Last week, Google rolled out a new Search Console report for HTTPS, (HTTPS is invalid and might prevent it from being indexed) and with that came a lot of confusion around a specific error. The error was “HTTPS is invalid and might prevent it from being indexed.” This shows in the URL inspection tool, which was part of this upgrade.
John Mueller from Google did say this morning on Twitter that they dug through these reports and will be updating the warnings to make them “less scary.” While the errors are correct, he said, the warnings are just an FYI and “not an error” that is causing issues in Google Search, he added.
Here is one of many screenshots of this error:
This does not mean the URL won’t be indexed, it means Google has never seen the URL, or has seen the URL but not crawled it yet. Google may also be indexing the HTTP version of that URL instead for the time being.
There are countless tweets and threads with confusion over this specific error. Here are some threads on Google Webmaster Help, Black Hat World and on Twitter.
John Mueller of Google has been responding to some of these concerns explaining this is not something to worry about. He said on Twitter “HTTPS would not prevent a page from being indexed. It might prevent it from being indexed as HTTPS, but we’d still index it as HTTP. We just don’t index all pages on sites, that’s expected, and independent of HTTPS status.”
Here is where John said they will be changing things to make it clearer:
As Glenn Gabe pointed out, if you look at the help documentation this can mean “Google has never seen the URL, or has seen the URL but not crawled it yet.”
So I wouldn’t worry too much about this error.
If you see the pages are not being indexed, I doubt it is related to this error – I would suspect it is more of a quality issue.
The HTTPS report shows how many indexed URLs on your site are HTTP vs HTTPS. Google strongly recommends using HTTPS for your site to protect your users’ security and privacy. If your site has a page with both an HTTP and HTTPS address, Google prefers to index the HTTPS version. This report is available only for Domain properties and HTTPS URL-prefix properties.
What to look for
The report shows the count of indexed HTTPS and HTTP URLs. Search Console then checks each HTTP URL for a matching HTTPS URL (ignoring parameters) and reports why the HTTPS version could not be indexed.
Ideally your site should have no HTTP URLs in the report, indicating that your site is using all HTTPS URLs. However, if you do see HTTP URLs listed in this report, try to fix the errors in order to provide a good page experience to your visitors.
If your site is mostly HTTP URLs, you might see a few “HTTPS crawling issue” errors, and a lot of “Other issues” errors. In this case, Google probably gave up trying to crawl corresponding HTTPS pages after receiving 404 responses for the first several HTTPS URLs that it tried to crawl.
The report does not consider alternate HTTPS versions of an HTTP page that don’t have the same URL structure.
- Address issues other than HTTPS not evaluated first. Fixing other issues might fix these issues as well.
- For URLs with issues, click into the specific issue to see a list of affected pages. Generally it’s good to fix the issues that affect the most pages first.
- For each example error in the table, determine the HTTPS URL that was crawled for that URL: Search Console tests the HTTPS version of the HTTP URL.
- Follow the advice in the error description to fix the issue.
- HTTP marked with canonical tag: The HTTP page has a
<link rel="canonical">tag, indicating that the HTTP version is canonical. If you have an HTTPS version of the page, you should declare the HTTPS as the canonical page.
- To test: You can search for this tag using the URL Inspection tool:
- Click the inspection icon next to the URL in the HTTPS report.
- Click URL Inspection in the page header to get to the main inspection results for the URL.
- Click Live test,
- Click View tested page to see the HTML of the live page, and search for the tag.
- To test: You can search for this tag using the URL Inspection tool:
- HTTPS has invalid certificate: The HTTPS URL has an invalid SSL certificate. Typically this affects an entire site. You should update your HTTPS certificate for browsers to be able to visit your secure pages without issues.
- Sitemap points to HTTP: A sitemap on your site is pointing to an HTTP URL that was indexed as canonical. Update your sitemaps to point to the HTTPS version of your pages. You will see this error only if Google was able to successfully crawl and index the HTTP URL listed in the sitemap.
- HTTPS has redirect: The HTTPS URL exists, but redirects to an HTTP URL. Either remove the redirect, or redirect to an HTTPS page.
- HTTPS URL is roboted: The HTTPS URL is present, but is blocked from crawling by a robots.txt rule.
- HTTPS not evaluated: This error can be caused by any of the following conditions: See Fixing HTTPS not evaluated errors.
- The HTTP URL has no equivalent HTTPS URL. If the equivalent HTTPS URL doesn’t exist (404 error) or Google encounters any other 4XX error (such as auth required) or 5XX level error (server issues), then the URL will be labeled as HTTPS not evaluated.
- The HTTP and equivalent HTTPS URLs exist, but for some reason Google chose the HTTP version as canonical. Be sure to mark your HTTPS as canonical using one of these methods.
- Google encountered so many errors of any type that it has stopped processing queued URLs on your site. Any remaining queued URLs are labeled as HTTPS not evaluated.
- There is a site-wide error that prevents Google from evaluating this URL (for example, a bad SSL certificate for the site).
- Google has never seen the URL, or has seen the URL but not crawled it yet. If this is a newly crawled URL, it can take some time before the HTTPS status is evaluated, so wait a day and check back to see if this problem has corrected itself.
- Other issues: Another error occurred that is not covered in the list of errors.
Fixing HTTPS not evaluated errors
If you see many other errors besides HTTPS not evaluated, fix your other errors first. Doing so might unblock processing, and enable these URLs to be processed.
If this is a newly crawled URL, it can take some time before the HTTPS status is evaluated, so wait a day and check back to see if this problem has corrected itself.
If you see few other errors besides HTTPS not evaluated,
- If your site has few (or no) HTTPS pages, this number will be large, of course. We recommend switching your site to HTTPS.
- If your site has a site-wide HTTPS error (such as a bad certificate) it can cause this issue.
- Check your site for availability issues in the Crawl stats report. If your site is not responding to crawl requests, it can prompt Google to stop checking your URLs.
- Look for errors or 404 responses in the Index coverage report, especially on important pages. A lot of 404 responses can prompt Google to stop crawling your site.
- See How to fix missing HTTPS URLs.
Forum discussion at Twitter.