Mueller: Number Of Web Pages May Decline In Search Console Reports
Google Search Console is crucial for SEO analytics reporting and helps monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot a website’s performance in search results. A site owner who uses the tool for their SEO analytics recently asked Google’s John Mueller about pages that disappear from their Search Console reports.
In response, Mueller explained how a thousand pages could drop from various Search Console reports. He also gave insights on what online businesses and publishers should focus on when evaluating such reports.
The person who asked the question noticed a slow decline in mobile-friendly pages in their Search Console’s mobile usability report. They looked at another type of report – the Core Web Vitals report – and they also observed a decline in their pages. They also saw how other enhancements like review snippets and other factors worsened.
All these changes happened within a month, and there was a decline of about a thousand pages. The person asked Mueller if there is a potential crawling issue as the report did not notify them of any errors; the pages simply keep dropping out of those reports.
Mueller answered the person’s questions by first explaining how the Search Console generates the reports. Then, he explained the reason for the huge decline in the number of pages.
He said that Google looks at a sample of the URLs from a site to gather data. Having fewer URLs in the reports does not necessarily mean that the other links are problematic or bad; Google just chose not to check them.
The same goes for aggregate reports, such as the Core Web Vitals, the Structured Data report, the AMP report, and the mobile-friendliness report. For these reports, Google only looks at a sample, which can change over time.
Therefore, Google may look at 200 links from a website now, and next month or so, they will check about 100 URLs from the same website. It does not mean that the difference is bad; Google just looked at a smaller sample of URLs from the site.
Mueller next gave insights on what to do with such reports. He said that it is best to focus on what the tool is reporting instead of worrying about the number of pages on the reports.
One should shift their focus to the relationship between the good and bad pages in the reports. For instance, if Google Search Console reports that all the pages do not have any issues, then all the URLs from the website are okay. There is nothing to worry about.
However, if there is a proportion of error that rises over time, it is an indicator that there is a problem that the site owner should solve. Mueller also reminded them that there is no need for site owners to pay too much attention to the absolute number of links that Google shows in their Search Console reports.
Mueller just gave an interesting answer that may reassure many site owners and publishers as they conduct their SEO analytics reporting using the Search Console tool. The SEO community should remember that the data some Search Console reports show are just samples and not a complete accounting of every web page. What’s more important is to focus on reported negatives from the tool and fix them.
Google Search Console
Google offers the Search Console tool to troubleshoot websites, monitor SEO analytics, and maintain rankings in search results. It does not require SEOs to sign up for Google to include their web pages in the search results, but the tool can help them understand how the search engine views their websites.
Here are some of the tools and reports that Search Console offers for the following actions:
- Troubleshoot issues for mobile usability, AMP, and other search features.
- Show the sites that link to the website.
- Notifies the SEO if Google encounters spam, indexing issues, and other problems on the site.
- Allows SEOs to view important traffic data. It shows the search queries that users type in to find the website and how often they click through for those queries. It also indicates to SEOs how often the site appears in search results.
- It helps fix indexing issues and allows SEOs to request re-indexing for updated and newly-written content.
- Confirms that Google can find and crawl web pages.
Various Reports In Google Search Console
Here are some helpful reports that online businesses and site owners can use to improve their SEO, especially in their client campaigns.
- Top Queries report – This helps show the specific keywords that drive the most organic traffic to the web pages. It allows SEOs to observe improvements in average keyword positions and monitor the increase in total keyword rankings. It also focuses on improved click-through rates for optimised title tags and meta descriptions.
- Backlinks report – This is the best report for SEOs who want to focus on off-site SEO strategies, such as digital PR and link building. The report shows the backlink progress, allowing SEOs to see their clients internal and external links and top linking websites.
- Core Web Vitals report –This report is best for SEOs who offers technical SEO and web development services. It helps show clients the site progress in terms of its search engine-friendliness by showing daily page experience metrics and whether pages had errors or not.
- Index Coverage report – This report is helpful for SEOs that accommodate enterprise brands or clients with large websites, especially those with over 500 landing pages. The report can show how technical improvements result in maximised crawl budget. It also shows the index-state of all the links in a web property.
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