Not a Google Webmaster Tools Owner of Your Site?

March 2, 2015

Categorized: Webdev 101

At work, we had a weird situation wherein one of our properties wasn’t “owned” by our account in Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). The differences between Owner and non-owner accounts are minor, but significant. An Owner has full control, while non-owners are more restricted. They can’t make certain changes to the property — perhaps the most important of which is linking the property to a Google Analytics (GA) account. This causes some data share between GWT and GA, which is important to have.

It seems whoever set the site up had only added our account as a non-owner. This might be the case if you inherited a website from someone else, or you’re taking over for someone else, I guess — that seemed to be the case for us.

Getting ownership of the account was relatively easy. It just took me a few minutes to think of how to do it, so I thought I’d share.

Essentially, all you have to do is verify the website under another GWT account (we’ll call this the “workaround” account). Verify the workaround account as a new site owner. You’ll have full control of the property under the workaround account. You can then set your primary account as an owner, like so:

  • Once the workaround account has been verified, click the gear icon in upper right-hand corner.
  • Click “Users & Site Owners”
  • Click “Manage site owners” in upper right-hand corner
  • Add your primary GWT account e-mail as an owner.

Afterwards, you can simply delete the “workaround” account’s permissions.

When I did this, the primary account was already verified — just not an owner. I’m not sure if the process is different for just adding new accounts — though it’d seem not, as the Owner account can set other GWT Owner accounts. Either way, that’s all it takes to get ownership of the account if you’re somehow set to a non-owner account type.