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Any company that has a website should already view that domain as an online sales representative—when well executed with a content marketing campaign, it can drive traffic and leads. The next step with that website should be to ensure that Google recognizes that website. The search king does this by finding, crawling, and indexing individual web pages.
Google finds web pages (unique URLs) through links and XML sitemaps submitted to Google Webmaster Tools. Google crawls the web pages that it finds to determine the value of the content on the page as it relates to search users and their queries. It then indexes the pages based on those determinations (think of it as an enormous library of web pages that Google has cataloged).
If you’ve set up your website correctly within Google Webmaster Tools, you’ve already submitted an XML sitemap (or had an awesome online marketing company like Blue Corona do it for you).
But what happens when you submit your sitemap and there are indexed and non-indexed pages? Lucky for you, that’s what I’m here for!
What Does “Indexed Pages” Mean?
Indexed pages have been found by search crawlers (like the spiders for Google) and deemed to have enough quality for relevant search phrases. Indexed pages will show up in search results and can drive organic traffic to your site.
In the example below, you can see that 137 pages from this company’s website have been indexed by Google:
What Does “Non-Indexed pages” Mean?
Google doesn’t guarantee that it will crawl (or thus index) every URL of your website. If your website is new or you’ve recently added a lot of new pages to your site, those may not yet be indexed. With the millions of domains out there, it takes Google a while to crawl through and index each of them to best benefit their search users. If you’ve recently added or updated your sitemap, give it time before new pages are indexed.
If it has been a while and Google still lists many of the pages in your sitemap as “non-indexed” there may be a bigger issue with either the quality of your pages or the structure of your sitemap. Pages that Google will often not index include:
- Blog category pages
- Blog author pages
- Pages that are indexed under another domain (www.example.com and not example.com)
- Pages with 404 or server errors
- Pages with coding or a canonical tag that is telling Google to ignore it
- Low-quality pages or duplicate/identical content on different pages
How Can I Get Google to Index More Pages?
Rather than getting hung up on how many pages are “non-indexed,” focus instead on ensuring that each page on your site has high-quality content that users will find valuable. But, if you find that the number of pages you’ve submitted doesn’t match the number of indexed pages by Google, there are a few things you can do to ensure that Google values each and every page of your sitemap:
- Include relevant content in each of your website’s pages
- Increase your website’s authority by getting more links from authoritative sites
- Make your website pages easy for Google to find
- Submit your updated sitemaps to Google Webmaster Tools
- Focus on creating and distributing remarkable content
What I’m basically telling you is that, yes, sometimes you will have both indexed and non-indexed pages in the Index Status of your Google Webmaster Tools. Focusing on this discrepancy really should just highlight a bigger problem—Google isn’t putting any value to the non-indexed pages. This means that they won’t be able to rank, get your website visitors, and (the mack daddy goal of them all) turn visitors into leads from organic search traffic.
If you need help managing your company’s website, Google Webmaster Tools, or sitemap, contact us today. We’d be happy to help you out and ensure that your online presence is helping to grow your business. Call us today!
About The Author: Hannah is the SEO Team Lead at Blue Corona. If she's not busy daydreaming about the training session for her team, you can find her improving client conversion rates and planning her next trip.
View more blogs by Hannah Nelson