Setting a Google Preferred Domain Without Getting Verification Error

“Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own Please verify”

Are you frustrated with the above error message when trying to set your preferred domain in Google Webmaster Tools? If you still can’t set your preferred domain, then read on to find out how to fix this error, the fix is quiet easy, you need to add and verify your site once with www and once without it, because Google thinks they are two different domains.

You may need to verify ownership of both the www and non-www versions of your domain. Because setting a preferred domain impacts both crawling and indexing, we need to ensure that you own both versions. Typically, both versions point to the same physical location, but this is not always the case. Generally, once you have verified one version of the domain, we can easily verify the other using the original verification method. However, if you’ve removed the file, meta tag, or DNS record, you’ll need to repeat the verification steps.

Google Webmaster Tools Help

To get rid of the error, follow these steps:

  1. Go to webmaster tools panel and click ‘Add a site’ button. If you have already added the non-www version of your site this time add it with www or vice versa.
  2. Verify your site using the same verification method as previous domain.
  3. Go to Google Webmaster Tools home page and choose a version of your site.
  4. Go to Site configuration -> Settings and select your preferred domain.

Please note that the other version of your site will select your preferred domain automatically.

How to Change verification method

If you want to change your verification method, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Webmaster Tools panel and enter your site.
  2. Click Configuration, and then click Users.
  3. Click Manage site owners.
  4. Click Verify using a different method.


  1. Hi
    I have the verification file in both the www and the non-www roots but google still won’t verify the non-www. I have followed your solution and added a site and used the same verification method for it as the www (which was already verified)
    What could be wrong? Thank you

  2. Hi, This might take some time for the google to verify your domain. Wait a little bit more, if it didn’t work out, try verifying both domains again from scratch.

    Let me know how it goes.

  3. Thanks. this has been going on for several months so waiting did not solve it. The solution was like you said – verify from scratch again. I deleted the ‘old’ verification file and uploaded, to the non-www root, the new file. So the www root which is virtual mirror, has it too now and I selected a preferred domain – non-www – for both assets.
    I am wondering if both assets – non & www – will have identical GWMT reports & GA stats (both ww & non have same GA code and are associated with the preferred domain)?
    Or do I have to manage two different assets now – one www & one non-www?

  4. You should not put GA on the both versions of your site. You should make the other version redirect to your preferred version. If you are using WordPress that’s easy – just go to the setting, then you only need to manage your preferred domain stats.


Leave a Comment.