Indexability

What is Indexability?

Indexability is the ability of a web page to be crawled and indexed by a search engine.

Only pages that have been indexed can be shown in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Search engines like Google use a 3-step process to index each page:

  1. Discovery – The search engine spider discovers a new URL for the first time
  2. Crawlabiltiy – It crawls and downloads the page information
  3. Processing – The search engine processes and understands the page content before storing it in the index

what is indexability

If the search engine can’t complete all three steps, it won’t be able to index the page.

For example, if Google discovers your website but can’t crawl it because of your Robots.txt file – Your site won’t be added to the index.

That’s why indexability is so important!

It’s the first step to ensuring that your website can be found by others and Google can refer traffic to it.

Whenever you create a new site or web page, it’ essential to make sure it can be indexed by Google.

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What Factors Affect Indexability?

These are the four biggest factors that affect indexability:

Crawlability

It costs money for search engines like Google to crawl and index the web.

That means that Google prioritises websites that make it easy for them to crawl the site.

The amount of resources that Google allots to a website for crawling is called the crawl budget.

Think of it like the amount of money Google is willing to spend to crawl your website. If your website isn’t easy to crawl, it will negatively affect its indexability.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content issues confuse search engines, ultimately stopping them from indexing your site.

They are typically caused by multiple website versions or issues with URL variations.

duplicate content

The good news is that canonical tags make duplicate content issues easily solvable.

Technical SEO Issues

Google wants you to have a clean website.

That means ensuring everything works well on the website’s front and back end.

Technical issues on your website can create crawl barriers which prevent search engines from crawling your pages properly.

Too many of these types of issues can lead to Google not indexing your website.

Noindex Tags

You’d be surprised how many website owners make the mistake of simply having noindex tags or directives on their website.

Noindext tags are a command given to Google to stop them from crawling and indexing your website.

This is one of the first things you should check if you are experiencing indexability issues.

What Is The Difference Between Crawlability And Indexability?

Crawlability means search engine bots (crawlers) can easily access and navigate your website.

Indexability means search engines can understand your website’s content and list it in the search results.

crawling vs indexing

For example, Google might be able to crawl your website content but choose not to index it.

You need to optimise both elements to ensure your website is indexed properly.

What factors do you need to optimise?

For crawlability, pay attention to factors such as:

  • Site structure
  • Robots.txt rules
  • Internal linking
  • Website load speed
  • Mobile-friendliness

Factors that affect indexability include:

  • Noindex meta tags
  • Content quality
  • Technical SEO

The bottom line is this…

Enhancing crawlability boosts the likelihood of your pages being indexed, but indexability ultimately determines whether your pages show up in the search results.

How To Make Your Website More Indexable

Follow these steps to make your website more indexable:

1. Website Structure

A well-organised website structure helps search engines navigate your site more efficiently.

This lowers the cost it takes to crawl your website. That means Google will crawl and index your site more regularly.

Who doesn’t want that, right?

Use a clear hierarchy and logical categories to improve your site’s indexability.

A silo structure is considered the best type of website structure for modern websites.

what is an silo structure

2. Fix Crawl Errors

As your website ages…

Technical SEO and crawl errors will appear. It’s just part of running a website!

Check your website for crawl errors regularly.

Use tools like the:

Fixing these types of errors ensures search engines can efficiently crawl and index your pages.

3. Create Great Content

Publish high-quality, engaging content that provides real value to your audience.

Unique and informative content is more likely to be indexed and ranked by search engines. Write content that engages your audience using your personal experience and unique perspective.

Remember:

Great content also includes visual aids like images, videos, tables, call-out boxes and graphics to make it stand out.

4. Internal Linking

Think of an internal link like a bridge between your website pages.

Internal Linking

Use internal linking to connect your content together and guide search engines through your site.

This will help boost the indexability of your pages and also improve user experience.

5. Submit URLs To Google

Actively submit new or updated URLs to Google through Google Search Console.

google search console request indexing

This will speed up the indexing process by alerting Google to new changes on your website.

Follow this submit URL to Google tutorial to learn the fastest way to do it!

How Do I Check If A Page Is Indexed?

The easiest way to check if a page is indexed is simply by using Google.

Head over to Google and do the following search:

checking if a page is indexed on Google

If you see your page in the search results, you can be sure that Google has indexed it correctly!

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