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An e-commerce publisher asked Google’s John Mueller why pages were not being indexed to get extra search engine traffic on his website. Mueller then suggested specific diagnostic tips and the value in the promotion to getting a site indexed. According to Mueller, Google sometimes needs encouragement to index a whole site.
In response, the site publisher revealed an important detail. The person who questioned the matter stated that a site colon search only showed a few pages indexed. However, of interest, he left out an important clue that John addressed after he had offered an extensive amount of information. John mentioned it but somewhat dismissed it as an ongoing problem. “So there’s a website… that is taking… longer to index.
And the current situation is, I have 170 valid pages in Search Console. But when I check it through site colon (site:), it just says three, four, sometimes five pages. So that has been happening for three to four months now. I’m not sure what the correct way to go from now on. It’s …an e-commerce website. And it has about less than 500 product pages.”
Google’s John Mueller says:
Google’s Mueller explained why the site colon search is not a good diagnostic tool for diagnosing problems with site indexing. “So, in general, I would not worry about the difference between a site/colon query shows and what Search Console shows. In practice, the site/colon query is not meant to be used for diagnostic purposes. So sometimes you do see quite different numbers. And for some sites, you see much lower numbers. For other sites, you see 100 times larger numbers.
And essentially, the numbers we show in the site query result are optimized for speed and to give (kind of) a sense of the website. But they’re not optimized to be comprehensive. So that’s where the Search Console numbers would come in.” “I think in general, if you’re talking about a site that is about 500 pages or so and after a period of several months only like 100 are indexed, that seems like something where probably you could do a lot better with minimal extra effort.
So that could be something where, what I would first of all check is just the technical side of things to make sure that technically everything is okay, that the website can be crawled. There are some website crawling tools available, I think they’re even free for very small websites, where you can check your site to see if it’s crawlable or not.” Oftentimes smaller sites can take advantage of free site auditing tools, as Mueller says. Since the index had been removed a couple of months ago, Mueller noted that switching to indexing could slow the indexing down. He returned to recommending that the publisher consider actively promoting the site, including promoting it on social media.
It doesn’t take much to get Google to index a smaller website like that, he said. According to Mueller, Google crawls through the links connecting one website to another. And it doesn’t take much in the way of links to encourage Google to index a smaller website like that.