Page indexing issues occur when search engine crawlers have difficulty crawling a website’s pages or are unable to access them at all. These issues can lead to web pages not being indexed and consequently not appearing in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). A page that is not indexed, will not generate any organic traffic or engage potential customers.
Not all indexing issues are problematic though. Some of the errors show are outdated and some are not very harmful.
In the following, we will discuss all possible issues and their severity:
Crawled – currently not indexed
Basically, this means that Google knows that the page exists, but it chose to not show in the search engine.
Why would Google do that? Often the page is very low quality. Low quality means that the page has very few words and does not bring any value to a potential user. This is also a common occurence with large (e-commerce) stores which have very low authority (DR<20) and thousands of low quality pages. Google will not show them in the search results.
What can you do?
1.) Make the page better (=add more value for the user). Add more text and internal links to the page.
2.) If this only affects few pages (~10), you can submit the page one-by-one. Should you need to index a large number of pages, you can use the seo copilot or omega indexer.
Verdict: Not a problem. The quality of the page is too poor to show up in the search results.
Alternate Page with proper canonical tag
The page was not indexed because a different version of this page was selected as the main version. For example, some e-commerce websites have a main and a mobile version of a page. Canonicals are used to avoid duplicate content and select the main version among many versions.
www.myecommercestore.com/phones/mobile/new-phone (canonicalised to first)
Verdict: Not a problem. Likely, this is even a good thing. Google has chosen the right version among all canonicalised versions.
Duplicate without user-selected canonical
Google detected duplicate pages that do not have canonicals point the search engine to the “main” version of the page.
Verdict: This is not a serious issue, but you should declare the canonical. If you do not do this, you run the risk that google chooses the “wrong” version of the page and users see the “wrong” version.
Blocked by robots.txt
Google tried to crawl this page but it was excluded by the robots.txt. Assumingly, you have modified the robots.txt yourself and blocked the crawler to index the given pages. It’s not surprising that the page is not indexed, because it was blocked by the robots.txt
Verdict: This is not a problem and does not require your attention (unless there are hundred of pages affected).
Blocked due to access forbidden (403)
This error typically happens when the search engine crawler tries to access pages (like the login area) of a page.
Verdict: Not a very serious problem, but you should block the indexing in the robots.txt
Excluded by ‘noindex’ tag
Google tried to crawl this page but a noindex tag was found. Assumingly, you have set the noindex tag yourself. Noindex tags indicate to the search engine that a given page should not be shown in the search engine. It’s not surprising that the page is not indexed, because it has the noindex tag.
Verdict: This is not a problem and does not require your attention.
The page was loaded but it said 404 Page not found. While 404 errors indicate that a page doesn’t exist, Soft 404s occur when a non-existent or deleted page returns a 200 OK status code instead of a 404. Both of these issues can lead to indexing problems, wasting crawl budget and decreasing the chances of other valuable pages being indexed.
Verdict: This is an error you should fix, but it is not critical.
Not found (404)
The page could not be loaded because it was not found. This is typically a serious issue. While crawling, the search engine crawler ran into a broken page. You should fix this issue. It might be that the search engine crawler cannot crawl certain pages of your website and in turn you will loose organic traffic.
The root cause can be errors on your website or pages that do not exist anymore. You can either fix the error on the page or simply redirect the broken page to another page.
Verdict: This is a problem and should be fixed. If you have ten 404 errors and 100 pages in total, this is a serious issue. If you have 10,000 pages and five 404 errors exist, you do not need to worry as much.
Understanding Page Indexing
Page indexing is the process wherein search engines, such as Google, continually crawl and evaluate web pages to determine their relevancy and quality. Once assessed, these web pages are ranked and included in search engine results pages (SERPs). Google aims to provide users with the most relevant and helpful web pages in response to their search queries, so having a solid understanding of page indexing is crucial for website owners and SEO professionals alike.
Google page indexing, in particular, is performed by Googlebot, the company’s web-crawling bot. It fetches web pages and follows links on those pages to identify the web’s structure and content. Given the enormity of the internet, Google’s indexing engine must be efficient. This efficiency relies on understanding and detecting keywords and phrases, as well as various factors like usability, context, and quality. To ensure that your web pages appear in Google search results, it is vital to optimize your website by adhering to Google’s guidelines and avoiding common page indexing issues.
Page indexing issues arise when Google fails to crawl or index a site’s web pages effectively and consequently, the pages do not appear in search results. These issues can severely impact a website’s organic traffic and conversions, making it essential to identify and rectify them. Some common page indexing issues include duplicate content, robots.txt blocking, no-follow tags, and improper handling of canonical URLs. Troubleshooting and resolving these issues can lead to better visibility, better SERP rankings, and eventually, increased traffic to your site.
Successfully indexed web pages hold the key to a thriving online presence, as they can result in higher rankings and more visibility. Addressing page indexing issues and regularly monitoring the performance of your website is important to achieve continued success in the digital landscape. Employing a proactive and strategic approach to maintaining and optimizing your website will ensure better chances of appearing in Google search results, ultimately benefiting your audience, brand, and business.
Common Page Indexing Issues
Page indexing is essential for a website’s visibility in search results. However, various issues can hinder the indexing process, affecting a website’s online presence. This section discusses some of the most common page indexing issues and how to address them.
One common indexing issue is when a site’s URLs are blocked by the robots.txt file. This file tells search engine crawlers which parts of a website to access or avoid. When a page is mistakenly blocked by robots.txt, it prevents crawlers like Googlebot from accessing that page, leading to indexing issues. Website owners should thoroughly review their robots.txt file to ensure that no essential pages are blocked.
Another issue may arise from the Google Search Console. The platform’s various reports aid in identifying and rectifying indexing problems. Making sure that the sitemap is active and regularly updated ensures that Google crawlers can access and index important pages without any hiccups.
Duplicate content poses another challenge in the indexing process. Search engines find it difficult to determine which of the duplicate versions to index and rank. Therefore, website owners should remove or merge duplicate content to avoid confusion and improve the site’s indexing.
Crawlers have a limited crawl budget, which refers to the number of pages a search engine crawler can access and index in a particular timeframe. To optimize your site’s crawl budget, focus on fixing broken links, avoiding 404 errors, and prioritizing important content. Otherwise, the crawler may waste valuable time on irrelevant pages, resulting in indexing issues.
404 errors and Soft 404s can impact indexation. While 404 errors indicate that a page doesn’t exist, Soft 404s occur when a non-existent or deleted page returns a 200 OK status code instead of a 404. Both of these issues can lead to indexing problems, wasting crawl budget and decreasing the chances of other valuable pages being indexed. Identifying and fixing these errors helps improve indexing.
It’s essential to ensure that pages don’t include the noindex tag unintentionally. This meta tag instructs search engine crawlers not to index a page. Accidentally including this tag on important pages can lead to indexing issues.
Server errors (5xx) like 500 Internal Server Error or 503 Service Unavailable can also prevent crawlers from accessing and indexing your pages. Diligently monitor your website’s server logs and fix any errors that could impact indexing.
Finally, access or authorization issues such as Access Forbidden (403) or Unauthorized Request (401) could lead to indexing problems when crawlers can’t access specific pages. Rectifying these issues by adjusting restricted content access helps improve indexing.
In summary, addressing issues like blocked URLs in robots.txt, sitemap errors, duplicate content, crawl budget optimization, fixing 404s and Soft 404s, removing noindex tags, resolving server errors, and correcting access restrictions can all contribute to a better indexing experience. By staying vigilant and proactive in solving these common problems, website owners can significantly improve their search engine presence.
Google’s Search Algorithms and Indexing
Google Search Algorithms are an important aspect of how web pages are indexed and displayed in the Google Search Results. These algorithms rely on various factors and methods to determine the relevance and value of web pages for a particular query.
One of the main components in Google’s search process is the use of web crawlers. These crawlers constantly explore the internet to discover and examine web pages. By doing this, they collect information about the pages and report it back to Google, which then adds the pages to its index. Google Page Indexing is essential as it ensures that the webpages are included in Google’s search results.
Multiple algorithms work together to provide relevant search results. Some of these algorithms include PageRank, Hummingbird, RankBrain, and BERT. Each algorithm focuses on different factors such as quality, relevance, usability, and context of the content. The combination of these algorithms allows Google to rank and display web pages effectively in its search results.
Google Search Console is a valuable tool for webmasters and website owners that can help them understand and improve the performance of their websites on Google’s search results. It provides insights into the website’s indexing status and any issues that might be preventing some pages from being indexed properly. The Page Indexing report in Google Search Console helps in monitoring and resolving indexing problems.
In some cases, web pages might face indexing issues due to several reasons, such as technical errors, duplicated content, or poor-quality content. Fixing these issues is essential to ensure that the pages are crawled, indexed, and ranked as expected.
By understanding the role of Google’s search algorithms and how page indexing works, website owners can optimize their websites effectively to ensure their content is accessible and visible in the Google search results. Utilizing Google Search Console and being familiar with Google’s algorithms can greatly aid in optimizing a website’s performance and resolving indexing issues that may arise.
The Importance of Quality Content
Quality content is essential in today’s digital landscape, as it plays a significant role in attracting traffic from Google and enhancing user engagement. When a website consistently provides informative, relevant, and well-written content, it not only improves its chances of being indexed by search engines but also creates a positive user experience, leading to higher conversions.
One of the key ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm is the quality of content present on a website. High-quality content is more likely to be indexed and ranked higher in search results, which in turn, drives organic traffic to the site. This underscores the need for website owners to invest time and resources in developing valuable content that serves the needs of their target audience.
In addition to drawing traffic, quality content plays a crucial role in maximizing conversions. Engaging content captures the attention of visitors, encouraging them to explore the website further and ultimately become loyal customers or clients. A well-structured website with clear and concise information demonstrates expertise in the subject matter and builds trust among users, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
To produce quality content, focus on addressing the needs and concerns of your target audience, presenting information in a clear and easily digestible manner, and avoiding misleading or false claims. This approach will not only improve your website’s chances of being indexed but also contribute to a positive user experience, ultimately driving success in terms of both traffic and conversions.
How Sitemaps Aid in Page Indexing
Sitemaps serve as a valuable tool that helps search engines, like Google, efficiently crawl and index a website’s pages. They provide a structured list of all the pages (URLs) on a site and enable search engines to better understand its layout and design. By submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console, website owners can facilitate better indexing of their content, ensuring that the most important pages are accessible to users through search results.
There are generally two types of sitemaps: HTML and XML. HTML sitemaps, such as the product and category index pages, are designed for human users to navigate through a website easily. On the other hand, XML sitemaps, like those found at
www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml, contain information specifically tailored for search engines to crawl and index a website’s pages effectively.
Using sitemaps has several advantages: they help search engines discover new pages, prioritize important content, and give insights into how the website is structured. Moreover, sitemaps can also be used to provide additional metadata about specific pages, such as when they were last updated or how often they should be crawled. This information can aid search engines in making more informed decisions about which pages to index and how to display them in search results.
However, it is essential to note that having a sitemap does not guarantee that all the URLs in the sitemap will be indexed by search engines. Several factors, such as website quality, content relevance, and linking structure, can influence which pages are indexed and ranked in search results. Nonetheless, sitemaps can significantly improve the odds of proper indexing by providing a clear roadmap for search engine crawlers to follow.
In conclusion, sitemaps play a crucial role in page indexing by offering a comprehensive overview of a website’s content and structure. By submitting a well-crafted sitemap to Google Search Console, website owners can optimize their website’s indexing process and ensure better visibility in search results.
Identifying and Fixing 404 Errors
One common page indexing issue is the occurrence of 404 errors. These errors happen when a user tries to access a web page that doesn’t exist on the server. There are two main types of 404 errors: hard 404s and soft 404s.
Hard 404 errors occur when a non-existent page returns a “not found” message to users and a 404 status to search engines. On the other hand, soft 404 errors happen when a non-existent page displays a “not found” message to users but returns a 200 OK status to search engines1.
To identify and fix 404 errors, you can use Google Search Console. This tool allows you to see which pages of your website have indexing issues, including 404 errors2. First, verify your website with Google Search Console to gain access to the page indexing report. Here, you can check for any hard or soft 404 errors affecting your site.
When you find 404 errors using the console, it’s essential to address them to prevent negative impacts on user experience and search engine ranking. For hard 404 errors, you can either create the missing page, set up a redirect to a relevant existing page, or remove any links pointing to the non-existent page.
Fixing soft 404 errors usually involves ensuring that the server returns the correct 404 status code to search engines when a page is not found. This can be achieved by checking the server settings, removing incorrect redirects, or updating the headers sent by the server.
In conclusion, identifying and fixing 404 errors is crucial for maintaining a well-optimized website and ensuring a positive user experience. By using Google Search Console, you can efficiently detect and address hard and soft 404 errors, improving your site’s page indexing and overall performance.
- https://neilpatel.com/blog/fix-404-errors/ ↩
- https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7440203?hl=en ↩
The Role of Robots.txt in Page Indexing
Robots.txt is a crucial element in controlling the indexing of your website by search engine crawlers. A robots.txt file tells crawlers which URLs on your site they can access, and it helps prevent overloading your site with requests. However, improper use of robots.txt can lead to indexing issues, so it’s important to understand how it functions and how to manage it properly.
One of the common problems involving robots.txt is when a URL is inadvertently blocked by robots.txt. Sometimes, a page may get mistakenly blocked due to misconfiguration of the robots.txt file. To investigate this issue, you can use the Google Search Console to check the status of a page’s indexing. If it says “Blocked by robots.txt,” you’ll need to fix the issue to ensure proper indexing of your content.
To properly manage the robots.txt file, it’s important to be familiar with its structure and follow certain guidelines. A robots.txt file should be a text file named “robots.txt” (case sensitive) and located in the top-level directory of your canonical domain. Additionally, it must include the specific directives for crawlers like User-agent, Allow, and Disallow.
In the context of page indexing, a common reason for pages being blocked by robots.txt is the presence of a “Disallow” directive for that URL. To resolve this, you can either remove the Disallow rule or modify it to allow the crawler access to the specific URL. Always ensure that your robots.txt file is properly configured to avoid accidentally blocking essential content from being indexed by search engines.
In summary, robots.txt plays a significant role in managing the indexing of your website’s pages. By carefully configuring the file and monitoring its directives, you can avoid accidentally blocking URLs from search engine crawlers and help ensure a more efficient and targeted indexing process.
Overcoming Redirect and Server Errors
When dealing with page indexing issues, it’s crucial to address redirect errors and server errors (5xx) as they can impede Google’s ability to crawl and index your website. By addressing these issues, you’ll ensure that your site’s content is properly indexed and becomes more accessible to users.
Redirect errors occur when a user or search engine crawler tries to access a URL, but it’s being redirected to a different URL. These issues can happen for various reasons, such as 301 redirects, which are meant to be permanent. Ensuring your redirects are set up correctly and resolve to the desired target URL can help you avoid this type of indexing problem. If you’re unsure about your redirects’ configuration or notice errors in Google Search Console, consider using tools that can help you identify and fix redirect-related issues.
Server errors, typically classified as 5xx errors, occur when a server fails to process a request, which can be a significant hindrance to page indexing. Addressing server errors usually involves checking your website’s server and fixing the underlying issues causing the errors. You can monitor server errors by leveraging the Page Indexing report in Google Search Console, which can help you spot these issues early on and act promptly to resolve them.
In some cases, server errors might be related to your website’s hosting service or infrastructure. Engaging with your hosting provider or web developer to address the underlying technical issues can be an efficient way to resolve server errors and improve your website’s indexing status.
By following these guidelines to address redirect errors and server errors, you’ll be well on your way to overcoming common page indexing challenges and improving your website’s visibility on search engines.
Mobile-First Indexing and its Impact
Mobile-first indexing plays a crucial role in determining the visibility and ranking of a website on search engine results. As Google predominantly uses the mobile version of a site’s content for indexing and ranking purposes, it is essential for website owners to ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly and optimized for mobile-first indexing.
To monitor the status of your website, you can use the Google Search Console, which offers valuable insights into your website’s performance, issues, and improvements. It enables you to check if your site is on mobile-first indexing, assisting you in staying compliant with Google’s mobile-friendly requirements. Understanding mobile-first indexing is vital to optimize your search engine optimization strategy, enhance long-term rankings, and generate more organic traffic to your website.
When optimizing your website for mobile-first indexing, consider the following best practices:
- Ensure your website offers a consistent experience on desktop and mobile devices
- Implement responsive design to ensure content and layout adapt to different screen sizes
- Compress images and use appropriate file formats to improve loading speed
- Utilize readable font sizes and ample spacing between elements to improve usability on mobile devices
Google’s emphasis on mobile-first indexing is a consequence of the increasing use of smartphones and mobile devices for accessing the internet. As Google Page Indexing favors mobile-optimized websites, businesses that adapt to the mobile-first approach are more likely to have better visibility on search engine results pages, leading to higher traffic and conversions. Implementing mobile-first indexing best practices and monitoring your website through Google Search Console can help you stay ahead of your competition and ensure a seamless user experience for your audience, regardless of the device they are using.
Role of Blogs in SEO and Indexing
Blogs play a significant role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and indexing of websites. A well-maintained blog brings numerous benefits, with a major impact on the visibility and overall performance of a website. It is a platform where a company or an individual can share quality content consistently, keeping readers informed and engaged.
Firstly, blogs provide a valuable opportunity for the regular update and addition of content to a website. Search engines like Google prioritize websites that frequently update and offer fresh, unique content. This continuous stream of new information helps boost a website’s credibility, as it demonstrates that the site is active and up-to-date. Consequently, it improves the chances of the site being indexed by Google and other search engines.
Additionally, blogs contribute to a website’s keyword strategy. By creating blog content focusing on relevant keywords, businesses can attract targeted traffic and improve their search ranking. When blog articles use these keywords naturally and appropriately, they signal search engines that the website is a reliable source of information on the chosen topic.
Another crucial aspect is the ability of blogs to generate backlinks. When a blog publishes high-quality, informative content, other websites are more likely to link to it, providing valuable backlinks. These backlinks enhance a site’s authority and trustworthiness, which search engines appreciate and consider while indexing and ranking the website.
Internal linking within blog content can also enhance user experience and help search engines understand the website’s structure better. By linking blog posts to other relevant pages on the website, businesses can guide their readers, increasing the likelihood of increased engagement and lower bounce rates.
In conclusion, blogs serve as a crucial tool for SEO and indexing. By constantly updating content, targeting keywords, generating backlinks, and improving internal linking, blogs can greatly enhance a website’s visibility and search engine performance.