Google Search Console’s Index Coverage report – a fairly new report introduced with the revamp of Search Console – has been keeping web owners better informed about indexing issues since 2018.
The report shows the indexing state of every URL Google has visited (or tried to visit) on a particular website. Most SEOs have been consulting the Index Coverage report to determine which URLs have been crawled and indexed by Google and why Google has chosen to crawl a particular URL – but the results have always been a little hazy, to say the least.
Over the past two years, many an SEO has provided Google with plenty of feedback regarding possible improvements they would like to see in the future. Well, it looks like the future is now because Google announced in a blog post last Monday that it has made four substantial new changes to the Index Coverage report based on feedback from the SEO community.
The changes seem to be angled towards greater data accuracy and interpretation – something anyone with a website can appreciate – and errors that were once unclear have been relabeled with more specific categories.
The updates include the following:
- Google is doing away with crawl error guesswork. The vague “crawl anomaly” issue is being replaced with specific issues and resolutions.
- Site owners will know with 100 percent certainty if a page indexed by Google is blocked by robots.txt. The report will now state “Indexed but blocked” instead of “submitted but blocked.”
- A new issue, “indexed without content,” has been added. It will refer to pages that appear in the Google index but, for reasons not related to robots.txt blocking, the content cannot be read.
- Soft 404 reporting will be more accurate.
The response to these updates has been overwhelmingly positive – not surprising since these requests came directly from SEOs themselves. It’s always great to see Google not only hearing what web owners want but listening and delivering on requests. With the insights provided by the new-and-improved Index Coverage report, Google’s indexing should be much less of a mystery.
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