When it comes to SEO, one of the first things that needs to be addressed is getting indexed. If you’ve ever worked on an SEO campaign you know how frustrating it can be for certain sites to appear in Google. It doesn’t make sense why some sites take so long to rank, while others rank almost instantly. The truth is that getting indexed by Google is a lot harder than many SEOs want to admit.
Reasons why Google isn’t indexing your pages
When Google isn’t indexing your site, that means no one will see it. It is a bit like having a website but not telling anyone about it – how are they supposed to find it?
Google uses crawlers to index the pages and content of a website. These crawlers, or spiders, go from one page on your site onto another and so on through every link until they have indexed all of the content.
There are many reasons why Google may not be indexing your pages, and some of them can be difficult to fix without the help of an expert. Here are some reasons why that might be happening:
Top indexing issues
Crawled – currently not indexed
This status indicates that the page was crawled by Google, but has not yet been indexed.
Google is taking a look, but hasn’t added it to their index, or it may be waiting to be recrawled.
This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with your site. When you first submit your site, it can take some time before Google crawls and indexes your pages. This is also normal if you’ve made a change to the page.
If it’s been more than a few days since you submitted your site, here are a few ways to speed things along:
Check for crawl errors and fix them. If we can get to your page but there are problems rendering it, we might not index it. Instead we’ll mark the page as “crawled – currently not indexed.”
You can check your crawl errors in Webmaster Tools under Crawl > Crawl Errors. Once you’ve fixed these errors (or if there were none), make sure that the page is available without any restrictions in robots.txt or Meta Noindex tags.
Make sure Googlebot can find the content on your site. If Googlebot can’t find and crawl the content on your site, then they can’t index it!
Discovered – currently not indexed
In the Index Coverage report, you can see which pages are indexed and which are not. If a page shows up as “discovered – currently not indexed” it means that Google found the page but decided not to index it.
Here’s what you should know about this status:
Google will show you only a few of these pages in Search Console. There is no way to see all of them, only their total number.
Google might decide to index these pages at any time for any reason. You don’t need to take any action to address this issue (but there are some things you can do if you want).
This status doesn’t mean that Google won’t index these pages ever! If they meet Google’s quality guidelines and follow best practices, they might become indexed at some point in the future (although this isn’t guaranteed).
Duplicate content can be an issue. If Google finds duplicate content on a website, it is likely that the site will be penalized. Duplicate content can happen unintentionally or intentionally. Sites that have been hacked may contain duplicate content without the owner’s knowledge.
Duplicate content can also happen when publisher’s syndicate their content across multiple domains in order to produce more traffic or links. Websites that use a publishing platform such as WordPress may see duplicate content due to tags or categories.
In order to check if your site has any duplicate content issues, you may want to perform a crawl of your website using a tool like Screaming Frog and perform a search for duplicate title tags and meta descriptions. You can also look at your HTML source code and search for keywords that appear twice on the same page which could indicate duplicate copy.
How to check your website’s index coverage
Google Search Console users can use the Index Coverage report to see which URLs are indexed, how many were found and any issues that may have prevented a page from being indexed.
You can use the report to identify pages with issues and fix them to improve your site’s exposure in Google Search. The report also includes a table that lists all of your submitted URLs and shows their status.
The coverage report is broken into three tabs: Error, Valid with warnings and Valid.
Error: This tab shows errors that need to be fixed before Google can index the pages. This tab will show you the count of errors by type, as well as the list of URLs with errors.
Valid with warnings: This tab shows pages that Google was able to index but had problems along the way. These include pages with AMP or mobile usability issues or those that are blocked by robots.txt files or noindex tags.
Valid: This tab shows pages on your site that Google has indexed without any issues or warnings.
How to increase the probability Google will index your pages?
To get your content into the Google index, you need to follow some basic steps. If you want it to be found in search results, you’ll have to do a bit more work.
These are the basic principles for getting your pages into the Google index and ensuring they rank well when people search for them.
1. Don’t block crawling with robots.txt or meta robots tags
2. Submit an XML Sitemap file
3. Use relevant, unique page titles and compelling descriptions on every page
4. Implement structured data where appropriate
5. Put your most important content “above the fold” (i.e., immediately visible) so that visitors don’t have to scroll to find it
6. Use clean URLs with keywords in them instead of strings of numbers or letters that don’t make sense on their own
7. Have a clearly defined site structure with a logical navigation system and appropriate internal linking
8.Don’t use page redirects in place of a 404 page.
9. Use internal linking. Use a site map, and try to link to every new page that you publish. I also suggest linking to old pages from new ones, if possible.
10. Implement a sound crawling strategy, making sure search engines see what they need to see and have access to important areas of your website.
Getting indexed by Google is an important part of being visible online. In fact, being indexed in Google is not just a symbol of success, it’s a sign that you have created an interesting and compelling website with useful content. And while getting your website indexed can seem like a daunting task, as long as you follow our tips above, you will hopefully find that the process goes a bit more smoothly.