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Google Search Console reports

Google Search Console: What to Know About Google's Indexing Warning Emails

Have you received a ‘New reason preventing your pages from being indexed’ email from the Google Search Console Team? This message sounds rather alarming since pages that aren’t indexed by Google can’t be served on Google’s search engine results. So, what does this email mean and what should you do about it?

We should start by mentioning that Google Search Console (GSC) is a free service from Google that offers tools and reports that help us monitor, troubleshoot, and improve how Google understands your site so your site can get the best Google Search results.  This is why our agency always makes certain that we have access to a site’s GSC information whenever we’re working with a new SEO client.

Once a GSC account is established for your site, everyone with either Owner, Full user, or Restricted user permission for this account will receive emails from the Google Search Console Team related to your site’s Google search performance as well as any notices regarding any technical issues impacting your site’s search performance. As your SEO team, we make sure that we will receive all the same Google Search Console Team email notifications that you will.

So, as your SEO team, what do we do whenever we receive a ‘New reason preventing your pages from being indexed’ email notice for a website? As with any such notification, we understand that GSC is reporting an issue for us to investigate and determine what action to take.

The ‘New reason preventing your pages from being indexed’ email includes a convenient ‘Open indexing report’ link that allows us to log in directly to the site’s ‘Page indexing’ chart. This report displays the number of web pages for the site that are indexed by Google, how many pages are not indexed by Google, and lists the reasons why these pages are not being indexed by Google.

Google Search Console page index filter

We can choose to filter the Page indexing chart by:

  • All known pages [Default] – Show all URLs that are known to Google whether these URLs are listed in a sitemap or not.
  • All submitted pages – Show only URLs that are listed in a sitemap or sitemap index that was submitted to GSC.
  • Unsubmitted pages only – Show only URLs that were not listed in a sitemap submitted to GSC.
  • Filter to sitemaps – Show only URLs listed in a specific sitemap or sitemap index submitted to GSC.

 

We start our investigation by changing the filter setting from ‘All known pages’ to ‘All submitted pages’ because we want to first ensure that Google can index all pages on your site that we’d want available for Google Search results. At this point, we can investigate the details as to why any page isn’t listed in Google’s index and determine the appropriate action to take for each page.

Why does this matter? Google Search Console Teams often send notification emails to all members who have access to a site’s GSC account which may give the impression that something bad is happening to the website. If you’re following good site design and SEO practices, there’s no need to panic as it’s almost always a rather simple matter for an experienced and knowledgeable SEO team member to investigate and address.

Have questions about Google Search Console, or do you need SEO help? Schedule a free, no-obligation call with us today!

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