Common Search Console errors

Once your WordPress site is connected to Search Console (a free service provided by Google), you’ll get alerts for areas that need to be improved. These common Search Console errors are often easy to remedy — when you know what to do!

URL errors within Search Console

Since Google will crawl your WordPress site content, they often uncover link issues within any website. These errors don’t always appear immediately as it takes a little bit for the Googlebot to crawl your site. Instead, they will likely trigger email alerts within the first month of setting up your account.

404 errors

If a Googlebot cannot find a page that is in your sitemap, they will alert you to the 404 error. Then it’s up to you to decide what happened.

  1. The page/post was removed. Which means that it’s to submit a new sitemap.
  2. The page/post was updated to have a better link. To resolve this, you’ll need to set up a redirect.
  3. Some content is missing + you have to replace it or find out where it went. “Missing” content might be found in the “trash” of your page or post list, so check there first. If not, a backup of your site will have the missing content.

Robots.txt issues

Every WordPress site has a robots.txt file by default. It’s a file that lives on your hosting account + shows rules that any Googlebot needs to follow. Often these files are automatically edited by membership software or certain hosting companies that want to help prevent access to vulnerable areas of a website.

If you’re getting a “page blocked” error connected to your robots.txt file, reach out to your hosting company for help. Their live chat can likely resolve the problem in a few minutes.

One place to double check before submitting a ticket or starting a live chat is your Settings > Reading Settings within WordPress. The checkbox for Search Engine Visibility needs to be unchecked. Otherwise no Googlebot will be able to crawl your site.

Mobile usability errors

To be honest, these errors are the ones that I’m most often fixing for tiny blue orange hosting clients. While they might have a great responsive theme for their WordPress website, the mobile version isn’t meeting Google standards. It’s possible you’ll need a developer for help with this, unless you’re comfortable making changes to your CSS.

You can target smaller screens only (aka mobile users) by using the code below. Place your specifics within the { }.

@media screen and (max-width: 800px) {
     body {
         font-size: 20px;

Text too small to read

We’ve gotten away from the tiny text days of website design, thankfully. However, your site still might generate this error if the text will require visitors to zoom in to read.

The best way to resolve this is to increase the font size on your entire website for smaller screens. The code example above sets the website base font size to 20px (while many themes use 14-18px as the base font size.)

If your theme developer uses em units, your headings will adjust to match the change in body copy. If not, you may have to adjust heading sizes too.

Not into making CSS changes? Check your theme settings for “mobile only” options with font size. The plugin PopupAlly has options to style your pop-ups for tablets + smartphones specifically.

Clickable elements too close together

Think about your experience browsing websites on your smartphone. Have you ever gone to tap a button or link + accidentally tapped the wrong thing? Or is that just me trying to view profiles on Instagram?

This common Search Console error relates to exactly that issue. As screen sizes reduce, elements on a website start to stack or get closer together. If a link, button or clickable image is too close to another item, voila…”clickable elements too close together” alert.

How do you fix it? Again, CSS is your friend. By adding more spacing (via margin + padding) to buttons, menu items + other links can greatly benefit your site’s mobile users.

Google themselves recommend a 48px target size. So if your button text is 24px tall (not the font-size, but the physical height of the letters), adding enough padding to make it 48px would ditch this error. They also note that 8px of space between elements is the minimum distance for best usability.

Not into making CSS changes? You can easily add line breaks between links within blog posts + page content. If you have links in your sidebar, add some space between those in your individual widgets by hitting return or enter.

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