Google simplifies item classification in Search Console reports

Posted by Edith MacLeod on 20 Jun, 2022
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Item classifications will now be shown as valid or invalid, giving a sharper focus on issues needing attention.

Search Console reports update.

Google has announced a change to the way pages, items, and issues are classified in Search Console reports.  

Previously top level items were classified under the traffic light system of Red (Error), Amber (Valid with warning), Green (Valid), signifying items which needed attention.

Google is now dropping the Amber ‘warning’ status. It said users found it confusing as it wasn’t clear whether or not the page or item could appear on Google.

With this change, Google will show only two broad status categories: roughly speaking valid or invalid (the wording and implications will change depending on the report). Google said “invalid means that there is a report-specific critical issue in the page or item, and not invalid means that the item might still contain warnings, but has no critical issues”.

The aim is to help users focus and prioritize better the issues which need fixing.

“...we are grouping the top-level item (a rich result for the rich result reports, a page or URL for the other reports) into two groups: pages or items with critical issues are labeled something like invalid; pages or items without critical issues are labeled something like valid.

We think this new grouping will make it easier to see quickly which issues affect your site's appearance on Google, in order to help you prioritize your fixes.”

Google provided this before and after image:

Search Console report.

The following reports are affected by this change:

  • Core Web Vitals
  • Mobile Usability
  • AMP report
  • Rich result reports
  • URL Inspection

You can read more detail in Google’s Help document.

The change will also be reflected in Google’s URL Inspection Tool when inspecting a URL in Search Console. Google says they will only be updated in the URL Inspection API when the rollout is completed in a few months. “This means that if your property shows the updated item classification in Search Console, you might see differences when comparing results from the product interface and the API”.  Google will let users know when the API has been updated.

Google notes that this is just a reporting change in Search Console;  there are no changes in how Google Search crawls, indexes, or serves your pages.

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