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Google Search Console Errors – True or False?

Hello, New Google Search Console Errors.

Google has been actively developing and enhancing features of Google Search Console (GSC), which is something the Geeks are fully supportive of. However, some recent GSC development seems to have resulted in a higher spike of GSC errors.

So the $64 million question is: With all these new Google Search Console errors showing up, how does a dutiful website admin know which ones to fix—and which ones to ignore?

Errors in Google Search Console report
Image credit: Our very own CodeGeek site!

 

The 411 on Google Search Console

If you’re new to the website game, Google Search Console helps website admins monitor, maintain and troubleshoot their site’s presence in Google Search results and understand and improve how Google sees their site. GSC is a free service offered by Google, and the majority of our clients have their sites connected to this service.

Recently, Google has been engaged in a major overhaul of their Google Search Console product. As a result of this overhaul, we’re noticing that Google is releasing more development updates than usual, and more things are being flagged than we’re used to seeing.

It’s possible that some of these errors aren’t errors at all, and there also might be some issues that have been around a while but only more recently is Google reporting on them. The challenge is to figure out what to do with the reports Google is giving us.

Recent Examples of New GSC Error Notifications

If you’ve logged into GSC recently, you most likely have seen some of these notifications:

  • Submitted URL not found (404)
  • Submitted URL marked ‘noindex’
  • Submitted URL seems to be a Soft 404
  • Server error (5xx)
  • Text too small to read
  • Clickable elements too close together
  • Content wider than screen
  • Viewport not set
  • Submitted URL has crawl issue
  • Site not mobile-friendly

And there are many more. If you’re the crawl-error-savvy type and want to learn more about what some of these mean (and how to fix them), Search VIU has a great article you can peruse through.

Pro tip: Use this Google tool instead of Google Search Console to check if your website is mobile-friendly.

The Truth About These Potential GSC “False Positives”

With all these new errors, how do you know which ones to fix first? The good news is that in some of these cases, these “errors” aren’t errors at all—they’re false positives that don’t need to be fixed. When we say “false positive,” we mean that it’s a site admin’s judgement call (based on their website goals and budget) about whether or not this “error” is worth addressing.

For example, GSC may find a page that you never intended to be a part of a site index, so it isn’t a problem for you that it’s not there. The recommended fix may be to set up 301 redirects or just ignore it. You could go down many rabbit holes by asking yourself, “Why is this there? What created this? How did this happen?” But, ultimately, the most important question is, “Does this issue matter?” If the answer is “Yes!” or you’d like some help to determine that, we are more than happy to check things out for you. Otherwise, like you, we’ll ride out the waves with Google Search Console to see how these error reports change over time.

The sheer amount of these errors may seem scary at first (especially if you haven’t seen them before), but it’s possible that their barks may be worse than their bites.

When It Comes to GSC, CodeGeek Has Your Back

So far, Google hasn’t given us any options for dismissing these errors or limiting the ones you see. Until they do, please feel free to keep sending these “errors” our way, and we can chat about the best next steps for us to take to check them out for you.

Google Search Console is a tool for those interested in search engine optimization (SEO). And while we’re pretty knowledgeable about the subject, there are experts out there that really know their stuff. If you would like to chat with one of them, let us know and we’ll recommend them to you.

For all of us, patience is the name of the game. Permanent fixes may be a bit of a moving target for a while, and we’ll continue to keep our peepers peeled for any updates.

Got a question about Google Search Console errors or something else related to your website? Give us a shout!