The 4 Most Common Google Indexing Issues Revealed
Google is open about trying to index as many pages as it can find, but even the company admits that it does not index every page. Numerous factors can lead to indexing issues, and they can range from a website being too new to technical errors that website owners need to take care of. In this article, we will be focusing on four of the most common of these issues, excluding new websites because it is obvious that it takes time for Google to index pages on new websites.
A sitemap is a list of all the assets you have on a website. This could be pages, posts, images and even attachments. A sitemap provides valuable information that Google uses to discover the pages on a website and understand how they are related so it knows how to index and rank them.
Adding an XML sitemap is one of the first things you should do after launching a website. Also, ensure the sitemap is updated every time you add or update content on your website so that it is discoverable by Google crawlers.
Orphan pages are those that do not have any links pointing to them. Remember that Google crawlers follow links on a website to discover new content; therefore, they cannot discover content that is not linked anywhere else on a website.
To remedy this, find all orphaned pages on your website. Next, find related content that you can add links to and do so. Then ensure the sitemap is updated and tell Google you have some indexing issues by submitting the pages you have just added links to using the URL submit page in Google Search Console.
Since the big changes in 2018, Google has been very keen on the quality of the pages it indexes. Some quality issues you should know about and take care of include thin, misleading, or biased content. Also, Google does not like keyword stuffing. This is where the content contains the same keyword too many times. This used to work in the past, but Google’s algorithms have got much better and you might be penalised for it. If your content does not provide value by way of content Google would like to show visitors, the pages containing that content are a lot less likely to be indexed.
Blocking Google Bot or Having a Noindex Tag
The robots.txt file on your website tells bots which pages to index and which to ignore. Having the line “User-agent: *Disallow: /” in this file means that bots are disallowed from indexing a page. If you are using a CMS like WordPress, you might also be discouraging bots from indexing the site due to using the wrong settings.
To rectify this, check the robots.txt file and remove this line. On WordPress, go to your admin dashboard and then to “Settings” and then “Reading”. Ensure that you have not checked the box that tells search engines to not index your website.
Your website cannot be ranked on Google if it is not indexed first. This could lead to low traffic volumes and even loss of revenue. Because of how serious this issue is, you need to find the underlying causes of your indexing issues and fix them.