Site authentication is someone proving they control a site to web services like Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer. These services provide information, but once someone authenticates their site they see far more information and have control over search engines’ interaction with their sites.
But both services provide extra tools for authenticated (Google calls it verified) users. These users not only see more information such as when the search engine last crawled the site and why some pages aren’t indexed (error reports) but they gain control over some key elements:
The extended information and control help web masters improve how the search engines see and list their sites.
Both services offer people two authentication methods. The first is the old way – the webmaster uploads a small html file to their server. The service checks the site for the file, and then verifies it as the user’s site.
The second method is newer, and easier. A webmaster adds a small verification code to the page meta tag. When code drives a site, then webmasters add this code to all pages at once, just by changing a small code section. Once the webmaster has added the meta tag, they press a button and the system authenticates the site.
Webmasters add and authenticate sites on Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer so easily that it’s beyond a simple decision – add the sites, use the tools. The information and control they provide ultimately aids webmasters (and companies) who want more traffic.