Meta tag authentication frustration resolved (From the Forums)

Today’s installment of the From the Forums column involves a user who had difficulties getting the required authentication code installed on the default page of her website so she could take advantage of the Bing Webmaster Center tools.

The customized authentication code issued by Bing Webmaster Center ensures that only the site owner who registered with Webmaster Center can get access to the detailed information about the site as collected by the Bing search crawler. Unfortunately, some users have difficulty in getting the authentication code installed. As a result, Webmaster Center cannot validate the site owner logon process and thus blocks access to the site’s data through the tools.

Bing Webmaster Center offers two methods of installing the authentication code onto a website:

  1. Upload a Bing-provided XML file containing the code to the root directory of the website
  2. Add a custom <meta> tag containing the code to the website’s default page

This process is explained in detail in the Webmaster Center online Help topic Authenticate your website.

Forums volunteer Archie Watts assessed the likely situation and shared his experiences with how to manage the authentication process. The issue in question appeared to stem from the same problem/solution recently added to the Webmaster Center FAQ:

Q: I’m not able to gain access to Webmaster Center with the authentication code used in a <meta> tag. Can you help?

A: The Webmaster Center online Help topic Authenticate your website recommends using a <meta> tag formed as follows:

<meta name=”msvalidate.01″ content=”0123456789ABCDEF0123456789ABCDEF” />

However, some users attempt to combine the flow of authentication codes for multiple sites in the <meta> tags. If you must use the <meta> tag method of authentication (as opposed to the XML file authentication method as described in the Help topic), we recommend placing your Bing Webmaster Center authentication code last so that it is not followed by a space. In addition, Webmaster Center does look for the proper XHTML-based closing of the <meta> tag – the ” />”, so be sure to use this closing in your code.

To see the forum conversation thread, check out Why can’t I change my site’s profile or update contact info or even go to the Profile page??? in the General Questions and Feedback forum. Many thanks to Archie Watts for his excellent contribution to the Bing Webmaster Center forum community!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to post them in our Webmaster Center forums. See you again soon…

— Rick DeJarnette, Bing Webmaster Center

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