Managing sitemap XML with Google Search Console

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With this next installment of our series on Google Search Console, we’re going to cover how Google reports your site’s indexing. Simply put, indexing describes which pages Google stores from your site — it’s the database from which the search engine draws when it’s assembling search results pages (SERPs). (If you missed it, the first installment of this series is on getting started with Google Search Console.)

The count of these stored pages, labeled “Valid” in the screenshot below, indicates how many of your pages Google has ready for search appearance. Google keeps information about more of your site’s pages than those marked Valid, and not all pages have equal value. A lively homepage is vastly different than a static privacy policy, for example.

This helps you know where your site stands, with regard to indexing, and you can also take advantage of factors that influence the indexing of your site, primarily Google’s Sitemap XML protocol. Search Console allows you to manage this indexing tool for your site.

Index Coverage

The most important information to look at on this report is Index Coverage report errors, highlighted in red. Ideally, you want to see zero errors, but when crawl errors do occur Google cannot index your pages. These errors populate the bar graph and are listed in the data table below with details for troubleshooting.

The information panels at the top of the bar graph act as toggles just like the Performance Report graph and Index Coverage has similar message indicators with pop-up information panels as well.

GSC Index Coverage

Message opens an information panel.

You might find the Index Coverage bar chart is easier to analyze information, even with all toggles switched on, as compared to the Performance Report chart. Toggle the Impressions checkbox to show a line graph with Impressions volume on a secondary axis.

Keep in mind when navigating away and back again, the state of your toggles reverts back to the…

 

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