelinks, preferred domain and geographic targeting. Also when you delegate to others, so can they and without your approval. So think carefully before you delegate!
Though verification delegation is an improvement as it saves time, it’s a shame Google didn’t offer multi-level security. Google Webmaster Tools holds data that is invaluable for SEO – often an outsourced function – yet the webmaster may be reluctant to provide an external agency or consultant with full admin access to it.