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Google Webmaster Tools allows people to verify site ownership through an existence of a special file.

What if I were to create a catch-all rule, and let anyone add my site in their Google Webmaster Tools?

Can nefarious people damage my site's reputation or perform other adverse actions that are impossible otherwise?

  • Why would you do this? – closetnoc Dec 23 '14 at 1:25
  • @closetnoc, why not? maybe people are interested in how my site is doing, what kinds of errors it has, keywords etc. – cnst Dec 23 '14 at 2:18
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    Because they can claim your site for all kinds of things and do all kinds of things to harm you just for fun. It is highly recommended that you do not do this!!! If you want statistics to be made publicly, then there are log analyzers that will do that for you. – closetnoc Dec 23 '14 at 2:34
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I always urge people to be cautious in Google Webmaster Tools because there are several settings that can damage your site:

  • Limit the Googlebot crawl rate which can effect indexing and freshness
  • Geo targetting which can cause your site only to show up in search results for a particular country
  • Site link demotion
  • URL removal
  • URL parameters which can cause Googlebot to ignore important pages on your site that use parameters

You shouldn't give just anyone access. There are several control is Google Webmaster Tools that can hurt your sites visibility in Google if misused.

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  • yeah, fair enough. although URL removal seems misplaced -- wouldn't URLs only be removed if they return 404 or some other error? – cnst Dec 23 '14 at 2:30
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    @cnst No. This is a way that people can actually remove your site one page at a time. – closetnoc Dec 23 '14 at 2:35
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    I'd definitely avoid letting random people verify ownership of your site in Webmaster Tools, lots of things can be broken... Adding people with "read-only" access is less problematic, but even there they'd be able to see your search query data (which might be a competitive advantage), and see if URL removal requests were submitted. – John Mueller Dec 24 '14 at 9:39
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    Regarding URL removals, in Webmaster Tools, as a verified owner, you can request complete removal of your website at any point, even if the website is still live. As a verified owner, Webmaster Tools assumes you know what you're doing. – John Mueller Dec 24 '14 at 9:41
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    Another aspect is that as a verified owner, you can link the website to a YouTube channel (to make it official), to a Google+ page, and to apps uploaded in Google Play. – John Mueller Dec 24 '14 at 9:43

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