What is Site Indexing and Why Does it Matter? 

A index helps search engines find websites online. They work like an encyclopedia or phone book. They’re a collection of website pages and addresses categorized based information the search engines find in the sites’ content and code. 

Google does its best to understand what every page in its index is about. When someone searches for something, say, shoes, Google or other search engines will search its index for pages that talk about shoes.  

Importance of Indexing Your Site 

If your website isn’t indexed, then Google won’t be able to find your pages, which means people who use Google won’t be able to find them either. 

Your pages or site won’t show up in organic (or non-paid) search results. An estimated 53% of traffic comes from organic search, so indexing your site is vital for your digital success. 

There are other reasons to care about your site being indexed. If your site, or pages on your site, have indexing issues, you might be losing out on SEO performance. 

In some cases, you’ll purposefully leave pages off the index (more on that later). However, if you’re not strategically preventing indexing, then you can do more harm than good. 

Here’s some proof. 

Case Study: What Happens When Your Site Has an Indexing Issue 

Last year we saw a site with an indexing issue for several days in February. During that short time, the site wasn’t registering any data on Google Search Console. Sure enough, when we performed a site:search, only one of the website’s pages popped up.

The rest of the website wasn’t in the Google index. Once we got the site indexed and performed some other basic fixes, we got the clicks to return to the website. 

site indexing issue affects organic traffic on a Google Search Console report

How to See if Your Site Is Indexed 

Complete a Site: Search 

This is an easy, free way to see if your site is showing up on Google. Simply go to the Google search engine and type in site:yourwebsite 

For example, if I wanted to complete a site search for Momentum Marketing Consultants, I’d type in site:momentumboost.com. 

Once you do that, you’ll be able to see all of the pages Google has in its index.  

completing a google site:search shows the indexed pages on your site

Understanding Noindex Tags 

Noindex tags ask Google not to index a page on your website. There are a few reasons to put a noindex tag on a page

Reasons to Add a Noindex Tag to a Website Page 

  • Promotions: If the page is a promotion you only want certain people to find (such as through an email campaign). 
  • Logins and Private Info: If the pages contain private content only your team should see (login pages, etc.).
  • Duplicate Content: You can use noindex or canonical tags to avoid indexing duplicate content on your website (such as a website page and e-book containing the same information). In this case, you would only want to put the tag on the page that you don’t want the search engine to find. 

There are other reasons to add noindex tags to your pages. However, we always recommend talking to your website developer or digital strategist before implementing or removing noindex tags. 

Indexing Your Website 

If your website isn’t indexed, you can use Google Search Console to submit your sitemap to Google, or ask Google to index individual pages. If a noindex tag is on your website or pages, ask your website developer or agency about why the tag is there and if it can or should be removed. 

Here’s a great guide with a variety of ways to find your sitemap. For many website owners, it’s as simple as typing your url/sitemap.xmp into the search bar. 

For example, our sitemap can be found at momentumboost.com/sitemap.xml 

Running Into Indexing Issues? We Can Help. 

If you’re running into indexing issues on search console or through other audits, don’t wait to fix the issue. Unintentional indexing errors can dramatically impact your traffic and shouldn’t be ignored.

If you need help, we can consult you through what needs to change and how to change it, or go in and fix it ourselves to preserve your traffic.