Stephen Ostermiller's Blog

SEO Myth: It is a problem if Google doesn’t index every page of a site

Many webmasters get alarmed when they check the Google Search Console coverage reports and find that Google isn't indexing every page on their site. However, this is normal. Google rarely indexes every page on any site.

If you check Google search console and find a few pages are not indexed, it is not a reason to panic. Google chooses not to index a significant portion of pages across the web. It doesn't usually indicate any sort of problem with your site if there are a few pages that are not indexed. If 90% of your pages are indexed, you are doing very well.

There are many reasons that Google may not choose to index a page:

  • It is too new. For popular sites ,Google may index new pages in hours or days. However for new sites, Google may take a month or two to index content.
  • The content is available elsewhere. When Google finds the same content on two different URLs, it generally chooses one to index and ignores the other. If a page isn't indexed it may just be a case that the same page is available under a different URL on your own site and is indexed at the alternate URL.
  • The content isn't linked. Google won't index a URL if it doesn't have much PageRank. To get indexed, a page needs links from other indexed pages. Links from your own site are good, but external links are even better. Just having a URL included in an XML sitemap without also linking to it isn't usually enough to get it indexed.
  • There was a crawler error. Google may have encountered a temporary error crawling the page such as a timeout or a "500 internal server error." When that happens, Google may choose to not index the page until it crawls it again.
  • The content is low quality. Google may not index pages that have very poor grammar, very poor spelling, severly broken HTML, thin content, or spam.
  • The content is low interest. If nobody is likely to be searching for the keywords in the page, Google may choose not to include the page in the search index.

Almost all sites have some pages that don't get indexed at any given time. I've never worked with a site that has 100% index coverage. Because there are so many reasons a page could drop out of the index, a few tend to do so at any given time. You only need to take action if Google isn't indexing many pages from your site at all.

This article was written as part of a series about SEO myths.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *