The folks over at Google Webmaster Tools have made some changes to the validation process which should help more sites validate their website.

Among the improvements, is the removal of a weird 404 error HTTP server response that prevented many sites from validating their website.  The issue was out of most site owners control and dependent on the actual host (server owner) to make server-level changes on how the 404 response code was to be relayed back to the user-agent.

“… if your website returned an HTTP status code other than 404 for non-existent URLs, you would be unable to use the file verification method. A properly configured web server will return 404 for non-existent URLs, but it turns out that a lot of sites have problems with this requirement.”

Now, instead of requiring a specific response from the server for the 404 error, the verification process will simply check to see that the HTML page you are required to upload is where it should be.  If so, you now pass… no more “your 404 error is incorrect” and having no clue how to bypass it.

Another improvement, is the configuration to allow the site owner to change their email address (primary) without having to re-validate the website with Meta-tag verification method.  Previously, if you modified the email address for the Webmaster Tools account, you lost your validation and were required to re-valudate – not any longer… they are getting smarter.

Existing verified sites shouldn’t have to do anything either… everything should be ok as-is, according to the announcement from Google.