When it comes to the listing of your website on Google how do you know if you own it? “What a dumb question!” you might reply. “Of course, I own my listing!! It’s my website. I pay for the hosting, I pay for the web developer, I pay for SEO, I pay… ” and the list goes on.
You might notice, however, when you search for your website on Google that beneath the address and phone number there is a link that clearly says, “Own this business?” If you click on the link, you are prompted to enter an email address, phone number or create an account.
If this is the first time you noticed this link go ahead and click on Create Account. After you supply your contact details, you might also be prompted to create a verification file and upload it to your website.
Some helpful tips:
- Make note of the Gmail address you create and never lose it! So many businesses forget this Gmail address or entrust the record keeping to a person that leaves
- Record the password
- Keep a copy of the verification file generated. Should your website ever get hacked you want to compare which is the real ownership file. To steal ownership, hackers will add their own verification file to your website.
- Needless to say keep this information confidential and secure.
Learn Google Search Console
Search Console is a tool that Google created to measure your website’s search performance. You can use this tool to submit XML Sitemaps and instruct Google to crawl your website. It is important to note that use of the Google Search Console requires proof of ownership. Hence, by establishing ownership and uploading a verification file you have given yourself the ability for this process to work.
What if my website is hacked?!!
At this point it is easy to assume that someone has taken ownership of your Google listing away from you. To recover, it is essential to visit Google Search Console to determine if additional verification files have been uploaded to your website’s hosting space. When you determine what these verification files are make sure you delete them right away! In addition, remove the email addresses of anyone that is not a registered owner of the website.