One challenge that local business websites face is getting their pages indexed by Google. Or in some cases, you might find that while some pages get indexed quickly, other pages (important one) might not get indexed by Google just as quickly.
Why does this happen?
Before getting down to answering why this happens, you need to first understand why it is so important to get indexed?
Here’s why – it is only when Google indexes a website page, will users be able to find that page in their search results.
However, in a lot of cases, this does not happen. And because of this, your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) gets affected. This is especially true for websites with a large number of products/services pages.
If this is a challenge you are facing with your local business website, then continue reading to know more about where you are going wrong and what you can do to quickly rectify the situation.
Reasons why Google is not Indexing your Website Pages
There are several reasons why Google does not index pages or does not index them quickly enough. Of course, factors such as links and the quality of your content are often considered as common reasons for this to happen. However, many other factors can influence the outcome of your pages getting indexed.
This is what Google has to say on the matter – “The Internet is a big place; new content is being created all the time. Google has a finite number of resources, so when faced with the nearly-infinite quantity of content that’s available online, Googlebot is only able to find and crawl a percentage of that content. Then, of the content we’ve crawled, we’re only able to index a portion.”
Here are the top reasons why Google is probably not indexing your website pages.
Crawl errors can be one of the top reasons why Google is unable to index your website pages.
Sometimes, Google bots can see your page but they still cannot crawl your site. When this happens, Google will show a crawl error – “crawled but are not currently not indexed.”
In some cases, Google might show a crawl error – “discovered but currently not indexed” which typically impacts sites with a very large number of pages, such as large e-commerce sites.
Here’s where you are probably going wrong;
Using NOINDEX Tag
Commands such as the NOINDEX tag inform Google bots not to or disallow the bots to crawl through your site.
At times duplicate content can lead to your pages not getting indexed by Google. This usually happens when duplicate content is being used by competitors (same description used by a manufacturer) or with websites that maintain different versions of the same page (to target different audiences segments).
Using ROBOT.TXT file
The ROBOT.TXT file or tag informs Google bots which pages they are supposed to crawl and also the pages that are not meant to be crawled. In other words, Google bots will not able to crawl specific URLs that are blocked in your ROBOT.TXT file.
Not Using Sitemaps
A sitemap outlines your website and helps Google’s search bots to discover, crawl, and index your site’s content and web pages. Sitemaps also inform Google about the most important pages and thus should be indexed.
Hence, websites without a sitemap can face Google indexing challenges.
Another factor that can lead to indexing challenges is the canonical tag. A canonical tag is necessary if you have duplicate or similar content displayed in different URLs and it becomes necessary to specify which versions of the content are the main versions and should be indexed.
If you don’t use canonical tag, Google bots will have no way of understanding the difference between same or similar content – Google will simply consider the content as duplicate content and not index your page.
5 Ways to make sure your Site gets Indexed by Google
Now that you know which factors can lead to your site not getting indexed by Google, let us look at some of the solutions you should focus on to ensure that your website pages get indexed quickly.
Ensure you have a Robust Crawling Strategy in Place
As mentioned above, crawling errors are among the top reasons why your site pages might not get indexed by Google. The best way to prevent this from happening is by putting into place a robust crawling strategy. Ensure Google gets clear signals on which pages are of high value – this way Google will know which pages to find, crawl, and index quickly as opposed to wasting too much time on low-value pages and then taking too long to get to your high-value pages.
Use Internal Linking
Internal linking tells Google which page on your site is important and should be indexed. So make sure you include all important pages in your sitemap – this will help direct Google’s search bots to your most important pages.
Use ROBOT.TXT File and NOINDEX Tag
Not every page on your website needs to be indexed. These are often low-value pages that don’t necessarily need to be indexed. Again, the best way to ensure that you highlight high-value pages is by including them in your sitemap. Also, make sure you use commands such as ROBOT.TXT file and NOINDEX tag to inform Google which pages should not be crawled.
Deal with “Soft 404” Signals
To make sure your site pages get readily indexed by Google, it is important to ensure that your pages don’t contain elements that could indicate soft 404 errors. So make sure you don’t have “404” or “Not found” or “Not available” in the copy within the page URL since these can impact your domain quality on the whole.
Ensure Consistency in your SEO Signals
Consistency in your SEO signals to Google is important if you want to ensure your website pages get indexed quickly.
There are a sea of web pages that need to get indexed to ensure search is fresh, relevant, and optimized for users. Remember, new pages keep getting added to the web daily. And so finding, crawling, and indexing each of these pages is not easy for Google. The best way to ensure your website pages get indexed by Google is to make it easy for the search giant to find, crawl, and index your pages, to begin with. Use the above mentioned best practices to make sure your best pages get crawled and are visible in SERPs