Fix errors on your site with google search console

Fix errors on your site with google search console

by Christian Bagnimbo on 27/05/2022

Updated at 4/10/2022


Google Search Console is a very useful Google tool that facilitates the optimization of your website through indexing, experience, performance on search results. Indeed, Google Search Console is the tool for Google mainly deals with the quality of the SEO web referencing of a website. 

Complementary to Google Analytics, the Search Console analyzes the traffic of your website. The data collected on the Search Console is used to optimize your pages, to monitor your SEO performance, to find the keywords to work on, and also to manage your links.

In this collected data, Google will list you the errors that your website presents. In this article we will explain the errors detected by Search Console and how to fix them.

Contents

The broken links

In Google Search Console, under the "Coverage" menu, you can see all the broken links you have on your website. They are displayed as errors, along with the type of problem encountered on that web page. Typically this is a broken link that has changed over time and does not lead to the correct internal page or the correct external website. This error is known as the 404 error, you can find out if your website contains 404 errors or 301 redirects with free tools like Screaming Frog.

To solve this problem, you must redirect the broken link to the new link. This process is called a 301 redirect. 

Also called web redirection or permanent redirection, the 301 redirection allows you to change the requested link to one that is functional. Thus the redirection forces your web browser to present you with content from the new web address and not from the old one which is broken.

The 301 redirection can be done using the .htaccess file (configuration file that allows you to modify the operation of the server). If you are on Wordpress, you can make your redirects with plugins.

Similarly for 404 errors , you just need to delete the broken link, or replace it with a new URL, which leads to relevant content and therefore redirects as explained above. 

Navigation and crawl errors

Whenever you write a new article or update an existing article, it's a good idea to go to Google Search Console and update your Sitemap . The sitemap is a special XML document that lists all the pages of your website, along with their content, to make them easily accessible to search engines. So you invite Google crawlers to come to your website and crawl it again.

In the Sitemaps tab you can also see the last successfully submitted sitemap and you can see how many pages were crawled and if there were any errors during the crawling in the Status part.

If you have an error, don't worry. You can have more detail on the error by clicking on the site map displaying the error. It is very important to regularly check your sitemap and the errors that could result from it because Google will crawl your plan regularly. However, Google will not send you an email in the event of an error. The error will just be noted in the Google Search Console. This is why you need to do a weekly check especially if you produce a lot of content or modify your website often.

Index coverage issues

The Index Coverage Report shows the indexing status of all URLs that Google is aware of on your site.

Simply put, the Search Console Coverage Report tells you which pages have been crawled and indexed by Google and the status of their URLs.

The Index Coverage report can be found in the Coverage tab (just below Index) on Google Search Console. 

Once you open it, you'll see a summary with four different statuses ranking your URLs:

  • Error : These are pages that cannot be indexed and will not appear in search results due to certain errors.
  • Valid with caveats : These pages may and may not appear in Google search results.
  • Valid : These pages have been indexed and can be displayed in search results.
  • Excluded : These pages have not been indexed and will not appear in search results. These are the pages you don't want indexed.

Once the results are displayed, you need to correct the errors. Often the errors found are:

  • Server Errors (5xx) : These are URLs returning a 5xx status code to Google.

The first action is to check what type of 500 error it is. You can view this list of all 5xx errors here

Often 5xx errors are caused by too long redirect, redirect loop, too long or wrong redirect URL.

To solve this problem, avoid wrong URLs when redirecting and redirecting loops.

  • The submitted URL is marked "noindex" : These are the pages that have been submitted to Google via an XML sitemap, but which have "noindex" tags in their code.

In this case, remove the “noindex” directive from the code if you want the page to be indexed or remove the page from the XML sitemap in case you don't want it indexed.

  • The submitted URL appears to be a Soft 404 : This error occurs when the server returns a 200 status code to a request, but Google believes it should display a 404 error. finds no problem on the page but Google finds the page has a 404 error.

This could be because the page has no content or it looks wrong or low quality to Google. 

To correct this error, make a redirect in case you think it is really a 404 error. On the other hand, correct or add content to your page in case it is not an error 404

  • The submitted URL returns an unauthorized request (401) : This error indicates that we are not authorized to access the URL. It may be a page that must be accessed with a username and password, or perhaps there are access restrictions based on the IP address

To solve it, remove the HTTP authentication if there is one in case it is not a real 401 error and remove the XML sitemap URL if it is really a 401 state.

Manual penalties

Google's manual penalties are search engine penalties against websites. These penalties cause the site's pages to drop sharply in the search results. Basically, your positioning is greatly affected by these manual penalties. 

These manual penalties can be related to hidden texts, misuse of keywords, fake links and others…

To find manual penalties on Google Search Console, go to “ Manual Actions ” in the “ Security and Manual Actions ” category.

In case you have manual penalties, you must do everything to make your site meet Google's quality criteria. 

Here are 10 penalties that Google can inflict on your site:

  • Artificial links to your site with an impact on the links
  • Artificial links to your site
  • Artificial links on your site
  • hacked website
  • Uninformative content with little or no added value
  • Aggressive spam
  • User generated spam
  • Cloaking techniques and/or deceptive redirects
  • Hidden text and/or keyword accumulation
  • Free web hosts associated with spam

To avoid penalties, check the error presented by the tool for more details and fix it as soon as possible. Once done, ask Google to re-examine your site. 

Conclusion

Having a website is a good thing. But taking care of your SEO referencing is even better. To help you, you can use the free tool from Google called Search Console. Thanks to this tool you can analyze the traffic of your website and correct the errors detected by the tool to make your site even better and improve its referencing.





Christian Bagnimbo

Christian is a project manager and SEO specialist for Oshara. A true geek and digital lover, he loves to share his passion for digital marketing, technology and everything that goes with it.

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