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Fixing Google Search Console Errors Using RankMath

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    If you’re a website owner or SEO professional, you won’t want to miss out on the benefits that Google Search Console can bring. 

    This powerful tool can provide you with an abundance of information on how your site is faring in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), allowing you to make informed decisions about how to optimize your site for search engines.

    However, sometimes errors can be detected within the tool, which can leave you feeling confused and uncertain about what to do next. But fortunately, there is an easier way to fix these issues: using the Rank Math SEO plugin for WordPress. 

    Rank Math is a powerful SEO plugin that helps optimize your site for search engines like Google and Bing. It’s designed with ease of use in mind so even beginners can quickly get up and running without any prior knowledge of SEO or coding skills required!

    Now let’s fix some indexing errors!

    Alternate Page With Proper Canonical Tag

    Definition: This occurs when your website has two pages with identical canonical URLs. In such cases, Google Search Console will ignore the duplicate version and only index the main one. 

    For instance, when Google crawls and indexes a website, it analyzes the primary content of each page. In this process, it may encounter pages that have similar content. Still, it selects the most suitable version that effectively communicates the intended message to users and designates it as the canonical page. 

    Google Search Console prioritizes the most relevant and informative version of a page for indexing.

    How to fix it?

    1. Start by navigating to the Pages section of Google Search Console and click on the Not indexed tab to find the duplicate pages on your site.

    2. Next, look for the “Alternate page with proper canonical tag” status and click on it.

    3. You’ll then see a list of all the pages on your website labeled with this status.

    4. Check if these pages have the correct canonical URL. If not, you can easily change them using Rank Math.

    Luckily, Rank Math SEO WordPress plugin comes with a handy meta box that makes it easy to update the canonical URL.

    5. By default, Rank Math uses the current page URL as the canonical URL, so you’ll only need to change it if you want to use a different URL. This is called a self-referencing canonical.

    Note: If you can’t find the Advanced tab, simply enable the Advanced Mode from WordPress Dashboard > Rank Math > Dashboard.

    6. In the Advanced tab of the Rank Math meta box, you may change the Canonical URL field to specify the primary source of your content. This helps search crawlers identify the main page when you have pages or posts with similar content.

    7. Once you’re done setting your Canonical URL, simply update the page as usual or click Publish if it’s a new page.

    Page With Redirect

    Definition: If you’re seeing a “Page with redirect” message in your Coverage report on Google Search Console, it means that Google found a page on your website that has a redirected URL and decided not to index it. This is done to prevent duplicate results or due to detected errors.

    Generally, there are two main reasons why this happens:

    1. You may have changed the URL of the page (for example, if you’ve updated the permalink structure of your website) and need to redirect visitors to the new URL.

    2. The content on the page may be outdated or irrelevant, so you want to redirect visitors to a more relevant resource.

    Either way, it’s important to address the “Page with redirect” message to ensure that your website is optimized for search engines and provides visitors with the best possible user experience.

    How to fix it?

    Not all pages with a “Page with redirect” message in your Coverage report need to be fixed. If the page is redirecting users to the correct page and isn’t causing any problems, then there’s no need to worry.

    However, if users are reporting problems or you notice incorrect pages being redirected, then you’ll need to investigate and fix the issue.

    When you have multiple redirects on your site, it can be difficult to figure out which rule is causing the problem, especially with complex regex. To help with this, google console has added a debug feature to the Redirections Manager.

    To access this feature, go to Rank Math > General Settings > Redirections.

    If you can’t find it, make sure that you’ve enabled the Redirections module in
    WordPress Dashboard > Rank Math > Dashboard > Modules.

    Please keep in mind that this feature is only accessible to administrators. If you don’t have the necessary permissions, you’ll need to reach out to someone who can make these changes for you.

    Once you’ve enabled the debug option, open any page marked with the “Page with Redirect” status.

    Look for the “Manage This Redirection” link in the interstitial. Clicking it will take you to the exact redirect rule causing the problem, making it easier to diagnose and fix unwanted redirects.

    Excluded by ‘Noindex’ Tag

    Definition: If your page has been marked as “excluded by noindex tag” in Google Search Console, it indicates that a noindex tag has been detected on your page. This may happen for various reasons, such as mistakenly adding a noindex tag to the page, unintentionally selecting the “discourage search engines” option in WordPress settings, or if your site has been hacked and a hacker has inserted a noindex tag to your page.

    How to fix it?

    To address the “Excluded by ‘noindex’ tag” status message, follow these steps:

    1. Go to the Pages section in Google Search Console and click on “Not indexed”.

    2. Select the “Excluded by ‘noindex’ tag” status to view a list of affected pages and then Identify which pages you want to index and remove the NoIndex tag from them.

    3. Alternatively, you can check the Index Status of your pages by going to Rank Math > Analytics > Index Status.

    4. To remove the NoIndex tag from a page, open it in the WordPress Editor and click the Rank Math SEO icon in the top-right corner (for Gutenberg Editor).

    5. If the Rank Math Metabox is not available, enable “Add SEO Controls” from Rank Math > Titles & Meta Settings > Pages.

    6. Choose the Advanced tab in the Rank Math Metabox that appears on the screen. If you can’t find the Advanced tab, enable advanced mode from Rank Math > Dashboard.

    7. Verify that “No Index” is selected for the Robots Meta. If so, select the Index checkbox and save the changes to the page/post.

    To change the NoIndex value for multiple posts at once, you can use bulk actions. Instead of having to edit each post separately, this enables you to save time by making changes to many posts at once. Follow these steps to use bulk actions:

    1. Visit the WordPress Posts menu.

    2. From the Rank Math filter located in the top-right corner of the screen, select “Articles Noindexed” and click on the Filter button.

    3. This will display all the posts set with a NoIndex value. To change the NoIndex value for all of these posts, select the checkbox next to the title of each post.

    4. After selecting the posts you want to update, click on the “Edit” button and select “Change Robots Meta” from the drop-down menu.

    5. Next, choose “Index” from the drop-down menu and click “Update” to apply the changes to all selected posts.

    6. Finally, you can check the updated value of the posts by using the Metabox feature as before.

    Not Found (404)

    Definition: The 404 error code indicates that the server could not locate the requested webpage. This error can be displayed in various forms, including “404 Error,” “404 Page Not Found,” and “The requested URL was not found.” There are several reasons why error 404 not found may occur, such as Deleted or moved page, incorrectly typed URL, DNS settings problem, caching issues, or missing asset.

    How to fix it?

    1- Redirection is a method that enables you to redirect one URL to another. It functions as a way of telling the browser that the URL being accessed is not available and to go to another URL instead.

    2- Disregarding the Error: We are not recommending that you ignore all 404 errors, but only those that are appropriate to ignore. With time and experience, you will develop an understanding of which errors are genuine and which are not. Misspellings, typos, and links to pages that no longer exist on your website are common indicators of real errors that should be addressed.

    Duplicate Without User-Selected Canonical

    Definition: When you notice the status “Duplicate without user-selected canonical” in both your Google Search Console account and the Index Status report of Rank Math’s Analytics, this indicates that Google has detected two or more pages on your website that contain similar or identical content but hasn’t identified the original page. As a result, Google has chosen a canonical version by itself.

    How to fix it?

    You can fix this by going to the Pages section in Google Search Console and clicking on the Not indexed tab, then clicking on the ‘Duplicate without user-selected canonical’ status. This will show you a list of all the affected pages.

    Once you have the list of affected pages, there are two methods to fix the issue:

    1. The first method is to use 301 Redirects, which can be easily created using the Rank Math Redirections feature in the WordPress admin dashboard. Simply enter the URL you want to redirect and the new location as the destination URL, and click on the Add Redirection button.

    2. The second method is to use Canonical URLs, which are HTML elements that identify the original version of a page to avoid duplicate content issues. 

    Rank Math makes it easy to change the Canonical URL using the meta box in the Advanced tab. By default, Rank Math uses the current post/page URL as the Canonical URL, but you can change it to the main source of your content to inform search crawlers of the main page if you have pages or posts with similar content.

    Blocked Due to Access Forbidden (403)

    Definition: There are various reasons for seeing a 403 status code which may include the content being designated as private, restricted access for authenticated users, geographically restricted access, and prohibited IP address due to spam or unwanted posts. Some sites may only allow access to users in specific locations by tracking their IP addresses. In some cases, a 403 status code can be triggered by too many failed login attempts.

    How to fix it?

    If you’re facing the frustrating “Blocked Due to Access Forbidden (403) Error” in your Google Search Console, I have good news for you! A solution is just a click away. Head over to the link provided by Rank Math to see the detailed steps on how to fix this error and get your website back on track.

    Blocked Due to Other 4XX Issue

    Definition: Another occurrence of a 4xx error has been encountered. 4xx errors are errors that are caused by something on the website itself and are categorized as client-side errors. 

    Some common examples of 4xx errors are 404 errors, which happen when a page cannot be found, usually due to deletion or incorrect URL entry. 

    400 errors, which indicate that the server cannot process the request, possibly due to website maintenance or code errors.

    403 errors, which occur when access to the website is restricted, such as when a password is required or when the website is behind a paywall.

    How to fix it?

    In the event of a 404 error, you have the option to create a redirect that directs visitors to a different page on your website. 

    It’s worth noting that all 404 errors that occur can be viewed through Rank Math’s 404 Monitor, which is a beneficial feature. 

    To begin addressing 404 errors on your website, make sure you’ve activated the 404 Monitor Module by going to WordPress Dashboard > Rank Math > Dashboard > Modules. 

    After that, navigate to the Rank Math tab and choose the 404 Monitor tab. Depending on your website, you may see some errors or a blank page. Despite the type of 404 Monitor you’re using, you’ll be able to address the 404 errors that are present on your website.

    Crawled – currently not indexed

    Definition: When you receive the message “Crawled – Currently Not Indexed” after submitting a URL to Google Search Console, it indicates that Google has crawled the page but has decided not to index it. Consequently, the URL will not show up in search results at the moment. 

    This message does not imply that there are any issues with your page. It is not required to resubmit the URL for crawling and indexing. Google may or may not index the page in the future, depending on their decision.

    How to Improve the Overall Site Quality?

    To put it simply, for a page to be indexed by Google, it must pass quality checks that the search engine uses to determine the relevance and value of a page. While Google hasn’t revealed the exact criteria they use for indexing, you can evaluate your website against well-known quality factors. These include:

    Internal Linking Structure: It’s important to have internal links from relevant pages on your website pointing to the page you want to index.

    Duplicate Content: Make sure that the pages you want to index are not duplicated on your website. If there are duplicate pages, add a canonical tag that points to the original content you want to index.

    Content Audit: Perform a content audit to identify outdated pages that may lack value. For such pages, you can improve the content or consider removing the page altogether, redirecting to a more relevant page, or adding a noindex meta tag if it’s not appropriate to add more content to the page.

    You can enhance the quality of your website by systematically removing pages of low quality from the index. However, improving the overall quality of your website is not an instant process. It takes time for Google to recognize and reassess the signals that indicate a change in your website’s quality.

    How to Fix “Crawled- Currently Not Indexed” Error in Google Search Console?

    After your pages have passed the quality checks, it may take search engines a few days to index them. However, you can immediately request search engines to index your pages using Rank Math’s Instant Indexing feature. 

    To utilize this feature, you need to enable the Instant Indexing module by going to Rank Math > Dashboard > Modules in your WordPress dashboard.

    Once enabled, you can select the “Instant Indexing: Submit Page” option by hovering over the post that you wish to index on the Posts page. You can check the index status of your page in your WordPress dashboard by going to Rank Math > Analytics > Index Status.

    Discovered – Currently Not Indexed

    Definition: If you see the status “Discovered – currently not indexed”, it means that Google is aware of the URLs, but has not crawled and indexed them yet. This is not necessarily a negative thing, as it may take some time for Google to process your website and add it to the search index.

    If only a few pages of your website are affected, there is likely no reason to be concerned as Google will probably index them soon. However, if a large number of pages are affected, it may indicate a problem with your website that needs to be addressed.

    According to John Mueller from Google, “Discovered – currently not indexed” status occurs when Google finds the page but hasn’t crawled it yet. This is usually because the site was overloaded and Google had to reschedule the crawl, which is why the last crawl date is missing from the report.

    How to Fix Discovered-Currently Not Indexed Status?

    1. Make sure that the rules in your robots.txt file allow search engines to index your website.

    2. Poor internal linking can negatively affect your website’s indexability, as it hinders Google’s understanding of the relationship between your web pages. It is important to have a good internal link structure, which enables efficient crawling by search engines.

    3. Duplicate content can be detrimental to your website’s search engine rankings because it makes it difficult for search engines to determine which version of the content is original. 

    To address this issue, you should check for content duplication on the pages you want to index. If you find any, use a canonical URL to point to the original content that you want to index.

    Blocked by Robots.txt

    Definition: The robots.txt file is a text file that instructs search engine crawlers on which pages of your website they are allowed to crawl and which ones they are not allowed to crawl. 

    If the “Submitted URL blocked by robots.txt” error message appears, it indicates that the robots.txt file is blocking Googlebot from crawling the page you submitted to Google.

    In other words, Google is attempting to access the page, but the robots.txt file is stopping it from doing so. This could happen for various reasons, but the most common explanation is that the robots.txt file is not set up properly. 

    For example, you may have mistakenly forbidden Googlebot from accessing the page, or there may be a disallow directive in your robots.txt file that is blocking Googlebot from crawling the page.

    How to fix it?

    To resolve the issue of the “Submitted URL blocked by robots.txt” error, you need to ensure that the robots.txt file on your website is set up correctly. 

    To do this, you can use Google’s robots.txt testing tool to check for any directives that might be blocking Googlebot’s access to your website. If you find any, you will need to remove or replace them with more permissive ones.

    To edit your robots.txt file in Rank Math, go to WordPress Dashboard > Rank Math > General Settings > Edit robots.txt. 

    Then, in the code editor in the middle of the screen, paste the code you copied from the robots.txt tester and click the Save Changes button to make the necessary changes. 

    Once you’ve made these changes, Google should be able to access your website and the error should be resolved.

    Soft 404

    Definition: That indicates that Google has inspected your website and discovered the page doesn’t exist if the error provided URL seems to be a soft 404 in your Google Search Console. There are several potential causes for this, but the most frequent one is that the page has been relocated or destroyed.

    Soft 404 errors occur when a page returns a 200 OK HTTP status code (indicating that the page was located), but the information on the page is either blank or dissatisfies the user’s expectations.

    A 404 Not Found error signifies that the page you were looking for doesn’t exist, meanwhile a soft 404 error means that the page is still showing up.

    How To Fix it?

    1. Go to the Index Status tab in Rank Math analytics by selecting Rank Math > Analytics > Index Status. You’ll find your pages’ actual data and status under this tab, along with information on their Google presence.

    2. You can use the drop-down option to filter posts based on their index state. You can view all posts that have the same index status when you choose a particular status, like soft 404.

    3. Make sure your web server is set up to deliver a 404 error for missing pages by first checking the server’s configuration. Incorrect configuration of your server may result in it delivering a 200 status code rather than a 404, causing Google to index the page even though it doesn’t exist.

    4. Setting up a 301 redirect is crucial when changing a page’s URL on your website so that everyone visiting the old URL is automatically sent to the new one. If your former URL is well-known and receives a lot of traffic, this is extremely crucial since without it, all of that traffic will be lost.

    5. Simply navigate to Rank Math > Redirections in your WordPress admin dashboard to create a manual redirection using Rank Math. Following that, you can establish a 301 redirect by simply entering the URL you want to redirect as your Source URL and the location of the new resource.

    6. You might occasionally want to include pages without any content in your sitemap. Nonetheless, Google will regard these sites as soft 404s if they are empty.

    So, you’d better label them as noindex using WordPress Dashboard > Rank Math > Titles & Meta > Global Meta > Noindex Empty Category and Tag Archives and save your changes.

    Server Error 5XX

    Definition: A 5xx error is an error code that starts with the number 5, such as 500 or 503. These errors are related to issues with the server and indicate that the server encountered a problem and is unable to fulfill the client’s request. 5xx errors can occur when a user attempts to browse a website that is experiencing server issues.

    How To Fix it?

    At times, 5xx errors can be caused by website cookies, and deleting these and refreshing the browser may fix the issue. To achieve this, access your web browser’s history and choose the option to delete. Some devices may require you to select the checkbox next to Cookies before deleting them.

    If the problem persists, it is recommended to reach out to your hosting provider or create a support ticket, and they will resolve the issue on their end.

    Mobile Usability Issues Error

    Definition: Typically, Google Search Console identifies one or more of the following problems: clickable elements that are too close together, text that is too small to read, and content that is wider than the screen.

    How To Fix Mobile Usability Issues Error?

    To address these issues, we can select the “Validate Fix” option to resolve them on the following day. For a more permanent solution, we can add a code snippet to the <head> of the page. 

    This snippet ensures that the elements in the: where() selector list is styled, even if Googlebot ignores your page resources.

    The code includes max-width: 100%, which ensures that elements aren’t wider than the viewport, overflow: auto to prevent content from pushing an element over its width limit, and word-break: break-word to wrap long words to the next line when they extend beyond the viewport width.

    Using the: where() selector ensures that the styles are applied with 0 specificity, meaning that we can still overwrite them in our stylesheet without needing to make our selectors extra specific. 

    After copying the snippet to your page, we should ask Google Search Console one last time to “Validate the Fix.” The issues should disappear over the next few days and will only reappear if there’s a genuine mistake in our stylesheet.

    Submitted URL Marked “Noindex”

    Definition: If you’ve submitted a page for indexing in Google and received an error message stating “Submitted URL Marked ‘noindex’,” it indicates that Google has identified that the page should not be indexed and displayed in search results. This error message might appear in the Coverage section of your Google Search Console or when you inspect a URL.

    The message suggests that Google attempted to index the page, but it was unable to do so because there is something on the page that tells Google not to index it. This could be a simple noindex meta tag.

    If you don’t want the page to appear in search results, then this is not an issue. However, if the page should be indexed, you’ll need to investigate the error and correct it.

    If the noindex setting was added to the page incorrectly, you can change Rank Math’s settings to add the index robots meta tag.

    How to Fix It?

    If you’re using the Gutenberg Editor, click the Rank Math SEO icon in the top-right corner of the page to open the Rank Math Metabox. If the Rank Math Metabox isn’t available, ensure that you’ve enabled Add SEO Controls from Rank Math > Titles & Meta Settings > Posts.

    Once you’ve opened the Rank Math Metabox, choose the Advanced Tab. If the Advanced Tab isn’t available, switch to Advanced Mode in Rank Math. If the Robots Meta is set with No Index, simply select the Index checkbox.

    However, you should also check if the noindex meta tag is set as a default value in your Titles & Meta settings. To do this, navigate to WordPress Dashboard > Rank Math > Titles & Meta, and check each tab to ensure that the settings are as per your preference.

    If the posts and taxonomies that are set as “noindex” are as per your preference, you can ignore them. Otherwise, if you consider these pages to be valuable to your visitors and need to be indexed, you can change the respective “noindex” Robots Meta tag to “index.”

    Couldn’t Fetch Error

    Definition: If the Status field of your sitemap shows a “Couldn’t Fetch” error, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your site wasn’t crawled. It could indicate that you submitted your sitemap URL incorrectly. Check that the sitemap field on the left displays the correct path “/sitemap.xml” rather than the page URL (e.g. “/homepage”). If it was submitted incorrectly, you can resubmit it.

    How to Fix It?

    To fix the issue, check that your posts, pages, custom post types, and terms are indexable. If any content has been set to no-index, it won’t be included in the sitemap. You can verify the indexability of your content from the Titles & Meta tab in Rank Math.

    If your sitemap is outdated, flush the sitemap cache by increasing the Links Per Sitemap field in Rank Math’s Sitemap Settings, and save your changes.

     Finally, update your site’s permalinks by going to Settings > Permalinks and saving the changes to ensure that the current settings have been properly applied.

    Unauthorized Request “401”

    Definition: when you encounter a 401 (Unauthorized) status code, it means that the request could not be completed because the necessary authentication credentials are missing for the target resource. 

    The server that generates the 401 response is required to send a WWW-Authenticate header field with at least one challenge applicable to the resource in question.

    How to Fix Unauthorized Request “401”?

    To fix this issue, you can start by checking if you used the correct URL and if the link you used is not outdated. Another possible cause for the 401 error is outdated or incorrect cache data or cookies, so clearing your browser’s cache might solve the problem.

    In conclusion

    Fixing page indexing errors in Google Search Console doesn’t have to be complicated anymore thanks to tools like RankMath, which allow users (even novice ones) to take control over their own sites’ rankings while avoiding costly mistakes made through manual editing of code files, etc. So go ahead, give it a try today, and see how much time (and money!) you save yourself down the road!

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