How Can You Use the Coverage Report in Google Search Console to Identify and Resolve Common Indexing Errors on Your Website?


The Coverage Report in Google Search Console provides detailed insights into how your web pages are being indexed and helps identify and resolve common indexing errors. This guide covers how to use the Coverage Report to enhance your website’s visibility on Google Search.

Understanding the Coverage Report

The Coverage Report in Google Search Console gives an overview of your site's URL indexing status and highlights potential issues that may prevent your pages from appearing in search results. This includes:

  • Valid: Pages that are successfully indexed.
  • Valid with warnings: Pages indexed with minor issues.
  • Error: Pages not indexed due to errors.
  • Excluded: Pages intentionally not indexed or automatically excluded by Google.

Common Indexing Errors and Resolutions

Error Types

Common types of indexing errors highlighted in the Coverage Report include:

  • Submitted URL not found (404): The page was not found on the server. Ensure the correct URL or redirect to a relevant page.
  • Redirect error: Incorrectly configured redirects can prevent the page from being indexed. Fix the redirect chains or loops.
  • Server error (5xx): The server encountered an issue rendering your pages. Diagnose server performance and response.
  • Submitted URL has crawl issue: Pages with crawl issues may have HTTP or DNS errors. Verify the site’s ability to serve requests correctly.

You can find more about these error types directly from Google's documentation [URL Inspection Tool - Report Index Coverage errors, 2021].

Identifying Issues

To identify and resolve issues, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Google Search Console.
  2. Select your property and navigate to Coverage.
  3. Review the Error and Valid with warning sections to identify problematic URLs.
  4. Click on the individual error types to see the affected URLs and detailed error descriptions.

Fixing Common Issues

404 Errors

To fix 404 errors:

  • Verify if the page was intentionally removed. If so, ensure it serves a proper 404 or use a 410 status code.
  • If the page was moved or renamed, implement a 301 redirect to direct users to the new location.

Google provides more insights on fixing crawl errors [Fix Crawl Errors, 2023].

Redirect Errors

To resolve redirect errors:

  • Ensure all redirects use 301 status codes correctly.
  • Avoid redirect chains and loops by limiting consecutive redirects.

Server Errors (5xx)

To address server errors:

  • Diagnose the server logs for repeated errors that occur when Googlebot tries to access your pages.
  • Ensure your server can handle the traffic load and respond quickly to requests.

Refer to Google’s guide on diagnosing server errors for more details [Server Errors, 2023].

Crawl Issues

To fix crawl issues:

  • Ensure that your robots.txt file isn’t blocking important pages from being crawled.
  • Check that your website’s DNS server is properly configured and responsive.

Monitoring and Maintenance

After resolving issues, ask Google to re-crawl and re-index corrected URLs using the URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console. Continuous monitoring of your Coverage Report will help maintain optimal website performance and indexing.