On the 15th of July 2022, Google confirmed that there were some ongoing issues with their search indexing, where some sites experienced delayed indexing. Your website’s online reputation can drop because of small indexing hiccups like this, and the best way to recover from such a shock is to hire a reputation management service online. This article will discuss some commonly asked questions to help put your mind at ease the next time something like this happens.
The problem was limited only to new content. If you had published any new content on that fateful day, then it would probably not have been indexed. Any old content that was already published and indexed seemed unfazed by the problem. Postpone publishing new content until whatever that’s plaguing Google’s search indexing is fixed.
Even when systems are functioning as usual, Google doesn’t guarantee that every piece of content will get indexed. So, you can’t be sure if the content you publish today will eventually get indexed.
Rankings are determined by the content that’s already been published on the internet. Since the bug only affects newly published and not pre-existing content, your rankings will not be affected.
Here are a few things you can do to boost the rankings of your website:
1. Make your website mobile friendly – If you want your website to be indexed by Google, it must have a mobile friendly interface. Ever since the introduction of Mobile-First Indexing, several sites have lost their rankings because they couldn’t adapt to the change.
You’re bleeding traffic if you haven’t optimized your content for mobile viewing, and the simplest way to check it is via Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool. Mobile optimization isn’t difficult. All you need is a responsive design with less clutter and you’re good to go.
2. Improve website loading speed – Google ignores websites with slow loading speed. This can happen for several reasons, such as adding too much content and using high-quality images on your webpage. Using an old hosting service with limited resources can also slow down your site.
There are several free tools that measure the loading speed of websites. Use one of them to measure the current speed and keep optimizing resources (using browser cache, limiting connections and payload size, etc.) until you reach a respectable loading speed.
3. Improve content quality – Studies show that content over 1000 words performs significantly better compared to content below 1000 words. On top of that, your content has to be well-written, must be comprehensible, and must be free of plagiarism.
Your content must be unique, have a different perspective, or at least offer some value to the readers that is not readily available anywhere else. The more unique and well-written your content is, the better your chances of getting an early index.
4. Generate user friendly content – User-friendly content is different from well written ones. To secure a good rank, your content must be structured in a proper way that is readily comprehensible to the readers and offers a good user experience. They must be able to navigate through your website with ease, without getting confused or feeling aggravated.
Additionally, you can further enhance the quality of your content by internal linking. This will let users navigate through relevant information, which tells Google that you offer high-quality information and good results to your readers.
5. Create a sitemap – A sitemap contains all the lists of pages on your website, and its purpose is to help search engines understand the kind of content you are offering. Unless all of the content on your website is indexed, Google is struck blind without a sitemap.
The sitemaps help Google separate out the important content on your site and you should submit one for crawling if you haven’t done it already.
6. Noindex meta tags – Website owners often put no-index meta tags on some of their content to prevent Google from crawling those pages. If you do the same, then be careful because even accidentally mentioning the tag could cause problems.
Avoid using plugins to hide your pages from Google, as they can also block crawlers. The best way to address the issue is to screen your pages for noindex and nofollow thoroughly before publishing. If you have already published a few hundred pages, then it’s best to go through them individually and change the nofollow and noindex to follow and index.
7. Avoid penalties – Any penalties, whether done knowingly or unknowingly, will follow your website until it gets fixed. If the issue is left unaddressed, Google will not index any content that’s coming from your website.
8. Technical SEO – Someone who specializes in technical SEO is an expert in solving ranking and indexing issues. They know how Google works and can suggest ways to improve your content’s performance.
Once they audit your website, they might suggest you write content differently, use more industry related keywords, use images, infographics, etc. They might even suggest you include proper meta tags so that Google can easily crawl your page. Seasoned individuals who specialize in technical SEO are hard to come by, but they are usually worth every penny and offer great ROI.
9. Orphan Pages – These pages are not linked to any page on your website and therefore cannot be crawled by Google. It’s important that you fill these pages with relevant information and link them to existing pages that have already been indexed.
Contents that don’t contain anything useful are regarded as doorway pages by Google and will never be indexed.
Identifying the indexing problems of your website can be taxing. But like the green vegetables in your diet, they are extremely important if you want to maintain a healthy growth trajectory for your site. If you’re confused and don’t know how to approach the issue, it’s best to hire someone who is an expert in technical SEO or reputation management service to weed out the problems before you start fixing them.