How To Check Google Search Console For Potential SEO Issues

Hey it’s Bjorn from W learning lab in this video I’m going to show you what to look for inside of your google webmaster tools to identify if there are any problems on your website that could be affecting your SEO so in webmaster tools after you log in you click on your domain name and you come to this dashboard and this is at a glance a lot of important information about your website the very first place you want to look is right here inside new and important and here it shows for mine anyway no new messages or recent critical issues that’s good new messages are fine sometimes the messages are very benign but sometimes like it says here the messages are regarding critical issues which if you have those we need to address those immediately because those will be hampering your SEO efforts very next place to look crawl errors if you have a crawl error it means that Google is having problems crawling your content which means it’s going to have problems putting that content in the search results which is gonna be bad for SEO so and a quick glance here we have three green checkmarks you want to make sure the DNS is checked server connectivity is checked robots.txt fetch is checked and that they’re all green you don’t want to see red x’s here below that we see we do have some URL errors we have one soft 404 and four not found and these are on WP Learning Lab comm and we’re gonna fix these right now you may have nothing here but just watching you fix these it’s gonna be a good education because you will have 404 is one day I guarantee it and you want to make sure they’re cleaned up because if Google finds it there’s a lot of 404 errors on your website for or for meaning that the page can’t be found it’s not going to want to put that website in the search results because it knows that its users may also find those page not found errors and that’s bad for user experience so whenever you find these 404 so you want to make sure that they’re fixed and also on a side note the plugin you can install on your website to be a little more proactive about this it’s called broken link checker it’s a great plugin it’ll check for broken links and it also checks for 404 errors on your site which is good because you want to clean those up and it helps you clean them up right inside your WordPress dashboard so to clean them up via the webmaster tools we click on this crawl errors tab at the top then we get more detailed information I’m gonna scroll down a little bit so we have a soft 404 for category /on categorized so on on the website the uncatted Erised category doesn’t exist the page doesn’t exist for it Google is not happy about it if we go to the not found once which is the same thing it’s also 404 we can see that we’ve had more over time we used to have 31 back in the few months ago and as these 404s were coming in well there’s a whole bunch that came in and I fixed them all and then over time Google went in and realized that they’re fixed and gradually there’s a decline too now where we only have four and these URLs if you have them on your site obviously you’re gonna look different but the process to fix them is the same you want to click on the URL itself and you should get a pop-up window you want to copy this URL from here go back to either your WordPress site where you have where you should install a 301 redirect plugin the one I’m using is called quick page post redirects which I have a tutorial showing you how to use it I’ll link to it below this video you can also do this via htaccess if you don’t want to use a plug-in for your 301 redirects I also have a tutorial below this video but when you have the link for the broken page we paste it into the request URL box and we paste the destination URL into the the destination URL box so in this case this was a writer that used to write for us but doesn’t anymore and I’m just gonna redirect all of the the links that go to his author profile back to our home page and so there’s a couple of them I’m just gonna redirect these copy them I was gonna do these two because I want to take take the whole day doing this so when we have those two in there I’m going to click on add new redirects and now this will inside the WordPress htaccess file is actually where this plugin will input this information and when people try to access this page it’s gonna go to the home page so inside of google now that we have those fixed you can either fix them one at a time and then click the blue button that says mark has fixed at the bottom or you can check the boxes beside the urls and then mark multiple at a time as fixed so I’m going to mark those ones is fixed because they are now redirecting to the home page and those will eventually when Google gets around to crawling them they will disappear from this list if Google finds are still the problem they’re gonna reappear on this list so that’s how we fix the 404 errors you want to make sure you fix them whenever you see them so let’s go back to our dashboard the next thing I want to look at is the sitemaps which is on the right-hand side over here now I have generated XML files for my sitemaps using a plugin in WordPress and integrated those with google webmaster tools which gives me a lot of diagnostic information about the website I highly recommend that you do the same I have another tutorial I’ll link through in the description of this video that will walk you through how to do that and get these sitemaps into google webmaster tools so check that out and definitely get them in here and in case you’re wondering Google Webmaster Tools is a free service provided by Google because they actually believe it or not they want your site to be awesome they want to send traffic to your site so they’re giving you all the tools that they think are necessary to help you make your site awesome so for the sitemaps I’ve included them in google webmaster tools and as you can see there’s if when you hover over these bars we’ve submitted 201 webpages and 175 have been indexed which is pretty cool information we’ve submitted 685 images 383 have been indexed so when I look at this and when you look at yours we want to see that over time the number of index pages increases so if you have 200 pages on your site but it’s only showing two of them as being indexed and those pages have existed on your site for six months there’s a problem that needs to be addressed and hopefully google webmaster tools will give you those as warnings as you can see I have a few warnings on the right-hand side over here so hopefully they’ll give you warnings about what the problem is if not we got to do a little investigative research which we’re going to do throughout this tutorial series so our number of indexed image or index web pages versus submit web pages looks pretty good our index images vs.

Submitted images is less than half or just over half and that’s not good however there are a lot of images on the website so nearly every post has five or six images so I don’t expect Google to index all of them because they’re all related to the same keyword for that particular post so they’re not going to index six images on the same keyword so I’m not too concerned about this however I will look into it first let’s take a look at what the warnings are we have three different sitemaps that I’ve included the category sitemap the page sitemap and the post sitemap so I’m going to click on this warning link on the right hand side and at the bottom of the page it shows some URLs in the sitemap have a high response time and says the same thing again and the URL example they give is also the URL that was a soft 404 the category on categories soft meaning they couldn’t load the page a page not found meaning it did load the page and it didn’t find anything so we are going to fix this by using a redirect said I got rid of the on categorized category because that’s not really a category should have on your website so we’re gonna get rid of the uncatted category so with this warning we’re don’t have to address and there’s actually no way of saying I fixed it they actually Google will go back every once in a while and to see if this problem still exists and then remove this when it doesn’t exist so if we look at our other warnings from the page sitemap we have 14 warnings and these warnings show as URL blocked by robots.txt now the robots.txt file is a very important file on your website it’s also something we’re going to look at into it more specifically in a later video but for the purposes of this I’m gonna see what is the problem and it looks like for the examples they have there’s a smiley face but it’s a frowny face so it’s an unhappy smiley face if that makes sense and the URL or accessing that PNG file is being blocked by the robots.txt file so and it’s the same file over and over so everything all 14 errors are the exact same file and we want to check what the robots.txt file is actually saying which we can do right here in google webmaster tools on the left hand side we have robots.txt tester so if we click on that on the page that loads we have the robots.txt file as it appears on our server which is this area here and the robots file is specific to robots meaning search engine spiders that come and crawl your website so all the instructions that are in here are mostly directed to search engines so the very first line says user agent and the star means all so all user agents that are search engines or online bots that access your website they are not allowed to access WP dash admin and they are not allowed to access WP dash includes and that’s fine no search engine spiders should be accessing or indexing those folders because those are core WordPress folders that you would never want to have indexed and search engines anyway those should all be private if they’re not private it’s a security vulnerability so in the error that we had before where it said that the robots.txt file was blocking a picture file in her uploads folder that is a mistake on Google’s end because there is nothing in the text file that’s disallowing Google to access the uploads folder to view the images so for that error we can safely ignore it because we’ve confirmed that it’s not in a robot’s file which is where Google said the problem is so in essence there is no problem because it’s only a smiley face it’s not that important of a file and the robots file is clean so they must be getting a false positive somewhere unfortunately they don’t give further information as to why they’re getting that false positive next we’re gonna check out the two warnings for the post sitemap and I’m feeling these are also going to be unimportant warnings so URLs robot it out when we tested a sample of the URLs from your sitemap we found the robots.txt file was blocking access to some of the URLs we’ve just confirmed that the robots file is blocking access to the WordPress core files but not post URLs so if we open this URL here in a separate tab we can see that the post is here and all the content is here and we’ve confirmed in the robots file that this is not being blocked the regular posts are not being blocked so we can safely ignore these warnings as well and so all of the warnings that we’ve had we’ve had we’ve been able to ignore them but then you may have warnings that can’t be ignored I need to address them and they will usually give you instructions on how to do that so that’s why we want to have our sitemaps in there to make sure that the warnings that we at least look at them and see whether or not they are actually real warnings or real problems or not and after we’ve checked those crawl errors so let’s go back to the dashboard actually so we’ve checked all of the at a glance dashboard information we’ve checked the message at the top check the crawl errors check the sitemaps next thing we want to do is on the left hand side we want to click on security issues and we want to make sure that we have this message currently we haven’t detected any security issues with your site’s content that’s good that’s what we want if you have a message saying there are security issues it would be it’ll give you links and instructions on how to fix them but this is what you want to see you don’t want to see security issues here now we want to click on under search traffic on the left-hand side we want to click on manual actions and what we want to see here is no manual webspam actions found and that means that no manual actions have been done and a manual action is when an actual living Google employee goes to your web site decides that your website is a problem and applies a manual penalty if that happens you’ll get information about it here including ways to resolve that problem with Google what you want to do because that ruins your SEO efforts so the next thing actually the last thing we want to check in here in regards to SEO is the mobile usability link on the left under search traffic so on this page we want to see no mobile usability errors detected which is good that’s what we want we want our websites to be mobile and or mobile e responsive and Google gives higher search engine preference to websites that are mobile e responsive and so we want to see no errors in this because then Google won’t have any problems sending you mobile traffic because your knows your site works on mobile so those are the main things you want to check inside of the Google Webmaster Tools in regards to WordPress SEO and making sure your site is ready for SEO to be done to it so just a quick recap within the dashboard we check that we had no new messages and no critical issues at the top we checked our crawl errors in this box here we checked our sitemaps and all the warnings I generated over here we click on security issues to see if Google detected any security problems and we went to search traffic and we clicked on manual actions to make sure not no manual actions have been done and we clicked up mobile usability to make sure our website is mobile ready acorrea to Google and that’s it for Google Webmaster Tools I hope this video helps you my name is Beorn all paths and WP Learning Lab please make sure you like this video share on social media subscribe to YouTube channel so you can get more awesome videos just like this and check out

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