Mastering the Page Indexing Report in Google Search Console
Have you ever felt overwhelmed trying to navigate the complex world of Google Search Console and particularly its vital Page Indexing Report? Keep on reading to delve into the specifics of every part of the dashboard and how to properly understand and use it to ensure that your websites are indexed properly.
Importance of Google Search Console
Google Search Console serves as a powerful tool that can unveil valuable insights into your website's performance. By enabling you to monitor and maintain your online presence in Google Search results, it empowers you to make data-driven decisions and improve your site’s overall SEO. Moreover, utilising its capabilities can considerably impact your organic search traffic.
One of the main features of Google Search Console is the Page Indexing Report, a centralised hub where you can analyse and manage crucial aspects of your website's indexation within Google Search. How many pages have been indexed, how many haven't, and crucially why haven't they been indexed.
It is crucial to understand the functionality of the dashboard and know the different indexing statuses accurately. This knowledge will aid in achieving optimal index coverage and help you to fix any potential issues with your website and ultimately a much happier life.
What is the Page Indexing Report?
The Page Indexing Report consists of several key components that provide indispensable information about your site's indexing process. It displays data on the total number of indexed pages, indexing errors, and warnings, allowing you to take proactive measures to address any potential issues affecting your site's performance in Google Search results.
The heart of the Page Indexing Report is the Index Coverage Status. This section displays a comprehensive overview of your website's index status, divided into two categories: Not Indexed, and Indexed, simple right. Put simply, indexed pages will show up in search results while non-indexed pages will not. The objective is to maximize the size of the green bars while minimizing or eliminating the presence of the grey ones.
Let's breakdown every component of the report in detail.
Selecting Source of Pages
At the top of the Page indexing report, you'll see a selection menu that lets you filter the report according to page sources. This is primarily useful to allow you to see a much more accurate report based on pages that you have specifically submitted to Google or to focus in on particular sitemaps to review for very large websites.
The options you can choose between are as follows:
All known pages: Any webpage known to Google through sitemaps, crawling, or manual submissions.
All submitted pages: Any page from one of your sitemaps or manually submitted.
Unsubmitted pages only: Pages that have not been submitted to Google, including pages discovered through crawling that are absent from your sitemap.
Filter to sitemaps: Ability to select a specific individual sitemap to view.
Learn more about how to add sitemaps to Google Search Console
Last Updated Date
The Page Indexing Report has an important element that should not be overlooked: the last updated date. As the name suggests, this indicates when the report was last refreshed. It's crucial to keep in mind that Google deals with a vast number of pages on a daily basis and therefore cannot update the status of each new page every day.
Your report will be updated approximately every 3-4 days. If you're waiting for new pages to appear and want to check if they've been indexed, don't worry if the date is still before you requested indexing. The pages won't show up until the report has been updated.
Index Summary & Timeline
The core visual component of the Page indexing report is the summary timeline which gives you a very quick visual representation of your indexing success journey. Let's break this down into its core functionality.
Page Indexing Count
Located at the top of the report, a brief overview of the total number of pages indexed and not indexed can be located. Pages that have been indexed are represented by green while unindexed pages are in grey. Click on either of the index categories to filter them out of the timeline below.
The page indexing timeline, shows the historical index status for every page for the last three months. The bar chart will be broken into the two core categories of indexed and not indexed, these categories are stacked, allowing you to get a very quick visual view into how your website is progressing in terms of getting every page indexed.
A few things to point out:
The report's date range is fixed to three months and cannot be altered.
To better understand how indexed pages are affecting your impressions, simply click the Impression check box located above the timeline. This will overlay your search impressions data and provide valuable insights.
Look out for numbered circles below the timeline, these are important as the signify an issue has been detected. These should be reviewed and validated where necessary.
Indexed Pages Report
After the timeline, you'll notice a sizable button labeled "View data about indexed pages". This will bring you to a comprehensive report that focuses solely on your green pages - those that Google has fully indexed and are appearing in search results. The report is designed similarly to the historical timeline of indexed pages, but also includes a table containing URLs and their respective last crawl dates.
Why pages aren’t indexed
So now onto probably the most important part of the Page Indexing report, understanding why certain pages aren't being indexed. Important to remember if your page is not indexed it will never appear in Google Search results. If you site has any problems with indexing this will be your one stop shop to diagnose and find the problems that need resolving.
The issues table provides a detailed list of reasons why Google has not indexed certain pages, the number of pages affected, and whether the problem originates from the website or Google. Additionally, you can track your progress by checking the validation status after addressing an issue and requesting verification for a specific reason.
For a breakdown of potential issues see the following sections.
Troubleshooting common issues with website indexing
Understanding and fixing common indexing issues is paramount to ensuring your website performs well in Google Search results. Let's discuss some of the most frequent problems encountered and how to tackle them.
Discovered - currently not indexed
Pages that Google is aware off, but has not yet actually crawled the URL. These pages will eventually scheduled to be crawled, but there are no guarantees that they will actually get indexed. It's likely that you should wait for a few days to see if the pages start to get crawled properly, otherwise you can manually inspect each URL and manually request indexing to try and push the page through as a priority.
Crawled - currently not indexed
Pages that have been crawled by Google but are not indexed essentially means that the search engine has analyzed the content of these pages but hasn't yet included them in the actual index. It's normal to not have all of your pages indexed right away, so don't worry. Sometimes some pages get indexed quickly while others take a long time. This all depends on how important Google considers your page, which determines the speed of indexing.
If you have pages stuck in this state, you have two options, you can manually request indexing of each page on by one through inspecting the URL in Google Search Console or you can use an indexing service like Tag Parrot that can automate this process in bulk for you. Either way the requests will be prioritised and processed in a few days.
Learn more about auto indexing pages to Google
Alternate page with proper canonical tag
Pages marked as "Alternate page with proper canonical tag" have been deemed as duplicates or near-duplicates of another indexed URL, which is identified as the canonical version. Google has a preference for indexing a single, unique version of your content to avoid diluting the importance of individual pages in search results.
It's probably unnecessary to worry about this issue, as Google is informing you that the correct canonical page has already been indexed. Therefore, there's no need to index this specific page. However, it is essential to verify that any pages listed under this reason are genuinely intended as alternate or duplicate pages. If you come across any pages that don't seem like they should be included, ensure the actual canonical tag set on the page is correct to avoid issues.