• The New Coverage Report

    It often takes a bit of time to get used to Google’s update of what was Webmaster Tools and now is called the Search Console.

    Google does have a history of talking away useful information, especially when it comes to back link information or data they think, helps webmasters “game the system”.
    The Coverage section of the search console, for me is something different and a welcome addition to what must be the most important platform to understanding how Google views owner’s websites.

    The Error Tab

    This shows indexation errors within your website listed under subtitles such as

    • Submitted URL Marked “noindex”
    • Submitted URL has Crawl Error
    • Redirect Error
    • Submitted URL seems to be soft 404
    • Submitted URL not found(404)

    There are more variations to above-

    Coverage screen print

    Click on each of these links and get a list of URLs that have the indexation issues.
    Before I would have compared the “Pages Indexed” amount with how many I physically counted using the site command. This was very adhoc.
    But an even bigger plus is having an understanding of how Google sees the indexation of each page.
    You can test the page and then even test the live version to see if these are still issues. Very helpful.

    submitted url no index

    I do still think there are easier ways to present this information and I am not sure on the validation process, to state the problem has been fixed.

    submit to console sidebar

    I also miss the ability to pre-select a group of pages to state they are fixed.
    But this information gives a clear indication to how Google sees your content and the internal linking structure.
    The first time I used this, I noticed a certain amount of pages not, even though I thought they were on the site I was testing.

    There was a pattern, as they were all 3 levels deep and linked to from level 2. This told me that although level 2 pages were good enough to be indexed, they did not have sufficient authority or page rank to send a high enough link value to level 3. Hence not good enough.
    If you want Google to delve deep into your site, you need good back links deep into the site. If your back link profile focuses on the homepage, then there is a limit to how far the authority will travel. I this case, the pages needed to be nearer the homepage (a good strategy to follow anyway).
    As part of my strategy, I now always look at the Coverage information, it is not always fully up to date, so some allowances need to be made for that and for some reason, sometimes validations don’t update as well as I would like.

    But this is definitely a step in the right direction to give us the information we need to provide the best visitor experience to our sites.