Imagine not being able to get yourself listed in the yellow pages in the early ‘90s. In today’s modern world, this is what it can feel like if you’re not showing up on Google. If you don't show up in search results, it’s next to impossible for potential customers to find your business. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder to show up in a good place on Google than you would think. You can do a few things to move up in the rankings and beat the competition by getting more pages indexed on Google.
What is indexing?
Before we dig in, let’s define what indexing is. Think of it this way, being indexed on Google is like you handed Google a bunch of loose recipes. Google has gone through these and put them in their respective folders so that if someone asks for a “chocolate chip cookie” recipe, it’s easy for Google to go into their files and pull out all the chocolate chip cookie recipes. However, some of the recipes you submit may never end up in the filing system. These are the hiccups we want to address.
Three most common reasons your web pages aren’t indexed on Google
1. Crawled but not indexed
If you see the message “Crawled - currently not indexed,” Google looked at the pages but didn’t index them. This error is commonly due to poor quality content.
2. Discovered but not listed
Do you see the message “Discovered - not currently indexed”? This error can happen for many reasons. The pages on your site may be “discovered” but remain unindexed because of a crawl budget issue. There are too many URLs in the queue to index, so Google skipped yours. If you have too many individual pages that don’t have quality, unique content, Google may opt to skip these pages. Essentially, Google is aware that there are pages there, but they do nothing with that information.
3. Copy and Paste
Plagiarism is terrible, but if you want to get indexed on Google, copying and pasting content is REALLY bad. “Duplicate content,” as it’s referred to, is a big no-no. If Google crawls your page and finds the same content in pre-existing pages, your pages may go unindexed.
How to check if your website is well indexed
Each page on your website has the opportunity to be indexed. Many websites have some of their main pages indexed, such as their About page or Services page, but their individual product pages aren’t. To check and see how much of your website is contributing to your search traffic through indexed search results, open up the Index Coverage Report on your Google Search Console.
Pay special attention to:
- Number of excluded pages
- What kinds of pages are excluded
If a large portion of your product pages aren’t listed, that’s not as concerning. However, you should be worried if essential pages such as your About page or homepage aren’t being crawled and indexed.
Improve how many pages are indexed on Google
Put the work in and improve how many pages are indexed, and increase your reach in the search results.
1. Avoid 404 errors. Double-check that all your pages are error-free and that you have no false 404 errors. Avoid using “Not found” or “Not available” in your copy.
2. Link to other pages within your website. Internally linking to other pages directs Google crawl bots to more content and pages on your website. These links act like neon signs pointing to important content. Don't overdo it. Try to keep internal links to 3 or less to avoid link stuffing.
4. Remove duplicate content. Focus on creating high-quality, unique content that adds value and has a strong readability score. If Google sees too many low-quality pages, it will negatively impact your overall SEO ranking and domain quality. Use the noindex tag or robots.txt file to ensure that less important pages that don’t need to be crawled do not end up in your sitemap.
If you’re confused about any of the material covered in this article, our team is here to help. We are a group of skilled writers, PPC/social ads specialists, and SEO experts dedicated to helping businesses boost their ranking in search results and reach new customers through the magic of content. Get in touch today to get more of your website indexed and working for you.