It’s back! The “Site Diagnostics” tab, which appears to be an extension of Google Sitemaps, has returned to the AdSense control panel after it showed up several weeks ago for a couple of days. There still has been no word from Google on the new addition, but this time, information on site diagnostics made it into the help documents this time.
The feature will show publishers if the mediapartners bot is having trouble accessing any pages on their site, and showing the specific reason why the page is blocked. This will allow publishers to track down targeting issues that could be caused by others, such as a hack into the server where the robots.txt was changed, or if a rogue host has decided to block bots to save bandwidth. And yes, both of these situations have happened to publishers, and with this tool, the problem could have been isolated much sooner.
The crawl report will be updated for publishers once a week and they do not allow frequent updates. It does not state what day of the week it is updated, and I haven’t heard of anyone showing any errors in their report yet, so I am not sure if the feature is live for showing errors yet.
I have had many conversations with Vanessa Fox from Google Sitemaps about features within sitemaps that would be useful for AdSense publishers, and this was one feature I had requested multiple times, especially as more and more reports came out from publishers who had been sabotaged by hosting companies gone bad or from hackers. So this addition will definitely help many publishers, so long as they remember to check the Site Diagnostics tab once a week! A nice supplement to this would be a warning alert that would show on the overview page, in the same place where regular news alerts are shown, alerting publishers that they have some information in the site diagnostic tab they should be aware of.