Decipher Google Search Console's Coverage Report

An Easy Guide to understanding and fixing issues in Google Search Console's Coverage Report.


Googlebot uses crawl bots to scan your website for page updates and freshly added content. It crawls many pages periodically, but sometimes, some errors in indexing can prevent the bots from discovering and showing your pages in Google search results.


If you’ve recently made changes to any pages on your site, you should ask Google to re-index them in Google Search Console.


Even without making changes to your pages, it is worth checking the coverage section in Google Search Console once in a while, to avoid crawling and indexing errors.


Making sure that your pages are indexed and error-free, will prevent a ‘no-show’ situations in Google Search Results.


Important note by Google: Your goal is to get the canonical version or the original version of every page indexed. Any duplicate or alternate pages will be labeled "Excluded" in the coverage report.


How to use the Coverage Section in Google Search Console?

Select your website property in Google Search Console. Then, go to 'Coverage' and look at the errors and excluded URLs in your website:



There are several types of errors and messages that the coverage report can reveal:

  • Error: The URL is not indexed by Google. Check the specific error type description to learn more about the error and how to fix them. These are high priority fixes.

  • Warning: The URL is indexed, but has issues that you should be aware of.

  • Excluded: The URL is not indexed, but Googlebot thinks that it was intentional. (For example, you might have a duplicate version of the same page: you can have an AMP version and a regular version of the same page), which is already indexed.

  • Valid: The URL is indexed and Google can find it and crawl it.


Types of Errors in the Coverage Report

Google support pages detail all the errors, warnings and exclusions on their support pages. Here is the full list of possible errors that might appear in the coverage report, by Google:


Errors

  • Server error (5xx): The server returned a 500 type error when the page was requested. See Fixing server errors.

  • Redirect error: The URL was a redirect error. Could be one of the following types: it was a redirect chain that was too long; it was a redirect loop; the redirect URL eventually exceeded the max URL length; there was a bad or empty URL in the redirect chain.

  • Submitted URL blocked by robots.txt: You submitted this page for indexing, but the page is blocked by robots.txt. Try testing your page using the robots.txt tester.

  • Submitted URL marked ‘noindex’: You submitted this page for indexing, but the page has a 'noindex' directive either in a meta tag or HTTP header. If you want this page to be indexed, you must remove the tag or HTTP header.

  • Submitted URL seems to be a Soft 404: You submitted this page for indexing, but the server returned what seems to be a soft 404.

  • Submitted URL returns unauthorized request (401): You submitted this page for indexing, but Google got a 401 (not authorized) response. Either remove authorization requirements for this page or else allow Googlebot to access your pages by verifying its identity.

  • Submitted URL not found (404): You submitted a non-existent URL for indexing. See Fixing 404 errors.

  • Submitted URL has crawl issue: You submitted this page for indexing, and Google encountered an unspecified crawling error that doesn't fall into any of the other reasons. Try debugging your page using the URL Inspection Tool.

Warnings

  • Indexed, though blocked by robots.txt: The page was indexed, despite being blocked by robots.txt. This is marked as a warning because Google was not sure if you intended to block the page from search results.

Valid

  • Submitted and indexed: You submitted the URL for indexing, and it was indexed.

  • Indexed, not submitted in sitemap: The URL was discovered by Google and indexed. Submit all important URLs to Google Search Console, using a sitemap

Excluded

  • Excluded by ‘noindex’ tag: When Google tried to index the page it encountered a 'noindex' directive and therefore did not index it. If you do want this page to be indexed, you should remove that 'noindex' directive.

  • Blocked by page removal tool: The page is currently blocked by a URL removal request. If you are a verified site owner, you can use the URL removals tool to see who submitted a URL removal request. Removal requests are only good for about 90 days after the removal date. After that period, Googlebot may go back and index the page even if you do not submit another index request.

  • Blocked by robots.txt: This page was blocked to Googlebot with a robots.txt file. You can verify this using the robots.txt tester.

  • Blocked due to unauthorized request (401): The page was blocked to Googlebot by a request for authorization (401 response). If you do want Googlebot to be able to crawl this page, either remove authorization requirements or allow Googlebot to access your page.

  • Crawl anomaly: An unspecified anomaly occurred when fetching this URL. Try fetching the page using the URL Inspection tool to see if it encounters any fetch issues. The page was not indexed.

  • Crawled - currently not indexed: The page was crawled by Google, but not indexed. It may or may not be indexed in the future.

  • Discovered - currently not indexed: The page was found by Google, but not crawled yet. Typically, Google tried to crawl the URL but the site was overloaded; therefore Google had to reschedule the crawl.

  • Alternate page with proper canonical tag: This page is a duplicate of a page that Google recognizes as canonical. This page correctly points to the canonical page, so there is nothing for you to do.

  • Duplicate without user-selected canonical: This page has duplicates, none of which is marked canonical. You should explicitly mark the canonical for this page. Inspecting this URL should show the Google-selected canonical URL.

  • Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user: This page is marked as canonical for a set of pages, but Google thinks another URL makes a better canonical. We recommend that you explicitly mark this page as a duplicate of the canonical URL. Inspecting this URL should show the Google-selected canonical URL.

  • Not found (404): This page returned a 404 error when requested. Googlebot will probably continue to try this URL for some period of time; there is no way to tell Googlebot to permanently forget a URL, although it will crawl it less and less often. If your page has moved, use a 301 redirect to the new location. Read Fixing 404 errors

  • Page removed because of legal complaint: The page was removed from the index because of a legal complaint.

  • Page with redirect: The URL is a redirect, and therefore was not added to the index.

  • Soft 404: The page request returns a soft 404 response. This means that it returns a user-friendly "not found" message without a corresponding 404 response code.

  • Duplicate, submitted URL not selected as canonical: The URL is one of a set of duplicate URLs without an explicitly marked canonical page. You explicitly asked this URL to be indexed, but because it is a duplicate, and Google thinks that another URL is a better candidate for canonical, Google did not index this URL. Instead, we indexed the canonical that we selected. Inspecting this URL should show the Google-selected canonical URL.


How to fix issues in the coverage report?

Click on one of the items in the list of errors or warnings to get more details about each URL. You will see a list of URLs with the same issue, grouped together. Click on a specific URL and press on “Inspect Url”.

The URL Inspection tool allows you to see each page individually. You can see if the page is submitted to Google via Sitemap.xml, if it’s indexed, mobile-friendly or using AMP.

If you made any changes to your page, you can click on “Request Indexing”.


It might take a few days for Googlebots to come back to your page and index it again. You should follow up in a week and see if the changes that were made helped your page.

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