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Beginner's Guide

Verify and claim your website URL

Before you can upload product data to Merchant Center for Google Shopping, you need to verify and claim your shop's website URL. Verification lets Google know that you are an authorised owner of a website URL. Claiming associates the verified website URL with your Merchant Center account.
This article will show you how to claim and verify your website.

How it works

Merchant Center leverages Google Search Console, a product that helps you monitor and maintain your site's presence on Google, for website verification and claiming. You can verify and claim your website URL without leaving Merchant Center and we'll associate your website information with Search Console through your Google Account. If you're familiar with Google Search Console and have already verified your website URL, you can easily claim it in your Merchant Center account.

Bear in mind
The links that you provide in your product data must match the URL, including the top level domain (e.g. .com, .net) that you claim in your account. Items submitted for any domain other than the one registered in your Merchant Center account will not process successfully.

Instructions

Step 1: Enter your website URL in your account

If you didn't enter your shop's website URL when you created your Merchant Center account, you can enter one at any time by following these steps:

  1.  Sign in to your Merchant Center account
  2.  From the navigation panel, click Business information
  3.  From the page menu, click About your business to open the "About your business" page.
  4.  Click to open the Website section. 
  5.  Enter your URL. Find out about the requirements for this URL.
  6.  Click on Save.

Step 2: Verify and claim your website URL

Claim a new URL that hasn't been verified in Google Search Console 

During account signup and/or on the About your business page, you'll see four options to verify and claim your website URL. Follow the instructions for the option that works best for you.

Claim a URL that you've verified before in Google Search Console

If your domain is already verified in an existing Google Search Console account, the easiest option for claiming that URL in Merchant Center is to add the Google Account for your Merchant Center account as an Owner of the verified Google Search Console account. Alternatively, you can add a Google Account that is an existing Owner in the Search Console account as a login to your Merchant Center account.

Once you're using the same login email for both your Merchant Center and a verified Search Console account, you'll see that your website is already listed as verified in Merchant Center. You'll just need to claim the website URL either while you sign up for an account or on the About your business page by selecting the option to Claim website.

  • HTML file upload (most common method): You'll upload an HTML file to your server and we'll verify that the file exists in the specified location. To use this method, you must be able to upload new files to your server. To stay verified, do not remove the HTML file even after you've verified and claimed your website URL.

  • HTML tag: Add a meta tag to your home page. To use this method, you must be able to edit the HTML code of your site's index page. To stay verified, do not remove the HTML tag even after you've verified and claimed your website URL.

  • Google Analytics: Add the Google Analytics code that you use to track your site. To use this method, you must be an administrator of the Google Analytics account and you must be using the asynchronous tracking code. The Google Analytics tracking code is only used to verify your website URL ownership. No Google Analytics data will be accessed.

  • Google Tag Manager: Add the Google Tag manager container snippet to your website. You must have "View, Edit and Manageaccount level permission in Google Tag Manager. The Google Tag Manager container ID is only used only to verify website ownership. No Google Tag Manager data will be accessed.

Troubleshooting

While more than one person can verify the same website URL (verification), Google Merchant Center requires that only one account holds the right to upload product data for this URL (claiming). Below you'll find more information about reasons why you may be unable to claim your website URL and how you may lose an existing claim.

You cannot claim your website URL

There are two main reasons why you may be unable to claim your website URL:

  • Your website is not verified: You can only claim a website URL to your Merchant Center account after you've verified the URL. Take a look at the section above on website URL verification to ensure that you've completed this step.
  • The URL has been claimed at a higher level: If you're seeing an error that your URL has been claimed at a higher level, another Merchant Center account has a claim that is taking precedence over yours. For example, you will not be able to claim the URL http://www.example.com in your Merchant Center account, if another Merchant Center account has already claimed the domain http://example.com. This claim is at a higher level in the domain path, preventing you from claiming a URL that’s part of the same domain. To resolve this issue, you can enter and verify your website URL at a higher level in the domain path.
Following the steps above to verify your website URL at a higher level will cause the other Merchant Center account to lose their existing claim and the ability to upload product data. You'll see the email address of the Merchant Center user that will lose their claim.

You've lost an existing claim on your website URL

  • If another authorised owner of the website successfully verifies and claims the website URL, you'll be notified by email that your claim has been lost. To resolve this issue, you may verify and claim the same website URL at a higher level in the domain path or contact us.
  • If you lose the verified status for your website, you'll also lose your website claim. You can lose your website verification, for example, if you remove the identifying meta tag or HTML file from your site. If you've lost your 'verified' status, you will need to follow the steps above to verify and claim your website URL again.
  • If you enter a new website URL in the General Settings tab of your Merchant Center account, you will lose the claim for your previously verified and claimed website URL. Follow the steps above to verify and claim your new website URL.

Multi-client accounts

Multi-client accounts allow you to submit items for more than one website domain.

Multi-client account owners may verify and claim a website URL for the parent account. Typically, the parent account should verify and claim the top-level domain, e.g. http://example.com. Each sub-account will then automatically inherit the claim and will be able to submit products for that domain.

Alternatively, each sub-account can also choose to verify and claim a completely different Website URL instead.

Find out about verifying and claiming website URLs for multi-client accounts.

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