Google’s New Index Coverage Issue Notices: What Do They Mean?
Have you received one of Google’s New Index Coverage Issue notice? Some Search Console users have received these notifications — but what are they and what do they mean? Mediaworks explains more:
What are the New Index Coverage Issue notices?
If you have received one of these notifications, you will have seen the following message in Google Search Console:
New Index coverage issue detected for site https://www.domain.com
To owner of https://www.domain.com/,
Search Console has identified that your site is affected by one new Index Coverage related issue. This means that Index Coverage may be negatively affected in Google Search results. We encourage you to fix this issue.
Receiving this notification highlights problems within your XML sitemaps, potential 404 URLs and other indexation problems.
Why am I only seeing these New Index Coverage Issue notices now?
The New Index Coverage Issue notices are part of Google’s rollout of a new Search Console. The rollout was launched to give “more transparency into Google’s indexing, stateful two-way communications between Google and website owners to help resolve issues faster, and a responsive user-interface.”
As part of the upgraded tool, verified users can access an Index Coverage report. Similar to the Index Status report, it shows how well a site has been indexed by Google, showing changes over time. It also presents warnings about error URLs and indexing issues.
How do I fix New Index Coverage Issues?
Included within the Index Coverage report are diagnostic tools, which can help you identify what is causing the issue. To access these tools, you need to click into the problematic URL within the report interface.
Overall, there are four main causes of these issues:
- Your Robots.txt file is blocking Google from accessing pages on your site.
- Pages are not getting fetch using Google Bots.
- Your pages feature incorrect meta robot tags, such as “noindex,nofollow” or “noindex,follow”.
- There are inaccuracies in your sitemap which need to be addressed.
By examining each of the above in relation to your site and the affected URLs, you can use Google’s diagnostic tools to rectify the issue. Further guidance from Google on rectifying these issues can be found here. Once you’re confident that the changes have been made, you can then use the tool’s functionality to resubmit the URLs to Google for approval.