Hey guys! Welcome to the next blog in our Google Search Console Series!
We learnt about the Performance Report in our previous article, and we hope you guys had fun learning, and applying your own filters in your Performance Report.
Let us look at yet another tool offered by the console in this one. Let us learn about the URL Inspection Tool.
The URL Inspection Tool is a diagnostic tool that helps you see how Google sees your website, and serves it to your audience over particular browsers.
If you are confused about why your pages are not shown in the way that you want them shown to your viewer, the URL Inspection tool will help you understand why.
What can you do using URL Inspection Tool?
- You can view the current index status of your URL.
- You can test a live URL with this.
- You can request a fresh crawl after adding new pages or updating the existing ones.
- It helps you see how Google views your pages by rendering them over specific browsers.
- You can even troubleshoot your pages with the URL Inspection tool.
You can access the URL inspection tool by clicking on “URL inspection” in the navigation menu on the left side of the page, or you may directly enter the URL you want to inspect in the top bar.
It can also be accessed by clicking on the magnifying glass icon below any of the URLs given in the table.
Enter the full URL that belongs to the current property in the Search bar and press Enter.
The Console will give you your results in three sections:
The first section will show you the status of whether the URL you entered can or cannot appear in the Search Results. In case shown above, the status section shows “URL is on Google”. This means that the URL has no issues that the Google bots encountered.
In the Coverage section, you will see details about the last crawl, the page’s discovery, and if the page has any duplicates, and which one of them is selected as the canonical page.
A canonical page or URL is the URL of the best representative page from a group of duplicate pages, according to Google. For example, if you have two URLs for the same page (such as example.com? dress=1234 and example.com/dresses/1234 ), Google chooses one as canonical.
The Enhancements section will show you if the URL inspection report page shows you any AMP, and mobile usability issues along with your structured data details.
Do note that this report is not based on a live test, and instead will acquire data from the indexed version of the page that Google has, based on the last crawl.
So, in case you just made changes, and fixed issues with your page, you need to live test the URL by clicking on the “TEST LIVE URL” on the right.
And it is highly recommended that you request indexing/re-indexing as soon as you are done with the fixes on your page, because Google uses its indexed data to evaluate your presence, and position on the SERP.
The URL Inspection tool offers you a really simple, one click way to request indexing. Simply click on “REQUEST INDEXING” located on the right side in the first section of the URL inspection results.
The “VIEW CRAWLED PAGE” button leads you to a box on the right side for you to view the rendered HTML, the Screenshot (only for Live Tested Pages), and the “MORE INFORMATION” option that shows you the Page type, the HTTP response, and the Page resources.
Reports returned by URL Inspection Tool
In case you get a “URL is on Google, but has issues” status in your report, this means that your page has been indexed successfully, but there may be some issues with it, and although it is on Google, it may or may not be considered while ranking.
Go through the issues that Google has found with your page, and fix those. Use the “TEST LIVE URL” tool to test the URL live after you get the issues fixed.
In case you see the “URL is not on Google: Indexing Errors” status, there might be a robots.txt or a no index directive preventing your page from being indexed. Check the issue, and request indexing after a live test.
In case you are given “URL is not available to Google” status, there is likely a 4xx error or a 5xx error. In case of a 4xx error, the fault lies in the development arena, whereas a 5xx error means there is an issue with the server.
There is also a small chance that the error is a transient glitch, and will be resolved when the Google bots re-crawl the page.
The “URL is an alternate version” status in the report would mean that the URL you entered might be an AMP/alternate Mobile/alternate Desktop version of the URL.
This is not a problem. Your page will function fine if it follows all the guidelines.
The first section in the Coverage area gives the coverage status of the URL. E.g., “Submitted, and Indexed”, or “Submitted, not indexed in sitemap”, etc.
If you click on the Coverage section to expand, it gives you further details about how Google discovered the URL under “Discovery”, the last crawl, and whether it was completed.
And, the expanded Coverage section also shares details on, if Google was able to fetch the page to be indexed under “Crawl”, and the canonical URL along with the indexing process under “Indexing”.
Enhancements will only be generated for indexed URLs, so if your URL has not been indexed, this area will be empty with the note “Only indexed URLs can have enhancements”.
The first subsection under Enhancements gives you an insight about whether or not your page is mobile friendly, and the things you can do to make it mobile friendly in case it isn’t.
You will either see “Page is mobile friendly” status if everything is okay, “Page is not mobile friendly” status along with the highlighted issues, or “No data available” status in case it was not able to fetch the page or test it.
The rest of the Enhancement Sections will be about the schemas your page contains. You will see enhancements like Bread crumbs, Logos, Event, Product, FAQ Page, Review Snippets, etc., along with more information for changes you could make.
Enhancements are only shown for certain types of structured data, mostly the ones that are shown use the rich results, test here: https://search.google.com/test/rich-results. Otherwise, Google may not recognize your schema, and may return a “URL has no enhancements” note in that case.
Okay, now let us see how to view the rendered page the way Google sees it:
The Search Console also helps you view if everything on the page will be organized as per your design by showing you a screenshot of the rendered page.
You can view the screenshot by clicking “View Tested Page” on the result box after the live test, and then click on “Screenshot”.
Note that you can only view the screenshot for a live tested page, and not an indexed one.
That concludes the URL Inspection tool. It will definitely prove to be a boon for your webpages in the SERP.
Let us look at some more features of the Google Search Console, and how you can use them in the next part of this series.