Why Pages Fall Out of Google Index and How to Fix It
Pages can fall out of Google’s search index for various reasons.
Here are some common reasons Pages fall out of the index:
- Technical Errors: A technical error on your website can lead to pages dropping out of Google’s index. This might include errors in your robots.txt file, which tells search engines which pages to crawl, or HTTP errors on individual pages.
- Noindex meta tag: If a page has a noindex meta tag, Google will remove it from its index. Sometimes, these tags can be added accidentally, or a site-wide noindex might be left in place after a site redesign or migration.
- Canonical Issues: If deemed duplicate content, Google might deindex a page because a canonical tag points Google to a different page.
- Manual Actions: If Google determines that a page or site violates its webmaster guidelines, it can take manual action to deindex the page or site. This is often the result of black-hat SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, or participation in link schemes.
- Low Quality Content: Google strives to provide the best possible content to its users. If a page is deemed low quality, it may be dropped from the index. This could include thin content, automatically generated content, or content that is not useful to users.
- Website Not Being Updated: If the website is not updated frequently or the content is stale, Google might crawl the website less often, leading to pages falling out of the index.
- URL Changes or Redirection Issues: If you’ve recently restructured your site or made changes to the URL of a page without implementing proper 301 redirects, the page might fall out of Google’s index.
- Server Issues: If Google’s crawlers have trouble accessing your site due to server issues, such as the server being down when Google attempts to crawl your site, your pages may be deindexed.
- Mobile-First Indexing Issues: As of March 2021, Google uses mobile-first indexing for the entire web. This means it predominantly uses the mobile version of a page for indexing and ranking. If your site has mobile usability issues, it might affect your page’s presence in the index.
If you find pages disappearing from Google’s index, you can use tools like Google Search Console to diagnose and fix the issues. The specific action needed will depend on the cause of the deindexing.
What do you do if your page falls out of index?
If your page falls out of the Google index, there are several steps you can take to investigate and resolve the issue:
- Check Google Search Console: Google Search Console is a valuable resource for understanding how your website interacts with Google’s search engine. You can check for any crawl errors, manual actions, or security issues that Google has identified.
- Review Your Robots.txt File: This file tells search engines which pages or sections of your site to crawl. Ensure you have not accidentally disallowed the page that has been deindexed.
- Look for Noindex Tags: If a page is tagged with a “noindex” meta tag, it will not appear in Google’s index. You can check the HTML of your page to see if this tag is present.
- Check Canonical Tags: If a page has a canonical tag pointing to a different URL, Google may decide only to index the canonical version. Make sure the canonical tags on your site are used correctly.
- Improve Content Quality: If the content on your page is thin, duplicated, or of low quality, Google may choose not to index it. Review the quality of your content and make improvements where necessary.
- Check Your URL Structures: If you’ve recently changed the URL of the page, ensure you’ve set up a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one. This tells Google and other search engines where the content has moved to.
- Check Server Accessibility: Ensure your server runs smoothly and your site’s load time optimizes. Google may deindex pages of sites that are consistently slow or down.
- Ensure Mobile Usability: With Google’s mobile-first indexing, your site must be mobile-friendly. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to identify any issues.
- Resubmit to Google: Once you’ve made changes to rectify the issues, you can ask Google to recrawl and index your page. This can be done through the “URL Inspection” tool in Google Search Console.
Remember, SEO changes can take time to have an effect, and it may take a while for your page to appear back in the index. Be patient, and continue monitoring Google Search Console for updates.
How Common are pages falling out of the index?
It’s difficult to quantify exactly how common it is for pages to fall out of Google’s index, as it depends on a range of factors, including the size of the website, the nature of the content, the technical setup, and how well the site adheres to Google’s guidelines.
However, it’s worth noting that fluctuations in indexation are fairly common and can be part of Google’s normal operation. For example, Google might temporarily drop pages from its index as part of regularly refreshing and updating of its search results.
In general, it’s more common for lower-quality pages or pages with technical issues to fall out of the index. Large, well-maintained sites with high-quality content and good SEO practices are less likely to experience significant problems with pages dropping out of the index.
Suppose you notice that many pages from your website have suddenly disappeared from Google’s index. In that case, there’s likely an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, such as a technical error, a penalty from Google, or a problem with the quality of your content.
How do you track what pages are indexed?
Tracking which of your pages are indexed by Google can be done through a few different methods:
- Google Search Console: This is the most direct method. Google Search Console provides a coverage report that shows which pages on your website have been crawled and indexed. You can also use the URL Inspection tool to check the index status of individual URLs.
- Site: Search: You can do a “site:” search in Google. By typing “site:yourwebsite.com” into Google’s search bar, you’ll get a list of all the pages from your website currently in Google’s index. While this method is quick and easy, it may not always be accurate or exhaustive.
- Third-party SEO tools: Several SEO tools can provide information about indexation, such as Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Moz. These tools typically require a subscription, but they can provide a wealth of information about your site’s SEO, including indexation.
- Sitemap: If you’ve submitted a sitemap through Google Search Console, you can compare the number of URLs in your sitemap to the number of URLs indexed by Google, which is also reported in Google Search Console. This can give you a rough idea of your site’s indexation rate, but it won’t tell you which pages are indexed.
Remember, being indexed doesn’t guarantee high visibility in search results. That’s determined by many factors, like the quality of the content, the competitiveness of the keywords, backlinks, and more.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) About Indexing:
How long does it take for Google to remove a page from its index?
The timeframe for Google to remove a page from its index can vary. In general, Google’s crawling and indexing processes are automated, and it may take a few days to weeks for a page to be deindexed once an issue is detected. However, manual actions taken by Google’s review team can result in more immediate removal.
Can a page be reindexed after it has been removed?
Yes, a page can be reindexed after it has been removed. If you have resolved the issue that caused the page to be deindexed, you can request Google to re-crawl and reindex the page by submitting it through Google Search Console or by ensuring it is linked from other pages on your website.
How can I prevent my pages from falling out of the Google index?
To maintain your pages in the Google index, focus on producing high-quality and relevant content, avoid keyword stuffing or other manipulative tactics, and follow Google’s guidelines. Regularly monitor your website for technical issues, ensure proper redirects for any URL changes, and review your robots.txt file to ensure it doesn’t inadvertently block important pages.
What should I do if my page receives a manual action from Google?
If your page is hit with a manual action, you will receive a notification in Google Search Console. Reviewing the provided information and addressing the issues highlighted carefully is essential. Once you have fixed the problems, you can submit a reconsideration request to Google, explaining your actions to resolve the issue.
Are there any tools to check if Google indexes my pages?
Yes, there are several tools available that can help you check the indexing status of your pages. Google Search Console is a primary tool provided by Google itself, offering insights into the indexing and visibility of your website. Additionally, various third-party SEO tools offer features to check indexation status, such as crawling reports and indexability checks.
About Salterra Digital Services
Salterra was started in 2011 by Terry and Elisabeth Samuels; nothing fancy or pretentious. Quality work at a fair price. Beginning with a web design focus, they quickly learned that while having a fantastic website to highlight your business is a great start, marketing is intrinsically foundational for our clients. When several clients did not see results through the search efforts of other companies, Terry took it to the next level. While digging into SEO and marketing, he found something he was passionate about. His inner geek pushed him to focus solely on the data and analytics side of the business, while Elisabeth built on her creative and visual strength and expanded the design side. It is not always familiar for designers and digital marketing to be closely connected in the industry, but it made perfect sense to them. Salterra’s World Headquarters is in Tempe Arizona
Terry and Elisabeth are the Roundtable SEO Mastermind Series and SEO Spring Training Conference hosts.