SEO Indexing: What is it and How to Use it?
Indexing is one of the key aspects of SEO but not everyone knows how it actually works. What is indexing? Why does it matter and how will it affect their website?
Indexing is the process of Google crawlers storing and categorizing information found on your website. As Google crawls your site, it’s learning about each page and every paragraph is telling Google more about the content and what it’s all about.
This is how Google ranks pages in the SERPs. This reason is why it’s so important that you optimize your content and provide web pages that are easy to navigate so the crawlers can pick up as much information as possible.
How Does Indexing Work?
Imagine Google has a giant library and every website is a book. When you search for something, Google has to look through the library to find that book and open it up to the page that presents the best information for the search query.
The pages that have been successfully indexed have a chance to appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs), providing an opportunity for organic traffic to flow to your website.
If Google can’t find the page or it doesn’t know what the page is about, you won’t be included as a result.
The ultimate goal of Google is to provide users with the best results possible so they have a good experience and get the answers they’re looking for. Our hope as SEOs is to be favored by Google enough to be chosen as the best result.
This requires good content, a functioning website, and a handful of other things of course.
Benefits of Proper Indexing
Now that you understand the SEO index, let’s talk about why it’s so important for your website to be indexed.
Increased Visibility: If your page isn’t indexed, it can’t be found by Google which means you’ll have a harder time getting traffic. Proper indexing is the only way to ensure you have a chance.
More Traffic: Increased visibility equals more traffic. If you’ve created a valuable piece of content, chances are users and Google will think it’s useful as well and you’ll be rewarded with a higher position in the search and ultimately more visitors.
Better User Experience: Again, all of this is done in the name of providing users with the best experience possible. Proper indexing helps display better results in the SERPs which can result in longer time spent on site, less bouncing, and increased engagement.
Authority and Credibility: If all your pages are properly indexed and you’re ranking for numerous search terms, it makes your site look more credible in the eyes of both users and Google.
How to Optimize For Maximum Indexing
All of this is wonderful but it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to get your pages indexed. There’s ways to do it manually but the goal is to get Google crawling your site frequently enough that you don’t have to manually index each page. Let’s talk about it.
Google Search Console Indexing
Using GSC, you can see which of your pages are found in Google’s index. If you notice that a page isn’t indexed, you can do it manually by clicking the “request indexing” button.
Ideally, you want all of your pages to look like the image above. They should be able to appear in Google Search Results, be indexed, and be usable on mobile. If any of those factors do not exist, you’ll want to fix it.
Prevent Performance Issues with Core Web Vitals
If your site is having a hard time getting pages indexed, it could mean that your site has technical issues. Keep in mind that new sites will take a while to automatically index so if your site is new, you might just have to be patient.
A great way to figure out what issues you have is through the performance tab in Google Search Console.
The core web vitals section provides you with feedback on various performance and speed issues. It tells you how many URLs have these issues and which ones.
In the event of speed problems, you likely have too many media components on the page which causes the site to load slowly.
Address whatever issues come up and you’ll give Google no excuse to not index you.
Create and Submit a Sitemap
A sitemap is a non-negotiable item for your website. Every site with more than one page needs a sitemap because it provides a list of all the pages on your website to the search engine. This makes it much easier for Google to crawl and index each page.
There are a number of sitemap tools that automatically create one for you and then all you need to do is add it in Google Search Console and wait for it to be approved.
Proper Internal Linking Structure
Internal linking strategy is essential to the success of your website because it helps connect your pages. Think of an internal link like a power line that provides electricity to a page. If a page on your website doesn’t have any internal links pointing to it, it’s called an orphan page and it’s considered a usability error.
SEO indexing is a cornerstone of online visibility. Without proper indexing, your valuable content could remain hidden from your target audience.
By understanding how indexing works, appreciating its benefits, and implementing optimization techniques, you can harness the power of search engines to drive organic traffic to your website.