Yikes! Could be a number of things. So we’ll need to investigate.
In this case, it looks like the pages listed are returning a 404.
“Crawled – currently not indexed”
These are pages that Google has crawled, but (for some reason) are not indexed.
Google doesn’t give you the exact reason they won’t index the page.
But from my experience, this error means: the page isn’t good enough to warrant a spot in the search results.
So, what should you do to fix this?
My advice: work on improving the quality of any pages listed.
For example, if it’s a category page, add some content that describes that category. If the page has lots of duplicate content, make it unique. If the page doesn’t have much content on it, beef it up.
Basically, make the page worthy of Google’s index.
“Submitted URL not selected as Canonical”
This is Google telling you:
“This page has the same content as a bunch of other pages. But we think another URL is better”
So they’ve excluded this page from the index.
My advice: if you have duplicate content on a number of pages, add the noindex meta robots tag to all duplicate pages except the one you want indexed.
“Blocked by robots.txt”
These are pages that robots.txt is blocking Google from crawling.
It’s worth double checking these errors to make sure what you’re blocking is meant to be blocked.
If it’s all good? Then robots.txt is doing its job and there’s nothing to worry about.
“Duplicate page without canonical tag”
The page is part of set of duplicate pages, and doesn’t include a canonical URL.
In this case it’s pretty easy to see what’s up.
We’ve got a number of PDF documents. And these PDFs contain content from other pages on the site.
Honestly, this isn’t a big deal. But to be on the safe side, you should ask your web developer to block these PDFs using robots.txt. That way, Google ONLY indexes the original content.
“Discovered – currently not indexed”
Google has crawled these pages, but hasn’t included them in the index yet.
“Excluded by ‘noindex’ tag”
All good. The noindex tag is doing its job.
So that’s the Index Coverage report. I’m sure you’ll agree: it’s a VERY impressive tool.
Chapter 3:Get More Organic Traffic with the Performance Report
In this chapter we’re going to deep dive into my favorite part of the GSC: “The Performance Report”.
Why is it my favorite?
Because I’ve used this report to increase organic traffic to Backlinko again and again.
I’ve also seen lots of other people use the Performance Report to get similar results.
So without further ado, let’s get started…
What Is The Performance Report?
The “Performance” report in Google Search Console shows you your site’s overall search performance in Google. This report not only shows you how many clicks you get, but also lets you know your CTR and average ranking position.
And this new Performance Report replaces the “Search Analytics” report in the old Search Console (and the old Google Webmaster Tools).
Yes, a lot of the data is the same as the old “Search Analytics” report. But you can now do cool stuff with the data you get (like filter to only show AMP results).
But my favorite addition to the new version is this:
In the old Search Analytics report you could only see search data from the last 90 days.
We get 16 MONTHS of data:
For an SEO junkie like me, 16 months of data is like opening presents on Christmas morning.
(In fact, I used to pay for a tool to automatically pull and save my old Google Webmaster Tools data. Now, thanks to the beta version of the new GSC, it’s a free service)
How To Supercharge Your CTR With The Performance Report
You want to filter out everything that’s beating that expected CTR of 4.35%. That way you can focus on pages that are underperforming.
So click the filter button again and check the “CTR” box.
(Make sure you leave the “Position” box ticked)
Then, set the CTR filter to “Smaller than” 4.35.
So what have we got?
A list of keywords that are ranking 5 or lower AND have a CTR less than 4.35%.
In other words:
Keywords you could get more traffic from.
We just need to bump up their CTR.
Let’s see if we can find a keyword with a lower-than-expected CTR.
When I scroll down the list… this keyword sticks out like a sore thumb.
1,504 impressions and only 43 clicks… ouch! I know that I can do better than 2.9%.
Now that we’ve found a keyword with a bad CTR, it’s time to turn things around.
Find the page
Next, you want to see which page from your site ranks for the keyword you just found.
To do that, just click on the query with the bad CTR. Then, click “Pages”:
Take a look at ALL the keywords this page ranks for
There’s no point improving our CTR for one keyword… only to mess it up for 10 other keywords.
So here’s something really cool:
The Performance report can show you ALL keywords that your page ranks for.
And it’s SUPER easy to do.
Just click on “+ New” in the top bar and hit “page…”.
Then enter the URL you want to view queries for.
Bingo! You get a list of keywords that page ranks for:
You can see that the page has shown up over 42,000 times in Google…but only got around 1,500 clicks.
So this page’s CTR is pretty bad across the board.
(Not just for this particular keyword)
Optimize your title and description to get more clicks
I have a few go-to tactics that I use to bump up my CTR.
But my all time favorite is: Power Words.
What are power words?
Power words show that someone can get quick and easy results from your content.
And they’ve been proven again and again to attract clicks in the SERPs.
Here are a few of my favorite Power Words that you can include in your title and description:
So I added a few of these Power Words to the page’s title and description tag:
Monitor the results
Finally, wait at least 10 days. Then log back in.
Why 10 days?
It can take a few days for Google to reindex your page.
Then, the new page has to be live for about a week for you to get meaningful data.
With that, I have great news:
With the new Search Console, comparing CTR over two date ranges is a piece of cake.
Just click on the date filter:
Select the date range. I’m going to compare the 2 week period before the title change, to the 2 weeks after:
Finally, filter the data to show search queries that include the keyword you found in step #1 (in this case: “best helmet brands”).
We’ve increased our CTR by 63.2%. And just as important: we’re now beating the average CTR for position 5.
Pro tip: You’ll find that different title formats work better in different niches. So you might have to experiment to find the perfect format for YOUR industry. The good news: Search Console gives you the data you need to do just that.
How To Find “Opportunity Keywords” With GSC’s Performance Report
If the last example didn’t convince you of just how awesome the new Performance Report is, then I guarantee this one will.
What Is An Opportunity Keyword?
An opportunity keyword is a phrase that ranks between positions 8-20 AND gets a decent number of impressions.
Why is this such a big opportunity?
Google already considers your page to be a decent fit for the keyword (otherwise you wouldn’t be anywhere close to page 1). When you give your page some TLC, you can usually bump it up to the first page.
You’re not relying on iffy keyword volume data from third party SEO tools. The impression data you get from the GSC tells you EXACTLY how much traffic to expect.
Mining For Gold With Google Search Console’s Performance Report
Finding these gold nugget keywords in the Performance report is a simple, 3-step process.
1. Set the date range to the last 28 days:
2. Filter the report to show keywords ranking “Greater than” 7.9
3. Finally, sort by “Impressions”. And you get a huge list of “Opportunity Keywords”:
“Making a site faster improves the users’ experience while also increasing crawl rate. For Googlebot a speedy site is a sign of healthy servers, so it can get more content over the same number of connections. On the flip side, a significant number of 5xx errors or connection timeouts signal the opposite, and crawling slows down.”
Bottom line? Make sure your site loads SUPER fast. You already know that this can help your rankings.
As it turns out, a fast-loading site squeezes more out of your crawl budget too.
Get more backlinks to your site
As if backlinks couldn’t be any more awesome, it turns out that they also help with your crawl budget.
“The best way to think about it is that the number of pages that we crawl is roughly proportional to your PageRank. So if you have a lot of incoming links on your root page, we’ll definitely crawl that. Then your root page may link to other pages, and those will get PageRank and we’ll crawl those as well. As you get deeper and deeper in your site, however, PageRank tends to decline.”
More backlinks = bigger crawl budget.
Get The Most Out of “URL Inspection”
I already covered the URL Inspection tool in Chapter 3.
But that was one part of a big process. So let’s take a look at URL Inspection as a standalone tool.
Specifically, I’m going to show you 3 cool things you can do with the Fetch As Google tool.
Get new content indexed (in minutes)
URL Inspection is the FASTEST way to get new pages indexed.
Just published a new page?
Just pop the URL into the box and press Enter.
Then hit “Request Indexing”…
…and Google will normally index your page within a few minutes.
Use “URL Inspection” to reindex updated content
If you’re a regular Backlinko reader, you know that I LOVE updating old content.
I do it to keep my content fresh. But I also do it because it increases organic traffic (FAST).
For example, in this case study, I reveal how relaunching an old post got me 260.7% more organic traffic in just 14 days.
And you better believe I always use the “Fetch As Google” tool to get my new content indexed ASAP.
Otherwise, I have to wait around for Google to recrawl the page on its own.
As Sweet Brown famously said: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”.
Identify Problems With Rendering
So what else can the “URL Inspection” tool do?
“Test Live URL” shows you how Google and users see your page.
You just need to hit the “View Tested Page” button.
Then hit “Screenshot”. And you’ll see exactly how Google sees your page.
Make Sure Your Site Is Optimized For Mobile (Unless You Like Losing Traffic)
As you might have heard, more people are searching with their mobile devices than with desktops.