Samantha Finley

On April 16th, 2024, Google announced significant enhancements to Search Console‘s management of ownership tokens. What are ownership tokens? Essentially, they’re a vital component for website verification in different Google platforms like Merchant Center. They serve as authentication tools that confirm a user’s legitimacy to manage a site’s data within Google’s ecosystem.

In the past, not properly managing these tokens — especially when they’re left unused after site owners leave — has led to security issues and incorrect user permissions. The update addresses these challenges by refining the process of monitoring and managing these tokens.

Simplifying Ownership Token Management in Google’s Search Console

Previously, in February 2023, Google introduced a series of improvements aimed at refining user and permissions management in Search Console. The latest update builds on that foundation by focusing specifically on the management of unused ownership tokens. Google’s improvement enables users to more effectively identify and eliminate these tokens. This tightens security and ensures that only current, relevant users maintain access to a site’s Search Console resources. 

The process for managing these tokens is now more streamlined and user-friendly. Here are the four easy steps you can follow to verify whether an unused ownership token has been removed from the site:

  • Step 1: Navigate to the Users and permissions interface.
  • Step 2: Select “Unused ownership tokens.”
  • Step 3: Designate the tokens you’d like to remove and click “Remove.”
  • Step 4: Subsequently “Verify removal” to confirm the action. This ensures that tokens are not just deleted from the interface but also deactivated and rendered ineffective.

Google’s Commitment to Site Protection and User Experience

This update is part of Google’s ongoing commitment to enhance security and the overall user experience. How does this update do just that? By removing outdated or irrelevant tokens, you reduce the risk of unauthorized access. This ensures that former owners or unrelated parties can’t regain access to the site’s administrative features. Making sure to delete all verification tokens linked to a removed owner is essential for keeping your site secure in the long run. And in increasingly digital spaces, this type of assurance is a game-changer. 

The Value of Your Feedback for Search Console Enhancements 

Keep in mind, Google continues to encourage feedback and active communication with its user base through feedback forms within Search Console and help forums. Proactively engaging in these feedback loops helps Google adapt and refine its tools in response to real user needs and challenges like yours. This way, the site and its components are more likely to align with your needs as they evolve.

Overall, these updates represent efforts by Google to boost the integrity and functionality of Search Console — a critical tool for webmasters and site owners in managing their online presence effectively. This initiative is not just about improving a technical process but also about creating a safer and more reliable digital environment for all users.