Google isn’t indexing your website? You’re not by yourself. Numerous potential issues could prevent Google from indexing web pages, and this article discusses 14 of them.
We have the information you need to know what to do if your site isn’t mobile-friendly or if you’re having complex indexing issues.
Learn how to resolve these common issues so that Google can resume indexing your pages.
1. You Don’t Have A Domain Name
The first reason Google will not index your site is that it lacks a domain name. This could be because you’re using the incorrect URL for the content, or because WordPress isn’t set up correctly.
If this is happening to you, there are a few simple solutions.
Check to see if your web address begins with “https://XXX.XXX…” This indicates that someone may be typing an IP address instead of a domain name and being redirected to your website.
Additionally, your IP address redirection may be incorrectly configured.
One solution is to add 301 redirects from WWW versions of pages back to their respective domains. We want people to land on your physical domain name if they are directed here when they try to search for something like [yoursitehere].
You must have a domain name. If you want to rank and compete on Google, this is a must.
2. Your Site Is Not Mobile-Friendly
Since Google introduced Mobile-First indexing, having a mobile-friendly website is critical for getting your site indexed.
No matter how good your website’s content is, if it isn’t optimized for viewing on a smartphone or tablet, you’ll lose rankings and traffic.
Mobile optimization does not have to be difficult; simply incorporating responsive design principles such as fluid grids and CSS Media Queries can go a long way toward ensuring that users find what they need without experiencing any navigation issues.
The first thing I recommend you do to address this issue is to run your site through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool.
If you don’t get a “passed reading,” you’ll need to work on making your site mobile-friendly.
3. You’re Using A Coding Language In A Way That’s Too Complex for Google
If this is an issue for you, I recommend using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool to determine how mobile-friendly your site truly is (and make any fixes that might need to be made).
If your website isn’t yet up to their standards, they have a plethora of resources with guidelines on all manner of design quirks that can arise when creating a responsive webpage.
4. Your Site Loads Slowly
Slow-loading sites make Google less likely to want them to appear near the top of their search results. If your website takes a long time to load, it could be due to a variety of factors.
It’s possible that you have too much content on the page for a user’s browser to handle, or that you’re using an old-school server with limited resources.
- Use Google Page Speed Insights – This is one of my favorite tools I’ve discovered in recent years for determining which sections of a website require immediate attention when improving its speed. The tool evaluates your website against five performance best practices (essential for faster loading sites), such as minimizing connections, reducing payload size, leveraging browser caching, and so on, and provides recommendations on how to improve each aspect of your site.
- Use a website testing tool such as webpagetest.org – This tool will tell you if your website is loading quickly enough. It will also allow you to see the specific elements on your site that are causing you problems in great detail. Their waterfall can assist you in identifying significant page speed issues before they cause major issues.
- Use Google’s Page Speed insights once more to see where you can improve site load times. For example, it may be worthwhile to investigate a new hosting plan with more resources (pure dedicated servers are far superior to shared servers) or to use a CDN service that will serve static content from its cache in multiple locations around the world.
Ideally, your page speed should be 70 or higher. It’s best if you can get as close to 100 as possible.
If you have any questions about page speed, SEJ’s ebook on Core Web Vitals is a good place to start.
5. Your Site Has Minimal Well-Written Content
Well-written content is essential for Google’s success. If you have minimal content that does not at least meet the standards of your competition, you may struggle to even break the top 50.
Content that is less than 1,000 words does not perform as well as content that is more than 1,000 words, in our experience.
Are we a content writing firm? No, we don’t. Is word count a ranking criterion? No, it does not.
When deciding what to do in the context of the competition, however, making sure your content is well-written is critical to success.
Your website’s content must be good and informative. It must answer questions, provide information, or have a distinct point of view from other sites in the same niche as yours.
If it fails to meet those criteria, Google will most likely find another site with higher-quality content that does.
If you’re wondering why your website isn’t ranking highly in Google search results for some keywords despite following SEO best practices like adding relevant keywords throughout the text (Hint: Your Content), one culprit could be thin pages with less than 100 words per page!
Thin pages can cause indexing issues because they lack unique content and do not meet minimum quality levels when compared to your competition.
6. Your Site Isn’t User-friendly And Engaging To Visitors
A user-friendly and engaging website is essential for good SEO. Google will rank your site higher in search results if visitors can easily find what they’re looking for and navigate around the website without becoming frustrated or irritated.
Google does not want users to spend too much time on a page that takes forever to load, has confusing navigation, or is simply difficult to use due to too many distractions (like ads above the fold).
If you only have one product listed in each category rather than several, this could be the reason your content isn’t ranking well with Google! It is critical not only to target keywords within each post but also to ensure that all related posts link back to other relevant articles/pages on the subject.
Is it common for people to share your blog? Are your readers wowed by your content? If not, this could be the reason Google has stopped indexing your website.
If someone links to a specific product page rather than using relative keywords like “buy,” “purchase,” and so on, there may be an issue with the way other pages link back to that product.
Make sure that all products listed on category pages also exist within their respective sub-categories so that users can easily make purchases without having to navigate complex linking hierarchies.
7. You Have A Redirect Loop
Another common issue that prevents indexing is redirected loops. These are typically caused by a common typo and can be corrected by following the steps below:
Determine which page is causing the redirect loop. If you’re using WordPress, look for “Redirect 301” in the HTML source of one of your posts on this page or in an. .htaccess file to see which page it’s attempting to redirect traffic from. It’s also a good idea to fix any 302 redirects and ensure they’re set to 301.
Use “find” in Windows Explorer (or Command + F on a Mac) to search through all files containing the word “redirect” until you find the problem.
Correct any typos so that there isn’t a duplicate URL address pointing back at itself, and then use the redirection code below:
404 status codes, for example, do not always appear in Google Search Console. You can find the status codes for 404s and other errors by using an external crawler such as Screaming Frog.
If everything appears to be in order, use Google Search Console on-site to crawl the site again and resubmit it to indexing. Wait a week or so before checking Google Search Console to see if any new warnings have appeared that require attention.
Google does not have time to update their indexes every day, but they do try every few hours, so your content may not appear immediately even if you know it has been updated. Please be patient! It should be indexed shortly.
8. You’re Using Plugins That Block Googlebot from Crawling Your Site
A robots.txt plugin is one example of such a plugin. Googlebot will be unable to crawl your site if you set your robots.txt file to noindex using this plugin.
Create a robots.txt file and perform the following steps:
Set it to the public when you create it so that crawlers can access it without restriction.
Check that your robots.txt file does not contain the following lines:
User-agent: * Disallow: /
The forward slash indicates that the robots.txt file is blocking all pages from the site’s root folder. You should ensure that your robots.txt file looks something like this:
User-agent: * Disallow:
Leaving the disallow line blank tells crawlers that they can crawl and index every page on your site without restriction (assuming no specific pages are marked as noindexed).
When JS prevents crawling by doing shady things – techniques that may be akin to cloaking – this becomes an issue.
If you have rendered HTML versus raw HTML and a link in the raw HTML that isn’t in the rendered HTML, Google may not crawl or index that link. Because of these types of errors, it is critical to define your rendered HTML vs. raw HTML issues.
Don’t do it if you want to hide your JS and CSS files. Google has stated that when they crawl your site, they want to see all of your JS and CSS files.
Google prefers that you keep all JS and CSS crawlable. If you have any of those files blocked, you should unblock them and allow full crawling to provide Google with the necessary view of your site.
10. You Did Not Add All Domain Properties To Google Search Console
If you have more than one domain variation, especially if you have migrated from http:// to https://, you must add and verify all of your domain variations in Google Search Console.
It’s important to make sure that you’re not missing any of your domain variations when adding them to GSC.
Add them to GSC, and make sure to verify your ownership of all domain properties to ensure you’re tracking the correct ones.
This is unlikely to be an issue for new sites that are just getting started.
11. Your Meta Tags Are Set To Noindex, Nofollow
Meta tags are sometimes set to noindex, nofollow by accident. For example, your site may have a link or page that was indexed by Google’s crawler and then deleted before the noindex, nofollow setting was correctly configured in your website’s backend.
As a result, that page may not have been re-indexed, and if you use a plugin to prevent Google from crawling your site, it may never be indexed again.
The solution is simple: change any meta tags that contain the words noindex,nofollow to index, follow instead.
However, if you have thousands of pages like this, you may face an uphill battle. This is one of those times when you have to grit your teeth and keep grinding.
In the end, your site’s performance will appreciate it.
12. You’re Not Using A Sitemap
A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website that Google can use to determine what content you have. This tool will assist in ensuring that all pages are crawled and indexed by Google Search Console.
Unless all of your pages are currently indexed and receiving traffic, Google is flying blind if you don’t have a sitemap.
It’s worth noting, however, that HTML Sitemaps are no longer supported by Google Search Console. Nowadays, XML Sitemaps are the preferred format for sitemaps.
You want to use your sitemap to tell Google which pages on your site are important, and you want to submit it regularly for crawling and indexing.
13. You’ve Been Penalized By Google In The Past And Haven’t Cleaned Up Your Act Yet
If you’ve previously received a penalty and haven’t cleaned up your act, Google will not index your site.
The answer is simple: if it’s penalized by Google, they may be powerless to intervene because penalties follow you around like an uninvited guest who drags their feet across the carpet as they walk through each room of your house.
If you’re wondering why you’d still exclude some information from your website when you’re already having issues with search engines, consider this:
The problem is that, while there are ways to avoid being penalized, many people don’t know how or are unable to make those changes for various reasons (maybe they sold their company). Some people believe that simply removing pages and slapping old content onto a new site will suffice (it does not).
If you are penalized, the best course of action is to completely clean up your previous behavior. You must have all-new content and rebuild the domain from the ground up, or you must perform a complete content overhaul. Google explains that they anticipate it will take you just as long to get out of a penalty as it did to get into one.
14. Your Technical SEO Is Terrible
Make no mistake: buying technical SEO from Fiverr.com is akin to buying a Lamborghini from a dollar store: you’re more likely to get a knockoff than the real thing.
Doing technical SEO correctly is worthwhile: both Google and your users will appreciate it.
Let’s look at some common issues and solutions, as well as where technical SEO can help you.
Problem: Your website is failing to meet Core Web Vitals targets.
Solution: Technical SEO will assist you in identifying the problems with your Core Web Vitals and will provide you with a plan for resolving these problems. Don’t rely solely on a strategic audit – it won’t always help you in these areas. Some of these issues require a full technical SEO audit to uncover because they can range from the incredibly simple to the incredibly complex.
Problem: Your website is having crawling and indexing issues.
Solution: They can be extremely complex, necessitating the services of an experienced technical SEO to detect and repair them. You must identify them if you are experiencing a lack of traction or poor performance from your website.
Also, make sure you haven’t accidentally checked the box in WordPress that says “discourage search engines from indexing your website.”
Problem: Your site’s robots.txt file is inadvertently preventing crawlers from accessing critical files.
Solution: Once again, Technical SEO is on hand to save you from the abyss. Some sites are so deep that there may be no way out except to delete the site and start over. Nuclear power isn’t always the best option. This is where an experienced technical SEO professional is priceless.
Identifying Website Indexing Issues Is Difficult, But Well Worth It Content, technical SEO, and links are all critical to your site’s performance trajectory. However, if your site is having indexing problems, the other SEO elements will only get you so far.
Check all of the boxes to ensure that you are putting your site out there in the best possible way.
Remember to optimize each page of your website for relevant keywords! It is also worthwhile to ensure that your technical SEO is up to date because the better Google can crawl, index, and rank your site, the better your results will be.
Google (and your website’s traffic) will appreciate it.
Learn more from SEO and read Best Hospitality SEO Practices for 2022 and Beyond.