Imagine you’ve been invited to an exclusive party with people you really want to impress. It’ll finally be your chance to get in with the crowd you’ve been wanting to - and they’ll have hor devours!
When the big event finally comes, you dress up, think of all the right things to say, and show up at a time that doesn’t show you’re overly eager, but isn’t late either.
However, when the bouncer scans the list for your name, it isn’t there. You’re denied entry to the party you’ve been prepping weeks for.
We aren’t socialites, but in the SEO world we can relate - it’s the same feeling when Google hasn’t indexed your webpage.
So how can you prevent this faux pas? Thankfully, indexing isn’t hard to check, and it can be pretty easy to fix.
The term “indexing” actually refers to the last step of Google’s process for finding URLs out on the web and storing information about them.
Before indexing, Google must discover the URL. There actually isn’t a single place where every existing URL is listed, so Google has to go out and look for new URLs. Google finds new pages by following links from other webpages, or by following sitemaps.
Once a URL has been discovered, Google will crawl the page, if it is able to. Some pages cannot be crawled because it’s been disallowed by the owner of the page, or there is a login required.
After the page has been crawled, we finally move on to indexing. This is when Google assesses your page for quality, checks if it is unique or similar to other pages already existing on the Internet, and tries to determine what it thinks your page is about.
If a page meets Google’s quality standards and is shown to be unique, the page will be added to Google’s index. This gives Google the ability to serve the page in its list of search results after a user has entered a query.
Indexing is important to your page because it determines whether or not Google will potentially include your page in its list of search results.
Your pages need to be indexed if you want to get any organic traffic to your site.
Organic traffic is important because it has the potential to bring you massive returns - new leads, sales, and customers - all for free.
Basically, if your page isn’t indexed, it probably isn’t making all the money that it could be for you.
No, it’s not a given that Google will index every page on your website, without a little effort from your end.
What may surprise you is that Google’s goal is not to index all pages on the Internet.
As mentioned above, there are many different reasons why Google may not index a page, including poor quality and an array of technical obstacles.
Another reason, however, that Google won’t index every page has nothing to do with any specific technical aspects. It’s this: the Internet is too big for Google to keep up with indexing every new URL that gets created. It would be a waste for them to try.
So some pages will go unindexed. This can be especially true for large websites. If Google indexes the majority of a website, it may not feel it’s worth it to index the rest.
However, each page that gets left off the index can be a missed opportunity, it is one that could serve users from organic traffic well.
Here are a few ways that you can take an active role in influencing Google to index more of your site’s pages:
To check if Google has indexed a particular page, you’ll need to use Google Search Console.
This is a free tool created by Google that helps website owners track their site’s performance in organic search and enables owners to make improvements.
Once you are set up with an account for your website, you will have access to tons of helpful information about your site’s pages. There are two ways to use Google Search Console to know if a page has been indexed by Google. One way is through Google Search Console itself, and the other is through Centori's integration with Google Search Console.
Let’s take a look at how we can use Console’s URL Inspection Tool to see if a page has been indexed or not.
Open Google Search Console. In the menu on the left-hand side, select “URL inspection.”
In the search bar at the top of the page, copy and paste the URL you would like to investigate.
For this example, we’ll be looking at our page about our Group Coaching program.
Hit “Enter,” and your report should load in a few seconds.
Ours turned out like this:
If you are looking into a URL that you’d like to have indexed on Google and your report comes out looking similar to the one pictured here, you’re in good shape.
Our page is indexed, and Google has given the green light for both mobile usability and HTTPS.
Let’s try another one. This time we entered the URL for a blog post, “14 ways to improve your blog’s conversion rate.”
After entering this URL into the tool, we got a much different response:
Turns out, this page has been discovered, but not indexed.
This is just one reason why a page may not be showing up in Google Search results, but there are many others as well.
If you’d like to read about the different errors your website can have that causes pages to not be indexed and learn how to fix them, check out our guide to using the Index Coverage Report.
If the thought of plugging URLs in to check if Google has indexed them sounds tedious, I don't blame you.
Not only do we not always have a handy list of pages to even check, taking time to run them through Google Search Console can add hours (okay usually minutes) to your day. Fortunately, our SEO software platform makes it super simple.
Centori crawls your website every week to log the pages in your account, and through our integration with Google Search Console you can easily see if a page has been indexed by Google and ask Google to re-crawl the page:
If you have a Centori account, rest assured we're checking your site every week and providing an easy way to know that Google has seen your content.
If the URL inspection tool shows you that your page isn’t being indexed, pay attention to their reasoning and make any needed fixes to the page.
Once you know the problem won’t happen again once the page revisited by Google, you can submit the page for reindexing, right from the URL inspection tool.
Run the report as you normally would, and then click on the “REQUEST REINDEXING” button that sits in the bottom right hand corner of the first window.
Once you hit the button, you’ll get this message after a few moments:
This will get your website to be re-crawled faster, although you still may need to wait a bit.
However, in the meantime, you can take other actions to make your site more crawlable for Google, such as submitting a sitemap or improving your internal linking structure, as mentioned above.
Having your site pages indexed by Google is necessary to drive organic traffic. Use Google Search Console to verify your pages are indexed, and troubleshoot ones that aren’t.
Indexing is one of the first steps in a long SEO journey to get the most out of your website. If you’d like a trusted guide to help you along your path, check out the range of services that Centori offers.
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