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How to Use the Google URL Inspection Tool for Your Website

Google Fuschia
Credit: Yeamake/Shutterstock.com

When your business depends on your website to bring in revenue, there is nothing more frustrating than learning that certain pages or your entire site aren't showing up in Google's search results. There's an easy way to find out if web users can find your website on the search engine.

Google recently released a URL inspection tool as part of its Search Console, allowing anyone to use it to gain new insights on how Google views your website. Making sure your website is indexable is an important part of SEO, and this tool can help webmasters troubleshoot their website and specific pages to make sure they can appear in Google's search results. There are a number of issues that can prevent certain URLs from being indexed and showing up in search, so this tool can help you determine the problem so you can fix it.

Google utilizes a program called "Googlebot" that crawls through the web to index URLs to be searchable. This engine crawls through your website to detect any errors and to make sure they meet Google's guidelines for indexing. To have your website crawled, you can submit your sitemap through the console, prompting the Googlebot to analyze your site for indexing. The Search Console helps you optimize your URLs to make sure they're correctly indexed.

To use the Search Console and URL inspection tool, sign in with your Google account. To start using the tools, you'll need to verify that you have authority to access the website. This is commonly done by uploading an HTML verification file from Google onto your website, then visiting the resulting URL. There are a few alternative methods to verify, including adding an HTML meta tag or signing in with your domain registrar.  

Once you're verified, you'll have access to the Search Console's features including generating insight reports, checking your backlinks and the URL inspection tool.

To use the URL inspection tool, simply paste in the URL you want to examine, and it will run an analysis based on its last crawl. The tool will then inform you if the URL is on Google and can be found through search results. It will also tell you if the mobile version through Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is valid.

If the tool finds that your URL is not on Google, it will add the reason why it is not indexed. The issue report will lead you to potential solutions, so you can make sure your site is reachable. Common issues that could be preventing your site from appearing on Google search results include server errors or an error in the index request submission that's blocking Googlebot. The tool can also inform you if the URL is indexed, but that certain elements of the page like a script may not be rendering correctly.

Inversely, just as you can use Search Console to make sure your URL is showing up in search results, if there's a page you want to keep off search results, you can direct Google to not index it and use the URL inspection tool to make sure it's not indexed.

Andreas Rivera

Andreas Rivera graduated from the University of Utah with a B.A. in Mass Communication and is now a staff writer for Business.com and Business News Daily. His background in journalism brings a critical eye to his reviews and features, helping business leaders make the best decisions for their companies.