Google Search Console is an excellent tool that every business owner with a website should use. Not only does it allow you to track your impressions by keywords and submit XML sitemaps, but it can help web developers keep track of 404 errors, no indexed pages, and various errors. Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmasters), will notify website owners when their bots detect an issue on your website. In some cases these errors can catch a mistake you may have made when creating 301 redirects for your website, or they can even be useful for catching hacking attempts. Unfortunately, Google Search Console can only notify you when there is an issue, it cannot tell you how to fix the issue. There are many common issues that you may be notified about including coverage and mobile usability issues.
What Is A Coverage Issue?
A coverage issue refers to the process where Google’s bots read your XML sitemap. You will only be notified about a coverage issue after submitting a sitemap for Google to crawl. While crawling, if the bot reads an error it will be noted as a coverage issue. This can include 404 errors or links being marked as “no index”. In the past, a robots.txt file could be used to give crawl instructions to Google and Bing’s bots, however, Google changed its policy on robots.txt in 2019. The important thing about these issues is that they can negatively impact your website’s ranking on SERPs.
How Do You Fix Coverage Issues
Common coverage issues include redirect errors or 404 errors. A redirect error can stem from a variety of issues. Did you recently add an SSL certificate? If you add an SSL certificate, it is important to make sure that all of your http URLs now redirect to their corresponding https counterparts. Did you take down a page? Whenever a page is taken off your website it is important to create a 301 redirect for that URL to either the homepage or another page that would benefit the audience. New subdomains can also cause redirect errors. If you add a subdomain like blog.yourdomain, any existing link to your blog needs to be changed or redirected to your new subdomain. Generally, it helps to look at the pages that are causing the coverage issue. If the page is supposed to be unseen be invisible, you need to make sure you correctly wrote a “no index, no follow” tag in the header for that page. Otherwise, it will be seen as a coverage error.
What Is A Mobile Usability Issue?
Mobile usability issues are exactly what they sound like. If your website is not responsive (doesn’t easily transition as the size changes from a standard desktop to a phone screen) it will cause mobile usability issues. Unlike coverage issues, mobile usability issues may not affect how your page ranks overall. Instead, it will primarily affect how your website ranks on mobile pages. In recent years more searches happen on mobile devices than desktops, so tracking these issues and solving them is becoming increasingly important.
How Do You Fix Mobile Usability Issues
The first and most effective way to deal with mobile usability issues is to make sure that your website is responsive. If your website is built through a CMS like WordPress, you need to make sure the theme you are using is responsive. This means the theme is designed to show the website in multiple view-ports. A common mobile usability issue is that the viewport is not set. What this refers to is that the content on your website is not set to scale based on the screen size. The easiest solution to this problem is to get a responsive theme. Another issue is “clickable items too close together”. Some themes and CMS systems allow you to design two versions of your website; one mobile and one for desktop. If your CMS or WordPress theme lets you do this, it is recommended that you make sure that clickable items are spaced out differently on mobile views. Another similar error is “text too small to read” this is often fixed by upgrading to a responsive theme, but barring that, a web designed can increase font size on mobile views to avoid this issue.
Learn More About Website Improvements
Having a current, well-designed website, has a large effect on how your website will rank on SERPs. To learn more about various improvements you can make for your website follow our blog, otherwise, contact us for a custom-tailored website audit.