Pages Disappearing From Google Search Console?
A Question From A GSC User
John Mueller (Google spokesman) was asked by a Google Search Console (GSC) user recently:
“... we’re seeing a slow decline in mobile-friendly pages in the mobile usability report in Search Console. We’re also seeing …a decline in pages that are in the Core Web Vitals report, and also other enhancements like review snippets and all of this type of stuff. Over the span of maybe a month or a month and a half there’s about a thousand pages. I …would like to know …is this a crawling issue potentially? Where should I be looking here? They’re not coming up as errors or anything. They’re just simply dropping out of that report.”
What's The Question?
Paraphrasing the question, I think it's asking:
"Why are the number of pages, showing for my sites in GSC, dropping/varying?"
John Mueller replied saying:
“Essentially what is happening is for these reports we look at a sample of the URLs from your website. So it’s something where having fewer URLs in these reports doesn’t mean that the other URLs are bad or problematic. It’s just we didn’t check them. Especially for the aggregate reports, which is for the Core Web Vitals to some extent, the AMP report, the Structured Data report, mobile-friendliness (I think as well)… for those reports we only take a look at a sample… and that sample can change over time. So it can happen that we look at 200 URLs from your site now and then maybe in a month or two we’ll look at 100 URLs from your website. That doesn’t mean that the difference is bad. It’s just we looked at a smaller sample of the URLs from your website.”
What's The Answer?
Paraphrasing the answer, JM seems to be saying:
"We (Google) don't always look at every URL from your website. That doesn't mean your website is bad. It just means that we don't always look at everything on your site!"
JM then explained:
“Usually what you would do with these reports is look more at the relationship between the bad pages reported there and the good ones. If these are all reported as being okay without any errors then that means all of the URLs we checked from your site they’re okay. From that point of view that’s fine. If on the other hand you see that the proportion of errors rises over time then that’s kind of a sign that something’s problematic that you might want to take a look at. But the absolute number of URLs that we show there, that’s not something that you need to take any action on.”
It’s a good idea to focus on the detail of what is being reported and not worry about how many pages are reported on. Check out all your organic keywords mentioned in GSC and their specific results.
So I hope that this helps to diminish any anxiety over fluctuations in GSC reporting.
It's clear that the number of pages reported in GSC is based on samples and therefore can be incomplete. Do, however, take seriously any negative comments in the reports and do what you can to fix them.
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