Indexing

In order for web pages to be included within search results, they must be in Google’s index. Search engine indexing is a complex topic and is dependent on a number of different factors. Our SEO Office Hours Notes on indexing cover a range of best practices and compile indexability advice Google has released in their Office Hours sessions to help ensure your website’s important pages are indexed by search engines.

Anything Contained on Non-canonical Pages Will Not Be Used for Indexing Purposes

February 7, 2020 Source

When Google picks a canonical for a page, they will understand there is a set of pages, but only focus on the content and links of the canonical page. Anything that is only contained on the non-canonical versions will not be used for indexing purposes. If you have content on those pages that you would like to be indexed, John recommends ensuring they are different.


If a Robots.txt File Returns a Server Error for a Brief Period of Time Google Will Not Crawl Anything From the Site

January 31, 2020 Source

If a robots.txt file returns a server error for a brief period of time Google will not crawl anything from the website until they are able to access it and crawl normally again. During the period of time where they are blocked from reaching the file they would assume all URLs are blocked and would therefore flag this in GSC. You can use the robots.txt request in your server logs to identify where this has occurred by reviewing the response size and code that was returned during each request.


Google is Able to Display Structured Data Results as Soon as the Page Has Been Re-crawled

January 10, 2020 Source

After configuring pages to send structured data to Google, it will be able to display the structured data results the next time it crawls and indexes that page.


Technical Issues Can Cause Content to be Indexed on Scraper Sites Before Original Site

January 7, 2020 Source

If content on scraper sites is appearing in the index from those sites before the original site, this could be due to technical issues on the original site. For example, Googlebot might not be able to find main hub pages or category pages or may be getting stuck in crawl traps by following excess parameter URLs.


Google Doesn’t Show Preference to Multi Page Websites Over Single Page Websites in Rankings

November 12, 2019 Source

Google doesn’t have a preference for ranking websites with lots of pages over single page websites, the latter can rank well.


Make Category Pages Indexable & Internal Search Pages Non-indexable

November 12, 2019 Source

To get around URL duplication and index bloat issues, focus on providing high quality category pages and making sure that these are indexable, and noindex internal search pages as the different search combinations often create low-quality pages.


Use View Source or Inspect Element to Ensure Hidden Content is Readily Accessible in the HTML

November 1, 2019 Source

If you have content hidden behind a tab or accordion, John recommends using the view source or inspect element tool to ensure the content is in the HTML by default. Content pre-loaded on the HTML will be treated as normal content on the page, however, if it requires an interaction to load, Google will not be able to crawl or index it.


“Discovered Not Indexed” Pages May Show in GSC When Only Linked in Sitemap

October 29, 2019 Source

Pages may show as “Discovered Not Indexed” in GSC if they have been submitted in a sitemap but aren’t linked to within the site itself.


Google Checks Status Code Pages Before Attempting to Render

October 18, 2019 Source

Google checks the status code of a page before doing anything else, such as rendering content. This helps to identify which pages can be indexed and which pages it shouldn’t render. For example, if your page returns a 404, Google won’t render anything from it.


Related Topics

Crawling Crawl Budget Crawl Errors Crawl Rate Disallow Directives in Robots.txt Sitemaps Last Modified Nofollow Noindex RSS Canonicalization Fetch and Render