Other Google Search Console improvements

I have written, many times, about the quality of Google Search Console.

I still can’t resist calling it Webmaster Tools (a sign or my age…), but I really think it’s up there with howling frog as an essential tool in any webmaster’s toolbox. If you don’t use it now, put it on your to-do list and thank me later.

For today’s praise, I wanted to celebrate the launch of the https report. This was actually announced a while ago, but is now rolling out with a vengeance and is available in every account I just checked.

It’s no secret that https has been added as a ranking factor back in 2014 and most sites are now served over https. There are, however, some relatively easy traps to fall into and accidentally publish content to http, even if you think your entire site is being served securely, for example:

  • issues with SSL certificate
  • canonical tags that reference http URLs
  • https pages that are redirected to http URLs
  • old html sitemaps that still refer to http urls
  • old robots.txt files that still refer to http URLs
  • assets (images/pdfs/css etc) always served on http urls

Although it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be penalized if a handful of your domain’s URLs are served as http, it’s a good idea to avoid pitfalls such as those described above. An expired SSL certificate poses a more serious threat, as all URLs would suddenly become insecure, so any help in identifying potential https issues is welcome.

The new reports are available in the Page Experience section:

(image courtesy of Google Search Powerhouse Blog)

As you can see, the new report is very easy to use and should be a big help in diagnosing potential issues, so definitely worth a quick check.

I know I keep saying this, but thank you Search Console – and upwards.

Amanda J. Marsh