Onboarding Guide

Verify and claim your store's website

Verify and claim [hero image]
Verifying and claiming your store’s website are two essential steps in setting up your Merchant Center account. In most cases, once it’s done, you won’t have to do it again.
If you’ve lost your website claim, use this troubleshooting guide to learn why this might have happened, and what you can do to fix it.
The terms "URL" and "website address" are used interchangeably in Merchant Center. They mean the same thing.

How it works

This process has two parts: you have to verify, and then claim, your website address.

  • When you verify your website address, a user in your account proves that they have authorized ownership of the website. Verification doesn’t give Google any elevated access to your website. Keep in mind that only the user who verifies a website can later claim it.
  • When you claim your website address, you associate your verified website address with your Merchant Center account, creating a link between them. Doing this reserves the website address for use with your account exclusively.
Note: The links you provide in your product data must match the URL, including the top level domain (for example, .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.

To see subtitles in your language, turn on YouTube captions. Click the Settings icon at the bottom of the video player, select "Subtitles," and then specify your language.

Instructions

First, add and verify your website address

If a user on your account has previously verified your website for use with other Google products, such as Search Console, you don't have to separately verify it for use with Merchant Center. Your website will be recognized as verified if any of your users are a verified owner of the website in Search Console. In that case you can skip to the claiming step.

Step 1: Add your website address

  1. Sign in to your Merchant Center account.
  2. From the navigation menu, click the tools icon Merchant Center Settings [icon]
  3. Select Business information under “Tools”.
  4. Click the Website tab.
  5. Enter the URL for your online store, starting with http:// or https://. Use a domain that you own and maintain.
  6. Click Save.

Note: You can also open this page by clicking Provide your website URL when you set up Shopping ads and free product listings.

Verify and claim [infographic]

Step 2: Verify your website

To verify your website, you can use one of 4 methods.

Add an HTML tag
  • Choose this if: You’re able to add HTML code to the index page on the site you want to verify.
Upload an HTML file
  • Choose this if: You can add new files to the server behind the site you want to verify.
Connect your website to Google Tag Manager
Connect your website to Google Analytics
  • Choose this if: You have admin access to a Google Analytics account that is already linked to the site you want to verify.
  • This might not work if you use a third-party platform (such as Shopify). For those accounts, we recommend using an HTML tag to verify your site.
Verify and claim | HTML tag [icon]Add an HTML tag

If you're able to edit the HTML code of your site's index page, you can add a meta tag (a line of HTML code) to your site's home page to verify your website. This tag is only a marker, and does not give Google access to or permissions for your site.

Instructions

  1. Copy and paste the meta tag into the <head> section of your site's home page, before the <body> section.
  2. Click the Verify website button at the bottom right to submit your website for verification.

Once you submit your website address, you'll receive a confirmation email from Google Search Console.

To stay verified, do not remove the HTML tag even after you’ve verified and claimed your website.
Upload an HTML file

If you're able to upload new files to your server, you can verify your website URL with an HTML file upload.

Instructions

  1. Click the link to download the HTML file in the "Website"tab. This will generate a custom HTML file for your site.
  2. Upload the file to your web server, so it’s accessible under the path shown in the instructions.
    1. Example: To verify https://www.example.com, the file should be accessible under https://www.example.com/<filename>.html. However, if you want to verify https://www.example.com/shop1 instead, the file should be accessible under https://www.example.com/shop1/<filename>.html
  3. Confirm the upload by visiting the site address you see in the instructions.
  4. Click the Verify website button at the bottom right to submit your website for verification.
Once you submit your website, you'll receive a confirmation email from Google Search Console.
To stay verified, do not remove the HTML tag even after you’ve verified and claimed your website.
Verify and claim | Google Tag Manager [logo]Google Tag Manager

Consider using this method if you’re an account-level administrator for Google Tag Manager.

Instructions

  1. When your Google Tag Manager account was created, you would have received a container installation code snippet and placed that snippet on your website.
  2. Make sure that the <noscript> portion of the Tag Manager code is placed immediately after the opening <body> tag of your site’s home page.
  3. Click the Verify website button at the bottom right to submit your website for verification. Make sure the website address you choose is a page from your site that has the container ID included.

Once you submit your website, you'll receive a confirmation email from Google Search Console.

The Google Tag Manager container ID is used only to verify website ownership. No Google Tag Manager data will be accessed.
Verify and claim |  Google Analytics [Logo]Google Analytics

You can use this method if you’re already using Google Analytics and have “edit” permissions on that account.

Instructions

  1. Ensure that you have set up the Google Analytics global site tag.
    1. If the tag has been set up, you’ll see it right after the opening <head> tag on each webpage that has it installed. You need to have the tag on at least one page on your site to verify it using Google Analytics.
    2. If you don’t see the tag, learn how to set it up.
  2. Click the Verify website button at the bottom right to submit your website for verification. Make sure the URL you choose is a page from your site that has the Analytics global site tag included.

Once you submit your website, you'll receive a confirmation email from Google Search Console.

Some frameworks or tools, such as Shopify, don’t implement Google Analytics in the standard way. In that case your attempt will result in an error message such as “malformed tag” or “wrong format”. Contact the support of your framework or tool for guidance on the suggested verification method.

The Google Analytics global site tag is only used to verify that you own your website. No Google Analytics data will be accessed.

Then, claim your website

Claiming your website gives you the exclusive right to use your website in connection with your Merchant Center account.

To claim your website, click the Claim website button at the bottom right. Only users who have verified the website can claim it. If you’ve already created a feed, you’ll need to refetch it after you’ve claimed your website. If you use the Content API, you’ll need to re-upload your feed so it can be recrawled.

Other options

If you’re using a third-party eCommerce platform

If your store website is hosted by a third-party eCommerce platform, there may be suggested options for verifying your website provided by the platform. Check in with your platform for more information.

Verify and claim more than one website

Multi-client accounts allow you to manage multiple accounts, each of which can be associated to a different website address.

Typically, the parent account should verify and claim the top-level address, for example: https://example.com. Each sub-account will then automatically inherit the claim and can set its website address to any path under the claimed website address (e.g. https://example.com.uk or https://example.com/shop1).

Alternatively, each sub-account can also choose to verify and claim a completely different website instead. Learn more about verifying and claiming website URLs for multi-client accounts.

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