Common Indexing Issues That Can Wreak Havoc On Your SEO Strategy
Face it: a page must be indexed before it can be found. The search engines must first crawl your site and all individual pages in order to index it. Once a page has been indexed, then it can appear in the SERPs and actually rank. Without indexing, there is no ranking and therefore no traffic. This is why the shift to mobile-first indexing had such an effect on many sites. The search engine giants decided that mobile pages would be indexed first since so many people are now searching from mobile devices. This paradigm shift has boosted many sites and left several dangling in the wind waiting for passerby traffic. However, there are several issues that can cause problems with i9ndexing and impact your SEO strategy. Here are a few of the most common.
Not Having A Site Map
Believe it or not, many sites operate without a site map. Of course, this is no crime, but it does make it harder for the search engines to crawl your site. The search-bots crawl each individual page and sort of jump from one to the other. After each page is crawled, it is indexed. A site map makes it easier for the search-bots to find every page on your site. It lists every page in an easy-for-bot-to-digest format. There are tools available on the internet that can help you build a site map. The process is fairly simple, and you don’t need to be a webmaster to complete it. However, once it is finished you will need to submit it to Google through their Google Search Console.
When search engines crawl websites, it does cost them a little money. It’s not a ton but it does add up when they are crawling an inordinate amount of pages daily. Slow server connections and broken links can be a great incentive for them to save some money and abandon a crawl. If the search engine starts crawling a site and finds that three out of the first five links it attempts are broken, it will abandon the crawl. The algorithm tells it to safely assume that there are probably many other broken links as well. It is best to audit your site regularly to find and correct any broken links or server errors. The Google Search Console will also display a list of crawl errors.
It is no secret that content is supposed to be unique on each page. However, many times the search bots run into pages that have similar chunks of information on them. When this happens, they perceive it to be duplicate content. Commerce sites run into this issue with product descriptions regularly. When the search bots see this, they determine that only one page is original and they only index one page. The page determined to be a duplicate does not get indexed. This can be quite a pain, especially if it is a mistake and similar content must appear on multiple pages. The only way to correct this issue is to re-write similar content so that each individual page can be indexed.
This is a whole different ballgame and too much for the scope of this article. This is what happens when a website may have too many links pointing to it from spammy sites, anchor text links are overly optimized and very poorly so, and other mistakes. When Google sees this, they may impose a manual penalty and the site won’t show up anywhere at all. Getting a manual penalty removed is a process and will require research, but it can be done.