Why Isn't Google Indexing My Website? Top Reasons Explained

Written by .

Published .

Understanding Google's Indexing Process

Google's Indexing Process Explained

Each web page indexed by Google is stored in a massive database utilized to generate search results. Google's index reportedly contained over 400 billion documents by 2020 (Zyppy), with an understanding that extends to more than 130 trillion web pages (Search Engine Land). Even with such numbers, less than 5% of the internet is indexed by Google—the remainder is the deep web, beyond the reach of standard search queries (Wikipedia).

Googlebot: Indexing's Workhorse

Googlebot, Google's web crawler, trawls the internet to find and evaluate new or updated pages for indexing. Its crawl frequency is influenced by factors delineated by SEO experts, such as a site's popularity, content quality, technical SEO, and the number of inbound links. Yet, some pages are skipped over due to low content quality, technical SEO issues, or guideline violations, which affects their eligibility for indexing.

Insights from Google Search Console on Indexing

Google Search Console is a practical tool for enhancing a site's indexing status. It provides insights such as indexing reports, notifications of issues, and options to request indexing. While initial indexing could take from days to weeks, frequent use of Google Search Console may accelerate the process (The Leverage Way). Prioritizing the crawl budget and managing your site's technical optimizations is essential for focusing on quality content.

Steps to Improve Indexing

For sites facing indexing challenges, here are steps suggested by Ahrefs to consider:

  1. Use Google Search Console to request page re-indexing.
  2. Assess and rectify any crawl budget limitations.
  3. Verify that content adheres to Google's quality requirements.
  4. Implement robust internal links to promote key pages.
  5. Boost the backlink profile to gain more authority.

These measures can substantially improve the likelihood of your site being indexed, which in turn, boosts online presence and organic search traffic.


Top Reasons Your Site May Not Be Indexed by Google

Understanding why Google isn't indexing your site can often be attributed to a few common areas. Below is an analysis of typical indexing obstacles and how to navigate them:

Content Quality and Duplicate Content

  • Uniqueness is Key: Google places a high value on original, valuable content. Duplicate content may result in indexing problems, as Google's goal is to present varied search results.
    • Duplicate Content Statistics: Reports suggest that 25% to 30% of the internet consists of duplicate content (source). While not directly penalized by Google, this can influence your pages' search rankings.
    • Managing Duplicate Content: Focus on crafting unique content for your audience. Employ canonical tags to specify your preferred pages if similar content exists (source).

Indexing Roadblocks

  • Blocked Pages: Pages may be excluded due to robots.txt files or noindex directives (source).
  • New Website Launch: Newly launched sites may not yet be on Google's radar, a common issue for new online ventures (source).
  • Crawled but Not Indexed: There are cases where Google finds URLs but does not crawl them. This is especially true for small sites with high-quality content (source).

Overcoming Google Indexing Issues

  • Indexing Requests: Utilize Google Search Console to prompt a re-crawl and reconsideration of your website for indexing (source).

Technical Aspects and Core Web Vitals

  • Core Web Vitals: These metrics are vital for user experience and include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
    • Benchmark Thresholds: A "good" rating requires that at least 75 percent of page views meet the standards, such as LCP of 2.5 seconds or less and FID of 100 milliseconds or less (source).
    • Improving Core Web Vitals: Actions like implementing browser caching, establishing fixed image dimensions, and optimizing rendering strategies can enhance Core Web Vitals (source).

Proactive SEO Audit

Address core problems with a detailed SEO audit:

  • Mobile-Friendliness: Google gives priority to sites that perform well on mobile devices (source).
  • Speed Optimization: Identify and remove elements that slow down your site (source).
  • Internal Structure: Confirm that your site's internal links are well-structured, aiding in better indexing (source).

Addressing these elements can greatly improve your website's indexation with Google, enhancing its visibility.


Diagnosing Indexing Issues with Google Search Console

Effectively monitoring and resolving issues that prevent web pages from appearing in Google's search results is crucial. The Google Search Console offers essential features for this purpose — the Index Coverage Report and the URL Inspection Tool. These tools are key to enhancing your website's online presence.

Diagnose with the Index Coverage Report

To address indexation problems, use the following steps:

  1. Access the Index Coverage Report via Google Search Console.
  2. Examine the indexed and non-indexed pages list, noting their status.
  3. Look for pages marked as "Discovered - not indexed," which may indicate challenges for Google.

The report provides labels like "Crawled - currently not indexed." As Onely notes, the Index Coverage Report reveals whether pages are part of Google's extensive index, which includes over 130 trillion individual pages (Search Engine Land). However, Google indexes a small fraction of the internet, with much content remaining unsearchable (Wikipedia).

Analyze with the URL Inspection Tool

For a deeper analysis of indexing status:

  1. Input the URL into the Search Console's URL Inspection Tool.
  2. Review the page’s index status details.

The tool checks if the URL is indexed or identifies errors preventing it. Issues like duplicate content and insufficient content quality may emerge as obstacles (ThemeIsle). Updating a URL may take time for Google to process, with priority given to more important URLs (Search Engine Land).

Addressing and Monitoring Index Coverage Issues

Reasons for index coverage issues, such as "Discovered - not indexed," can vary. It may take Google over a week to begin crawling new pages (Google Support). Restrictions from 'noindex' directives or robots.txt files can also block indexing (Google Developers).

A notable number of pages, approximately 16%, may never be indexed (Search Engine Journal). Site owners are advised to address issues and then use the URL Inspection Tool to request a re-crawl to improve the chances of indexing.

Mastering the Index Coverage Report and the URL Inspection Tool enables webmasters to find and fix issues that prevent content from being indexed. These efforts can significantly impact a site's searchability, with Google leading the global search engine market (SEMrush).

Practical Steps to Increase Your Site's Indexability

Enhancing Website Crawlability and User Experience

Improving your website's crawlability can be achieved with a few targeted changes. These not only help search engine bots but also create a better experience for human visitors:

  • Simplify Site Structure: Make sure content is easy to find by using a clear, logical structure.
  • Optimize Internal Linking: Provide accessible links to important pages to distribute link equity.

Brian Harnish at Search Engine Journal emphasizes the importance of a navigable website for users and search engines alike. Onely also points out the role of internal links in website indexing (Onely).

Sitemaps: Gateway to Efficient Indexing

Sitemaps are an important component in search engine optimization. They inform search engines about the content ready for indexing:

  1. Create an XML Sitemap: This guide helps Googlebot locate all crucial pages.
  2. Refine Your Sitemap: Only include pages that should be indexed to simplify the crawl process, as advised by Tomek Rudzki of Moz.
  3. Use Google Search Console for Submission: This alerts Google to your site's structure and can enhance crawl efficiency.

While a sitemap aids in content discovery, it does not ensure every page will be indexed. This is detailed by Google Developers.

Understanding Googlebot Crawling

Crawling frequency by Googlebot is not fixed and varies based on factors such as:

  • For New Websites: Expect a crawl every few weeks.
  • For Established Websites: These may see daily visits from Googlebot.

A site's crawl rate depends on its size, age, and frequency of updates. Insights on this topic are available from SEOsly and Ayima.

Page Load Speed's Role in SEO

Page load speed is a key factor in SEO:

  • Google's Load Time Benchmark: Ideal load time is under 2 seconds.
  • SEO Visibility: Faster loading sites often rank better.

For top performance in 2023, aim for page load times below 0.5 seconds when possible. Average load times are generally around 2.5 seconds for desktop and 8.6 seconds for mobile. References like Boostability and SEMrush discuss the impact of speed on SEO.

Linking plays a critical role in SEO:

Internal Links:

  • Facilitate navigation.
  • Define the site's information hierarchy.
  • Distribute link equity.

External Links:

  • Act as indicators of credibility to search engines.

The structure of your site can affect engagement metrics such as bounce rate and session duration. For more information on this, refer to Search Engine Journal.

By improving your site's usability, maintaining an up-to-date sitemap, monitoring crawl frequency, focusing on fast page loads, and employing smart linking practices, you enhance search engine optimization efforts and your overall online visibility.

Advanced Indexing Tactics: Technical SEO and Beyond

Tackling Indexing Issues with JavaScript

JavaScript-heavy pages can challenge Googlebot's ability to crawl and index. Here's how to overcome these challenges:

  • Open access to JavaScript and CSS files for Googlebot.
  • Use server-side rendering or hybrid rendering techniques.
  • Streamline JavaScript to avoid crawling impediments. Reference Search Engine Journal for detailed guidance.
  • Implement SEO-friendly frameworks like React for their virtual DOM efficiency, as recommended by Reddico.

Prioritizing Mobile Indexing in SEO

Mobile search is now predominant, accounting for 59.01% of internet traffic as of January 2024 (Exploding Topics). It's essential to prioritize mobile indexing:

  • Adopt responsive design for compatibility with various screen sizes.
  • Use Google's Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool to evaluate mobile optimization. Search Engine Journal provides a how-to guide.
  • Mobile devices contribute to 63% of Google's organic search traffic in the US (Oberlo).

Managing HTTP Status Codes and Redirects

Correct HTTP status code implementation is crucial for indexation:

  • Ensure your server returns a 200 OK status for indexable pages.
  • Avoid "soft 404" errors that negatively impact indexing.
  • Reduce redirect chains and pages with redirects to conserve crawl budget, as per Google Developers recommendations.

404 and 5xx are the most common HTTP errors affecting SEO. Addressing these errors swiftly is vital for maintaining a healthy website, according to W3.

Resolving Google Indexing Issues

If you're experiencing "google not indexing site" or "discovered but not indexed" statuses, take these steps:

  • Check and improve your site's crawl rate. Aim for server response times around 100ms, as suggested by John Mueller (Lumar).
  • Address crawl budget issues. Optimize redirects and eliminate "soft 404" errors based on guidance from Google Developers).
  • Direct "page with redirect" to the intended content without excessive chains.
  • Understand that indexing new content may take Google over a week, requiring patience (Google Support).

In conclusion, focus on JavaScript optimization, mobile accessibility, HTTP status codes, and technical SEO to improve your site's indexability.

When to Seek Professional Help with Indexing

Struggling with your website not being indexed by Google? This can be due to a myriad of underlying issues. As Onely suggests, tackling these without understanding the root causes can be a futile exercise, underscored by their insight that "fixing the issue without knowing the indexing problems' root causes is often futile". Enlisting professional SEO services could be the key to resolving these complex challenges.

SEO specialists are equipped to assist you with:

  • Identifying and resolving technical SEO issues.
  • Developing and refining internal linking strategies for better content discoverability.
  • Conducting core web vitals optimization to enhance user experience.
  • Ensuring server responses meet standards, with API times below 200ms as deemed efficient by Google PageSpeed Insights.

After a thorough analysis of your website's intrinsic barriers, SEO professionals can offer tailored solutions, such as:

  • Ironing out issues with redirection.
  • Tackling potential JavaScript and mobile usability obstacles that may prevent Googlebot's access.

With their expertise and specialized tools, SEO consultants can significantly increase the likelihood of your content being indexed and visible in search engine results.

Striving for an SEO visibility score in the range of 35% to 45% aligns with the click rates of leading URLs, as documented by Moz. Also, according to data from BrightEdge via Highervisibility, a robust SEO strategy can yield more than tenfold the traffic compared to organic social media, making it a key driver of user engagement.

The SEO visibility score measures the probability of your site appearing in search results and garners clicks, as defined by SEMrush. SEO brings cumulative benefits over time, generally taking 3-6 months to see results but leading to sustained traffic increases over time, as per WebFX.

Problems such as "Discovered – currently not indexed" can stem from a range of issues, including subpar content quality, inadequate internal linking, or an under-optimized crawl budget. Addressing each of these issues requires specific tactics for resolution as indicated by Onely.

Here are actionable internal linking strategies for SEO:

  • Employ descriptive anchor text in internal links to add context.
  • Construct a clear site architecture hierarchy.
  • Conduct regular audits to identify and fix broken internal links.

Effective internal linking facilitates easier user navigation and helps distribute page authority across the website. This strategy plays a vital role in tandem with content quality and crawl budget optimization, leading to improved indexing, as outlined by Conductor).

Consider these additional tactics to bolster your website's indexability and search engine rankings:

  1. Focus on core web vitals, including loading speed, user interactivity, and visual stability.
  2. Monitor server response times regularly to ensure they remain below the 200ms recommendation (DataDome).
  3. Optimize your SEO on a budget by concentrating on local SEO strategies, utilizing free tools, and maximizing current resources (Smart Insights).

By diligently working with expert help, you can address and resolve obstacles to indexing, boost your SEO score, and gain greater visibility online.