How to add someone to your Google Webmaster Tools

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 by Emily Mace

Google Webmaster Tools logoIf you are working with an SEO or design agency, or even if you have a new member of staff working on your website, you may find you need to add a new person to your Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) account. In this blog, I will talk you through setting up access…

Firstly, the person you need to add must have a valid Google login email. This doesn’t have to be a Gmail account, as you can set up any email address to be valid for Google.  Once you have this you can set up the access for the site

Adding a new user yourself

Log into your GWT account so you are on the account screen, which lists all the websites you have access to. You will see a list of the pages, a thumbnail of the homepage and a summary of any recent messages for each site.

Next to each listing, on the right-hand side of the screen, there is a ‘Manage Site’ button – as shown in the below image:

Manage Site in Google Webmaster Tools

Click this button and from the drop-down menu that appears, select the ‘Add or Remove Users’ option from the list:

Add or Remove Users Drop Down

This takes you through to the ‘Users’ screen, where – in the top right-hand corner – there is a red ‘Add a New User’ button which you need to click. You’ll be presented with an ‘Add New User’ pop-up window, wherein you can add the Google email address for the person you want to add. Simply add the email address, select the permission level (covered below) and click ‘Add’:

Add a New User Dialogue

You are then presented with two options for the level of access that this user gets to the site.  These options are ‘Restricted’ (which is the default) and ‘Full’.

Restricted Access means that the user can see the information within GWT, but won’t be able to help with changing things in the account.  For example, a Restricted User can’t upload a Disavow file, submit a sitemap or request removal of pages on the site for you. Restricted users also don’t have permissions to change things like the default geographical target of the site, tell Google about changes to URLs or change the Googlebot crawl rate on the site. So, if you need someone like an SEO to manage how your site is seen in Google, it’s probably not a good idea to give them restricted access.

Full Access on the other hand does allow someone to add and change things on your site. Again, you should consider what users really need this before doing anything – you probably only want to give your site owner, webmaster and SEO this level of access.

Once you have completed the form and submitted it, your new user should see your website on their home screen when they log into GWMT next.

Gaining access without someone adding it

You can also set up access to GWT using the older, more traditional methods of doing this.  For this to work, ask the person who needs access to log in to GWT and click on the red ‘Add a Site’ button in the top right-hand corner of the screen:

Add a Site Button

This creates a pop up window where you enter specific information; in this case, the URL of the site:

Add a Site Box

Once you’ve done this, click ‘Continue’. You’ll see a series of options for how to verify the site.  The easiest method of doing this is by uploading an HTML file via your FTP to the root directory of your website.

In the verification screen, there is an HTML file upload option which may be on the ‘Alternative Methods’ tab – as shown below:

HTML File Upload Option

Right-click on the link which reads ‘this HTML verification file’ and save the file to your computer; maintaining the name of the file.

Once you have this file, it needs to be uploaded to the root directory of your website so it’s available outside of sub folders. GWT provides a link you can click to make sure this has been uploaded to the right place.

One note on this: if you have a CMS, do not upload via that – it needs to be in the FTP folder structure and not built as a CMS page. Once this file is live, click the ‘Verify’ button and access will be granted.

Other methods of granting access include adding a meta tag to your homepage, which might be an easy option if you can add things to your homepage; however if you have a CMS with restrictive fields for what goes into your <head> section, this might not be possible. You can also add a TXT record in your domain hosting configuration which can be tricky, so I wouldn’t recommend this method. The other way of getting access to a site is to use Google Analytics.

Using Google Analytics to get access

If you are using the asynchronous version of the Google Analytics code with this code in the <head> section of your pages and the new user you need to add is an administrator on your Analytics account, then you can use this to verify access to GWT as well.

Follow the above steps to add a new site to your GWT and then select the Google Analytics option in the ‘Verification’ screen.  This will then automatically verify your GWT access for you.

Occasionally when using this method, you might get an error saying it hasn’t worked – but you should find, if everything is configured correctly with your analytics, that this does actually work.

This blog should allow you to add new users to your GWT whenever needed – happy adding!

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About the author

Emily Mace

Emily Mace

Emily joined Vertical Leap in 2008 and is now the Senior SEO Campaign Delivery Manager. Emily previously worked in training, IT Support, Website development as well as SEO and worked for local Government departments and Tourism South East. Emily gained Google Analytics Individual Qualification in 2011, and regularly blogs on the technical aspects of SEO, sharing her expertise with our readers. Follow on Google+