In a recent video release, Google shared invaluable insights into diagnosing technical SEO problems that could adversely affect a website’s indexing and ranking. 

These three essential tips leverage the power of the Search Console to effectively identify and resolve issues that might be impeding a website’s performance in search results.

Google’s 3 Expert Tips for Website Technical Issue Identification

  1. Ensuring Indexability:
    One of the fundamental aspects to investigate is whether the URL is indexable. Google recommends using the Search Console URL inspection tool for this purpose. This tool not only reveals if a page is currently indexed but also provides information on its indexability. In cases where a page is not indexable, the tool suggests potential reasons for Google’s difficulty in indexing it. Additionally, it offers insights into the last crawl date, offering a glimpse into Google’s interest in the page. It’s important to note that if a page doesn’t undergo frequent changes, Googlebot might crawl it less frequently, a sensible approach to resource conservation.
  2. Managing Duplicates and Canonical URLs:
    Google advises checking if a page is ignored due to duplication and if another page serves as the canonical URL. Surprisingly, Google emphasizes that, in most cases, it’s acceptable for another page to be chosen as the canonical URL. Even if it deviates from the expected canonical URL, as long as the content is indexed, it will still appear in search results. Google cautions against relying on the cache or site:search operator for diagnostic purposes, highlighting that these methods might yield misleading outcomes.
  3. Scrutinizing Rendered HTML for Anomalies:
    The final tip from Google stresses the importance of differentiating between source code HTML and rendered HTML. While source code HTML provides the raw code, rendered HTML shows the output after executing all JavaScript. This is crucial for identifying issues related to JavaScript or other elements. Google recommends checking the rendered HTML and HTTP response for unexpected elements, such as error messages or missing content, which could result from technical issues on the server or within the application code.

Bonus Tip: Google strongly discourages using cache or site search operators for debugging purposes, emphasizing their lack of connectivity to the search index.

How to View Rendered HTML:

Google Support offers a step-by-step guide for viewing rendered HTML in the Search Console. Alternatively, Chrome DevTools in the Chrome browser can be utilized for the same purpose. By navigating through the Rendering option in Chrome DevTools, users can access the rendered HTML, facilitating a comprehensive analysis.

Debugging Technical Issues with Google’s Tools

Addressing technical issues that hinder indexing and rankings is crucial for maintaining a website’s visibility in search results. Google’s Search Console and Chrome DevTools provide robust tools for debugging these issues. By following these three tips and utilizing the recommended tools, webmasters can navigate and resolve technical challenges effectively.

For a more detailed guide, Google has provided a comprehensive video titled “3 tips for debugging technical problems in Google Search,” available on the Google Search Central platform.

Embrace these insights to enhance the technical health of your website and optimize its performance in the ever-evolving landscape of online search.