How to Verify Site Ownership in Search Console through Google Tag Manager

Rob Anderson / 4th June 2019 / Comment / Analytics

Google Search Console is an all-in-one tool that helps you view, measure and fix issues related to website user data. It’s a goldmine for businesses looking to improve their search ranking and understand how searchers see your site. However, you must verify that you are the owner of the site to be able to use the Search Console.

You also get to observe how your content is performing and what are the queries that bring traffic to your site. Since Google Search Console is a free tool, we recommend you to add your website on the search console. However, adding a website domain to Google Search Console console will require proof that you own and manage that domain.

For our convenience, Google has offered more than a few easy ways to verify a website for the first time on search console… and ever since Google announced that you could use Google Tag Manager (GTM) to verify your site, it’s been one of the more popular methods.

It becomes even easier for someone already using GTM, which is a useful tool to maintain multiple tags or tracking codes on a website. However, verifying ownership of a website with this method works only if you’ve followed all of Google’s rules for installing Google Tag Manager. Google will check to see that their installation instructions have been followed to the letter. With that in mind, let’s quickly go through the three major requirements for verification to GTM.

#1 – Do you have Container-level Admin permissions?

To verify in search console using a Google Tag Manager, you must be logged into an account that has “view,” “edit,” and “manage” Container-level permissions in GTM. Google requires this to make sure that a user that’s logged into Google Search Console also has the same level of access in Google Tag Manager. Google considers these important qualifiers that determine whether you are truly the owner of the domain.

#2 – The all-important <noscript> code

Here’s the point where everyone messes up. It’s crucial to understand that there are two snippets of Google Tag Manager container code that needs to be installed on the site. One is a JavaScript snippet, and the other is what’s called a <noscript> snippet.

… and for some reason, <noscript> snippets are frequently ignored by those that are installing Google Tag Manager. Here’s why that’s a blunder because the <noscript> block in the Google Tag Manager installation code is there for a reason.

Why <noscript> code is so significant?
It’s there for browsers that don’t have JavaScript enabled. So if you actually open up your browser and accidentally turn off the feature that enables JavaScript, the <noscript> block will save you – these code blocks are for browsers that have JavaScript disabled for some reason (and Google Tag Manager can still load in a limited capacity in those browsers).

… and it’s not always obvious this code needs to be installed EXACTLY as generated and without modifying any part of it. If you change it in any form, the verification will fail.

#3 – Where do you place the code?

So the <noscript> block must be placed where Google expects it to be, which is immediately after the opening <body> tag on the homepage of your domain. So if you install the <noscript> block, and you don’t put it immediately after the opening body tag, you violated this point, and you’re not going to be able to verify.

Just to reiterate, the code must be placed immediately after the opening <body> tag of your site’s homepage. When Google says immediately after the <body>, they mean it.

So you have to make sure that you DO NOT insert any other code or markup between the tag and the tag manager container code. If you do that, Google Search Console can’t crawl the site actually to find the Google Tag Manager snippet and the tag container to verify you with.

Sure, there can be other ways to verify in Google Search Console, but if you don’t follow these three rules for Google Tag Manager, it just won’t be through Google Tag Manager for you and you’ll have to use one of the alternative recommended methods.

… and if you’re still facing any problem and unable to verify Google Search Console with Google Tag Manager, let us know in the comments, and we’ll try to sort the problem for you.

Happy tracking!


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By Rob Anderson