google search console errors

Google Search Console Errors

Google Search Console is an application created by Google. It allows SEO specialists, webmasters and site owners to monitor and optimize various aspects of SEO. The data in Search Console directly relates to how Google sees your website, ranks your pages and the keywords you rank for. In addition to that, GSC allows you to discover and fix errors. Google Search Console errors are discovered by Google when they crawl your site. When they find errors, they communicate this to you through an alert in GSC. These errors can result in your page or domain not being indexed or a page not living up to its true ranking potential. Some of the more common errors are listed below.

Coverage issues

Submitted URL blocked by robots.txt 

One role of the robots.txt file is to let Google know of any pages that should be ignored by its crawler. If all goes well and Google follows the directive to ignore, the webpage will not be indexed. If you submit a webpage using Search Console you are telling Google you want the page to be indexed. If you block the page in robots.txt but submit to Google for indexing, Search Console will let you know of the issues. Because you manually submitted the page chances are you want it indexed. In this case, you would edit the robots.txt file and remove the directive. Resubmit the page for indexing and it will appear in Google’s index. 

Indexed, though blocked by robots.txt 

This error is slightly humorous. Google is telling you that you took the time to block the page in robots.txt but they indexed it anyway. They are obviously are aware of the issue because they found it. Yet instead of just deindexing the page they let you know they ignored the directive. The solution to this is to simply add a <noindex> tag to the head of the page. 

Submitted URL not found (404) 

If you are editing your sitemap manually (not using a plugin). There may be times when you delete a webpage but forget to remove the entry from your sitemap.xml. Google will look at your sitemap, notice the page is deleted and put two and two  together. This results in an error message letting you know the page is deleted and the entry needs to be removed from the sitemap. 

Submitted URL seems to be a Soft 404 

A soft 404 error occurs when a page is requested by a user but cannot be found or is invalid. Instead of the server returning the correct HTTP error code (404 or 410 not found), it returns an HTTP status code 200 OK (success). In simple words, this means that while a page is invalid and usually the page contains little or no content. 

Redirect error 

A redirect error is basically a redirect you created but does not work correctly. It can be caused by making changes to redirects over time and not removing the old redirect.  This results in the page or domain being redirected too many times, creating a redirect chain.  

Mobile usability errors 

Text too small to read 

This error explains its self. The selected font size is too small for users to reasonably read on mobile devices. Google does not tell you exactly what text is too small but non-the-less they bring it to your attention.  They tell you which page is affected and from there it is up to you to find and fix the font size. 

Clickable elements too close together 

Personal I like the fact Google alerts you to this issue. There is nothing more annoying than using a menu on a mobile device and the links are right on top of each other.  You try to click on one link but end up clicking on a neighbouring link. To fix this you just need to adjust the padding between links. The minimum they should be apart is 8px. 

The short and skinny

Although they may be unsettling, Google Search Console errors are a blessing in disguise. That is if you know how to fix them or are experienced enough to learn how to fix them. Fix the errors and fixing them quickly will reduce the damage done to search rankings. In most cases, no damage will be done as long as the error is resolved in a timely fashion. In any event, the errors and accompanying alerts are fixable with experience and proper Google search console management.

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