What is Index Coverage Issue Shown in Google Search Console?

index coverage report Google search console

To easily understand what index coverage issue is, think of Google search engine as a note taker who listens to the sound of her CEO. That means, if the note taker can not hear the sounds spoken, then, she can not take down the notes. Same thing happens with Google, it analyzes web pages, and with Search Console index coverage issue, its complaining saying to the webmaster:

Hey, you told us about your website by verifying it in Google Search Console, but now our web crawlers (Googlebot) can not access thus index those web pages = Index Coverage Issues

In simple terms that’s what index coverage report shows you.

Understanding What Index Coverage Issues are Important for Your Website

Whether you are relying on organic search results or running Google AdWords Campaigns, understand the index coverage report is critical because if Google can not access and index your website webpage and keywords, then, its not going to show them up in its Search Results (paid or organic). So let’s see what the report shows us.

index coverage report UI
Shows index coverage report user interface options for: Error, Valid with Warnings, Valid and Excluded report with date based bar chart

Errors

These are the most critical to remedy first because if there are continued errors, that means, no Google rankings. It means that the page has not been indexed. See the specific error type description on the report to learn more, and how to fix these type of index coverage errors.

Warnings

Page is indexed, or was until recently, and has an issue that you should be aware of. These are not as critical as errors, but should be fixed nonetheless

Excluded

The page is not included in the index for reasons that you typically cannot affect. The page might be in an intermediate stage of the indexing process, or is deliberately excluded by you (for example by a noindex directive) and is therefore behaving as expected.

Valid

The page was indexed all is good.

Troubleshooting Options for Index Coverage

You can double check to see if Googlebot is blocked through robots.txt file

You can fetch as Google to see if and what Googlebot sees for that URL its complaining about

You can search Google with info: advanced search operator (simply paste this https://www.google.com.au/search?q=info:REPLACEWITHYOURDOMAINHEREDOTCOM)

Once you fix the errors and warnings, you can request the Search Console Validate option to validate your fix (this is a great new feature in the new Google Search Console)

Video About Search Console Index Coverage Report

Instance Validation State

After validation has been requested, every known issue instance is assigned one of the following validation states for a specific issue (states Passed and Other not used in Index Status report):

  • Pending validation: Queued for validation. Be patient especially if you are operating a small business website as crawling usually takes bit longer than large sites.
  • Passed: Google checked for the issue instance and it no longer exists (Can reach this state only if you explicitly clicked Validate for this issue instance).
  • Failed: Google checked for the issue instance and it’s still there (Can reach this state only if you explicitly clicked Validate for this issue instance).
  • Other: Google couldn’t reach the URL hosting the instance, or (for structured data) couldn’t find the item on the page any more. Considered equivalent to Passed.

At the end of the day, understanding what Index Coverage Issues are can be complicated by the average website owner. Its best then to either attempt to read through help section of Google Search Console or, visit RankYa YouTube channel and watch Search Console related videos, become a premium member at RankYa.Digital to ask questions and get appropriate answers, or hire an SEO Expert with knowledge about using Google Webmaster Tools.