You can have a fully functional, mobile-friendly website with amazing content. But if search engines don’t index your pages, it’s as if they don’t exist. In the meantime, if you’re having indexing issues, your sales and conversions fall even drastically.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is not easy, but succeeding in it becomes a lot harder when you cannot index correctly. That’s why we’ve listed five tips and tricks to maximize visibility and avoid costly mistakes.
1. Audit Your Website
If your website has been around for some time but not producing the results you want, do an SEO audit. It will help determine if technical issues prevent Google from indexing your pages.
SEO audit is a multistep process that covers many elements. These include website content, structure, and performance. For this reason, most businesses leave the job to SEO experts.
Either way, it involves three stages: data collection, analysis, and recommendations.
- Data Collection. The auditor gathers information about the client’s website, including on-page and off-page factors. On-page factors include things like title tags and meta descriptions. Off-page ones touch on link building and social media engagement.
- Analysis. The auditor examines the collected data. Then they look for areas of improvement. They may identify low-hanging fruit like missing title tags or broken links. They may also go in-depth with keyword density or site architecture.
- Recommendations. The auditor presents their findings and suggests specific actions to improve SEO results. You then decide which actions to take.
2. Create and Submit a Sitemap
A sitemap is a file that tells search engines about the pages on your website. It’s like an organized table of contents with an extra benefit. It makes it easier for search engines to find and index all your pages, especially if your website is new or has a complex structure. If your online store is powered by Shopify your ecommerce sitemap is automatically generated for you.
Here’s a guide on how to create a sitemap:
- Brainstorm the overall structure of the website. Decide what pages to include and their categories. Then design a hierarchical structure for the website.
- Add more details. This information may be specific content for each page and navigation links. If you want, you can identify the last updates of the pages.
- Review the sitemap structure. Ensure the organization is sensible and easy to navigate by humans and crawlers.
- Create an XML file. Include all the sitemap information you collected and reviewed. Compress the file if it’s large. You can then use tools like Screaming Frog XML Generator and Flowmapp to create a sitemap.
- Submit the sitemap to Google. You can do this through Google Search. Read their guidelines first to avoid problems.
3. Direct Google to Crawl and Index Your Page
If your website seems healthy or new, the simplest way to get indexed is to tell Google to do it through the URL Inspection Tool in the Search Console.
Here, you can do the following:
- Check the indexed URL. Input the URL you want to check and interpret the results. You might receive a message that says, “The URL is on Google.” (Note this notification doesn't immediately mean it is an indexed page. But you now know the status and work on improving its indexability.)
- Test a live URL. This option is helpful if you want to know if your page fits for indexing.
- Request for indexing. Add the URL and let it go through an index check. If the system spots no error, you can tell Google to add it to the queue. It usually takes a week or two before you see the results.
4. Optimize Your Link-Building Strategies
How do you encourage Google to index many pages on your website? Pay attention to your link-building strategies.
Those spiders or crawlers are notorious for following “breadcrumbs,” like other links. For example, if your homepage includes a hyperlink to your services, bots will follow that URL too and eventually index it.
Marina Turea with Digital Authority Partners has compiled an incredible list of link-building techniques that help you improve indexing. We’ll highlight a few here:
- Fix broken links. These are 404 pages that return an error message when you click them. But they’re still in the sitemap, and bots keep crawling them. You can use Google Search Console to find broken links on your website and redirect them accordingly.
- Maximize internal linking. These are links from one page on your website to another. They help bots find new pages easily through the existing ones. Do this by linking your blog posts to other relevant pages, such as product pages.
- Audit websites that link back to you. Ensure your pages' inbound links are valuable and relevant to your niche. Consider using disavow tools to get rid of spammy and low-quality links.
5. Publish High-Quality Content Religiously
Even if you do all the previous steps, your website won’t index if it doesn’t have high-quality content. At the end of the day, Google listens to the users and what they want.
And what are they looking for? Relevant, informative, and well-written content that meets their needs.
Publishing valuable content takes many hours of brainstorming, research, and writing. You can note these ideas to help:
- Post consistently. The goal is to encourage those crawlers to visit your website frequently. How often you publish an article or other copies depends on several factors. The most important is consistency.
- Avoid duplicate content. This one happens when two or more pages share the same content. Google doesn’t penalize this, but it can hurt your indexing strategy. For example, search engines may add old content to their databases, or another website might use your content. Copyscape can assist you in detecting duplicate content.
- Block URLs you don’t want to show in the search results. This tip is helpful if you have low-quality pages or those with sensitive information. You can do this using a robots.txt file and the no-index attribute.
Indexing is a vital part of SEO. It helps ensure that your website appears in the search results, leading to more clicks and conversions.
The process can be tricky since you're playing with Google’s algorithm. Fortunately, these indexing tips and tricks give you an edge over the competition. You can always reach out to professionals when you need advanced SEO support.