Index Coverage Status in Search Console

Team TypeStack
Team TypeStack ...
Dec 05, 2022  . 5 min read
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In this blog, we will discuss how to use Search Console to learn which of your pages have been crawled and indexed by Google. And understand if any problems were found during that process.

Crawling is the process through which the Google Bot discovers and searches for new and updated web pages that need to be added to the Google index. The Google Bot processes each and every page it crawls so it can compile a massive index of all the words it sees and their location on each page. When a user enters a search query, Google machines search the index for pages matching that search query and return the results that are most relevant to the user.

The index coverage report will give you an overview of all the pages Google indexed

or tried to index in your website. Before we go into the report, let’s understand when and how often you should check the index coverage status report.

If Google Search Console identifies a new index coverage issue on your website, you will receive an email. But if any issue that already exists gets worse, you won't. This means that you don't need to check the coverage report every day, but be sure to check it once in a while to make sure that nothing is going from bad to worse.

When you open the index coverage report, the first page you see is the summary page. The default view will show indexing errors present on your website. However, you can click to see valid with warnings, valid, and excluded errors. In addition, you will find a checkbox to add to the main chart the number of impressions your page has got on search.

Here is what each status means, with some examples.

Errors

Prevents pages from being indexed. Pages with errors won't appear in Google search results, which can mean a loss of traffic to your website. For example, you might get an error when you submit a page containing the no index directive. In addition to this, Google may find a server error, or your page may be returning a 404. All these cases can prevent the page from appearing on Google Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). Issues on pages you submit via sitemaps are explicitly called out, since they are most probably problems that you should resolve.

Valid with warnings

These are pages that may or may not be shown on Google search results, depending on the issue, but there could be a problem that you should look into. For example, Google might find pages that are indexed though blocked by robots.txt. This is highlighted as a warning, because they are not sure if you intended to block the page from search results. If you want to block this page, then robots.txt is not the right mechanism to avoid it from being indexed. You can either use the no index directive or simply request http: authentication to see your page.

Valid

These are pages that have been indexed and are shown on search results. No need to do anything. Excluded pages were not indexed and won't appear in Google, but either they think that is your intention or they think it's the right thing to do. For example, the page that has the no index directive, that is your choice, or a page is the duplicate of another page, that’s Google's choice, or it is simply not found and gives a 404 error.

In the summary page, you should start by checking the chart to learn if your valid pages trend is somewhat steady. Some amount of fluctuation is natural. Also if you are aware of the content that is being published or removed, you might see that reflected here.

Take a look at the errors list within your account, as they're the most pressing issues. You can sort the table by severity and the number of affected pages, so start investigating at the top of the list. Click the top issue to drill down into the issue details. The details page lists an over time distribution of all the pages suffering from this particular issue and provides a list of examples that you can check more closely.

You'll also find a link to learn more about the error in the Search Console Help Center. In addition to this, you can also click an example URL and inspect it. This will show all the details available for a specific page. Try both the indexed and live versions.

What you see in the index coverage report reflects the index data in the early inspection and it might differ from the live test result. Once you identify what needs to be fixed, you have two options, make the required changes yourself, or pass on the details to a developer who can perform code changes to your website. This can be done with a link using the Share button. The link will grant access only to the current page, and any other validation history pages for this particular issue. It will not grant access to any other pages to your resource or allow the shared user to take any actions on your property. This link can be revoked at any time, all you have to do is disable the sharing for that page. Once your developer or you have fixed the error on all your pages, click Validate Fix and Google will validate your changes. That's the index coverage status report.

We hope that you now understand how to read and understand the information in the index report, and accordingly prioritize your fixes, and then let Google know when you get it done. So these error do not hinder your website performance.

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