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The security issues report in Google Search Console is Google’s way of notifying you of any known hacks or malicious activity that have been detected on your site.
Manual actions refer to any manual penalties that can be imposed on a site by Google. The penalty will most likely negatively impact rankings in Google. In very severe penalty cases Google can remove specific pages, or even an entire site from it’s index.
In this step you are going to check your site’s index coverage. This consists of:
Only resort to using the disavow tool in extreme circumstances. This is an advanced SEO tactic and more harm than good can come from using this tool if you aren’t careful.
In the case of my website, the valid pages have been split into into 2 category types:
Once you click on your main host, scroll down a bit and click on “Host Status”.
If Google Search Console isn’t showing any structured data within the enhancements section, this means you probably don’t have any implemented on your site.
In order to instill confidence in user’s sharing personal information such as email addresses or credit cards on your site, you want to make sure your site uses the https, or secured protocol.
Excluded items listed in your index coverage report show pages that are currently being excluded from Google’s index. Keep in mind that you don’t want all your pages indexed by Google, so you are going to most certainly see some pages listed in this category.
Select the “Error”, “Valid with warnings”, “Valid”, or “Excluded” boxes at the top of the report to show or hide the items in the graph. This will show you your site’s index coverage over time.
Don’t forget to also validate the fixes in the enhancements report in Google Search Console once completed and confirmed.
Here is a summary of the steps that we are going to cover:
Once you export the file to a spreadsheet, you are going to want to go through the list and flag any backlinks that appear to be:
One of the best ways to improve your site’s performance in organic search in terms of on-page items, is by using Google Search Console’s performance report. To access this report, click on “Performance” in the menu.
Hopefully you see the above screen shot in your manual actions report.
What if I told you about a free and easy SEO auditing tool that uses data and reports directly from Google?
If you have any structured data that has been detected by Google, you will see it show up under the “Enhancements” tab in Google Search Console.
To check your site’s mobile usability, click on “Mobile Usability” in the “Experience” tab of Google Search Console.
If your site is not using the https protocol, you should consider changing to the secured version. You can even do this for free using a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
This report will show you useful information about how Google is crawling your site. It is similar to a log file analysis, which a lot of SEO’s use to help improve the crawl budget of a site. The difference here is that this report only shows Google’s crawl requests as opposed to requests from all users and user agents in the case of a log file analysis.
The main thing is to be aware of any excluded pages and ensure that you are ok with this.
This report will show past problems Google has had accessing your site. In the details section you will see the report broken down into:
Index Coverage Errors.
Typically, the more important a page is, the more internal links it should have pointing to it.
If you see the above validation in your report, you are golden!
Create and use filters in the remaining tabs in your spreadsheet to analyze your site’s organic performance in terms of:
User’s don’t like annoying pop-ups, and therefore neither does Google. Make sure that your site isn’t using any intrusive interstitials as described above.
To check for this, click “Sitemaps” located within the “Index” tab of Google Search Console’s main navigation menu. The main navigation menu will be located on the left hand side of your Google Search Console interface.
Use a similar workflow to the one we went through for your core web vital issues:
Type the missing URL(s) into the tool, which is located at the top of the Google Search Console interface.
Let’s start by checking your site’s core web vitals. Scroll down and click on “Core Web Vitals” underneath the page experience signals section.
No matter how frequently you audit your own website, there is one tool you may have never considered using: Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools.
With great power comes great responsibility, GSC included! In the wrong hands, one person can de-index a website with the right level of access to GSC. Be careful about who you trust with GSC ownership. As with technical on-site audits, I have yet to find a website that hasn’t benefitted from an audit of GSC.
1. Check the Messages that Google Search Console has for you.
Google Search Console is no longer strictly for the web developer. Digital marketing teams everywhere can leverage the resources of Google Search Console as part of a technical SEO audit. In fact, I highly recommend logging in and checking GSC in between technical on-site audits. Grab a cup of coffee the first Monday morning of the month, log into GSC and relax. GSC can teach you a ton about your website that you haven’t considered before that impact your website’s ability to be indexed.
If you see this message, contact your web developer to take appropriate actions to unblock the necessary resources.
In fact, there are several GSC items that show up countless times in my audit reports and are immediate concerns to any person or business with a website. Below is a list of three items an experienced and trusted digital marketer can identify by way of GSC.
Technical audits of websites should be taken seriously, and they should be completed regularly to ensure your website is as healthy as it needs to be to for search engines and users alike. But a word of caution about technical audits: if done improperly, they can severely damage your website. Make sure you work with someone who knows their stuff.
If you see any of these messages, contact your web designer to improve the mobile usability of your website.
Technical SEO must be revisited on a regular basis. Depending on how many team members touch your website or how frequently pages and posts are updated will determine what constitutes “regular basis.” If your ecommerce site involves team members from across the world making changes simultaneously to the website, I recommend a monthly audit of the technical elements of your website. If you are a sole proprietor and the only person pumping out content via your blog, you may consider a technical on-site audit once or twice a year.
2. Check to see if your website has any mobile usability issues.
After conducting technical SEO audits on countless websites in the months since I joined the Web Talent team, I can say that there hasn’t been a website I’ve encountered with perfect deployment of every critically important on-site element. I surmise that this is, in part, due to changes in organic search, but it may also be the result of a “set it at launch and forget it” mentality that plagues beleaguered marketing teams everywhere.
If Google is unable to index your website, the “index” will indicate how many pages of your website are being indexed. Reasons why a website cannot be completely indexed vary widely and could be the result of a stale sitemap, incorrect canonical elements, disallowed elements in a robots.txt file, and much more.
Even if your website has the “mobile friendly” designation, there may still be elements of your website to improve the usability of the mobile version. Mobile users having a difficult time navigating your website may click to return to the SERP in an attempt to find a mobile-friendly site that meets their needs and expectations. Here is an example of the mobile usability issues that Google looks for:
To learn more about Google Search Console, start with Google’s Webmaster Academy.