Now you can verify you website(s) in Google Webmaster Tools using Google Tag Manager. "If you use Google Tag Manager to add and update your site tags, now you can quickly and easily verify ownership of your site in Webmaster Tools using the container snippet code," informs Google.
Here're the steps:
- "On the Webmaster Tools home page, click Manage site for the site you'd like to verify, then select Verify this site. If you haven't added the site yet, you can click the Add a site button in the top right corner.
To do this, you must have "View, Edit, and Manage" account level permissions in Google Tag Manager.
- On the Verification page, select Google Tag Manager as the verification method and follow the steps on your screen.
- Click Verify," google explains.
Update: Google has confirmed that a bug has caused a huge drop in the number of reported links via "Links To Your Site" report in its Webmaster Tools.
"Some Webmaster Tools users have reported missing data in the "Links to your site" section. We are aware of this issue and are looking into it; you do not need to take any action. We hope to have the normal data shown again in the near future. The data shown there is informational and does not affect your site's crawling, indexing or ranking," Google stated.
Update 06/21: Google has posted some common questions, along with the recommendations about the "backlinks releated issues and reconsideration requests."
"If your site violates our Google Quality Guidelines or did in the past, a manual spam action may be applied to your site to prevent spam in our search results. You may learn about this violation from a notification in Google Webmaster Tools, or perhaps from someone else such as a previous owner or SEO of the site. To get this manual action revoked, first make sure that your site no longer violates the quality guidelines. After you've done that, it's time to file a reconsideration request," explains Google on why should one file a reconsideration request.
Here are the Q&A from Google post:
Should I file a reconsideration request if I think my site is affected by an algorithmic change?
Reconsideration requests are intended for sites with manual spam actions. If your site's visibility has been solely affected by an algorithmic change, there's no manual action to be revoked, and therefore no need to file a reconsideration request. If you're unsure if it's an algorithmic change or a manual action, and have found issues that you have resolved, then submitting a reconsideration request is fine.
How can I assess the quality of a site's backlinks?
The links to your site section of Google Webmaster Tools is a great starting point for an investigation as it shows a significant amount of your site's inbound links. If you know that you ran an SEO campaign during a particular period of time, downloading the latest links can come handy in slicing links created at that time. Using the links found in Google Webmaster Tools, we recommend looking for patterns that point to general issues that are worth resolving. For example, spammy blog comments, auto generated forum posts or text advertisements with links that pass PageRank are likely to be seen as unnatural links and would violate Google's quality guidelines. For individual examples and hands-on advice we recommend getting help of peers and expert webmasters on the Google Webmaster Forum.
How do I clean a bad backlink profile?
Make sure to identify poor links first, then make a strong effort to get them either removed or nofollowed. Then use the Disavow Links Tool to deal with remaining unnatural backlinks. We recommend using domain-wide operator for sites with a complicated URL structure, very obvious spam sites, such as gibberish content sites or low quality sites with content that shows no editorial value. See our video on common mistakes when using the disavow tool for more information.
How much information do I need to provide?
Detailed documentation submitted along with a reconsideration request can contribute to its success, as it demonstrates the efforts made by the webmaster and helps Googlers with their investigation. If you are including a link to a shared document, make sure that it's accessible to anyone with the link.
How long does it take to process reconsideration requests?
Reconsideration requests for sites affected by a manual spam action are investigated by a Googler. We strive to respond in a timely manner, normally within just a few days. However, the volume of incoming reconsideration requests can vary considerably, hence we don't provide a guaranteed turnaround time.
What are the possible outcomes of a reconsideration request?
Upon submitting a reconsideration request, you will first receive an automated confirmation in Google Webmaster Tools. After your request is processed, "we'll send you another message to let you know the outcome of the request. In most cases, this message will either inform you that the manual action has been revoked or that your site still violates our quality guidelines," google said.
Where can I get more guidance?
For more information on reconsideration requests, please visit Help Center. And as always, the Google Webmaster Forum is a great place for further discussions as well as seeking more advice from experienced webmasters and Google guides.
Also, in a new video, Matt Cutt asnwering the question "Does using stock photos on your page have a negative effect on your ranking?" said, "no."
Do original photos help help you? Cutts added "it doesn't really make a difference whether it's a stock photo versus an original photo."
In other Google news, beginning this summer, you'll be able to find Chromebooks in 6,600+ stores around the world--in more than 3 times many more stores than before--including +Walmart and +Staples in the U.S., Tesco in the U.K. and around the world.
"Starting today, Walmart will be making the newest Acer Chromebook, which has a 16GB Solid State Drive (SSD), available in approximately 2,800 stores across the U.S., for just $199. And beginning this weekend, Staples will bring a mix of Chromebooks from Acer, HP and Samsung to every store in the U.S.--more than 1,500 in total," google wrote.
Google tests a new Gmail mobile web app user interface--that now includes buttons for archiving messages, marking as unread or adding labels floats above the message and it no longer has a fixed position.
Google has also begun showing ads in the Gmail's promotions tab, with a different background color and an label "ad" label.
"It's a new type of ad which you can forward to a friend, or star to save it to your inbox. If you dismiss this ad, you won't see it again," informs Google. You can click "dismiss" or use the "x" icon to remove an ad. And, to see all the sponsored promotions for your account, go to this page.
With the new inbox tabs, Gmail no longer displays web clips (which are mostly ads) above/below the messages from your inbox, so it now shows ads in the promotions tab. Web clips could be disabled from the settings, but the new ads can't be disabled. The only thing you can do is to hide the promotions tab by clicking the gears button and selecting "configure inbox". When you hide the promotions tab, Gmail will bring back the web clips ads, but these can be disabled from the settings.