What is the page indexing report in Google Search Console?
The Index Coverage report (or page indexing report) in Google Search Console is a tool that helps webmasters understand how Google is indexing their websites. It provides insights into which pages have been successfully indexed, which ones haven't, and why some might be having issues.
The report divides URLs into four main sections:
• Error: This shows pages that Google couldn't index. These errors could be due to server errors, redirect errors, blocked by robots.txt, 404 errors, etc. This is where you should focus your efforts first because these errors prevent your pages from appearing in search results.
• Valid with warnings: These are pages that have been indexed but have some issues. For example, they could be indexed but blocked by robots.txt. Google can still index these pages if they find enough signals indicating they should (like links from other places on the web).
• Valid: This includes pages that have been successfully indexed by Google and have no issues.
• Excluded: These are pages that Google decided not to index. These could be pages that are marked "noindex," duplicates of other pages, or pages that have been redirected. Some excluded pages are to be expected and are perfectly normal, but it's important to make sure that none of your important pages are unintentionally excluded.
How to Interpret the Index Coverage Report
• Review the overall coverage trends: Look for major shifts or changes over time. For example, sudden spikes in errors or drops in valid pages could indicate significant problems.
• Investigate specific issues: Click into each status for more details. Google will provide examples of affected URLs and categorise them based on the issue.
• Resolve errors and warnings: Prioritise fixing any issues based on their severity and the importance of the affected pages. Google provides more information and potential solutions for each type of issue.
• Monitor your progress: After you've made changes, keep an eye on the report to confirm that your fixes are taking effect. After resolving the issues, you can also use the "Validate Fix" button to request a re-crawl of affected pages.
Remember, not every page on a site needs to be indexed, and it's normal to see fluctuations in the report. Your goal is to ensure that your most important and valuable pages are correctly indexed and error-free.