If you’re a website owner, you have the opportunity to verify your website with Google and get access to the Google Search Console. Previously called Google Webmaster Tools, the GSC’s goal is to provide helpful information about your website. In most cases, you can get helpful insights into areas of your website that could be improved. Sometimes the information Google provides in GSC is helpful–and sometimes it’s not. Let’s look at an example of when Google has screwed up in GSC, providing us with inaccurate (or misleading information). Once example is the HTML improvements.
When you log into Google Search Console and you’ve successfully verified that you’re the website owner, one area that you can look at is the HTML improvements. You can navigate to it by going here:
In this section of GSC, the html improvements gives you (mostly) helpful information about missing title tags, duplicate title tags, long title tags, short title tags, and non-informative title tags. They also alert you to any non-indexable content on your website, if they find any. In the case of this website (billhartzer.com), I only have duplicate title tags. This is one area that I am typically concerned about, as having a duplicate title tag (especially on a WordPress site) can mean that there are WordPress settings or other site-wide issues that are causing the duplicate title tags. That also can mean that there is duplicate content on the site. It’s very rare, on a WordPress site, to have duplicate content or duplicate title tags that are manually created. Usually it’s the fault of how the WordPress site is set up that’s causing the duplicate content or, in this case, duplicate title tags.
So, imagine the horror I experienced when I saw that Google Search Console is pointing out that I have duplicate title tags on my site! (Cue the creepy horror movie audio sounds.)
Well, it turns out that it’s not my fault. Google Search Console is reporting that my I have duplicate title tags on my website because I have AMP pages on my site.
Yes, apparently my AMP pages’ title tags are duplicates of the title tags found on other pages on my site. Uh, Google, if you’re reporting these as duplicate title tags, then you have a serious problem in Google Search Console that needs to be fixed.
Here’s an example of a recent blog post that apparently has a duplicate title tag of it’s very own AMP page:
Luckily, I really don’t have duplicate content and duplicate title tags on my website, as Google says I do. But sheesh!