Google's Index Coverage Report is a critical tool for website owners and SEO specialists. It provides insights into how Google is indexing a website and highlights any potential issues. This guide delves into the intricacies of the report, particularly focusing on the 'Valid Index Not Submitted in Sitemap' status. It offers practical advice on how to interpret this status and the best practices to follow to optimize your website's indexing.
When you encounter the 'Valid Index Not Submitted in Sitemap' status in your Index Coverage Report, it means that Google has indexed certain parts of your site that are not included in your sitemap. This could be misleading if you don't fully understand what it implies. It's crucial to evaluate these URLs and decide whether you intended for Google to index them.
If you want Google to index these URLs, you should include them in your sitemap to facilitate better crawling by the search engine. However, if these URLs are components of a WordPress site, such as date archives or tags, you may not need them to be indexed. In such cases, you should consider serving a no-index directive for these parts of your site.
For most WordPress sites, it's advisable not to have tags indexed by Google. Similarly, having date archives indexed does not necessarily mean your site has duplicate content. To avoid duplicate content issues, you should serve canonical URLs, indicating the source of the content. However, as your site grows, Google's attempts to index and crawl these URLs could become problematic, especially if they don't contain distinct information.
Canonical tags are crucial in avoiding duplicate content s on your site. They indicate to Google the original source of the content. As long as the URLs in your date archives have a canonical tag, you can avoid duplicate content issues. However, it's best practice to serve a no-index tag for parts of your WordPress site that don't contain unique information.
Google strives to index and display pages with distinct information. For instance, if your site has regular and printer versions of each article, and neither is blocked with a no-index meta tag, Google will choose one to list in its results. Therefore, it's best practice to serve no-index tags for parts of your WordPress site with no unique information.
Understanding Google's Index Coverage Report is crucial for optimizing your website's indexing. By correctly interpreting the 'Valid Index Not Submitted in Sitemap' status and following the best practices outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your site is indexed effectively by Google. Remember, the goal is to have distinct information indexed to provide value to your site visitors and improve your SEO ranking.
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