Crawled Not Indexed – Search Console Report You Should Not Ignore

There is one report in Search Console I think everyone should pay very close attention to. When we work with customers on SEO Services, we send this report to them on a monthly basis. Because I truly believe this is an important report to look at. Concerned about not having enough search traffic? This report shows you where you are leaking traffic.

What is Crawled Not Indexed?

In Search Console, this report shows a list of pages on your website that Google has reviewed. Google has decided not to include these pages in their index. So they have crawled these pages. They have reviewed the pages. They don’t like them, and they’re not going to deliver it in search. And they’re nice enough to put it in a report.

How Do I Get Pages Back in the Index?

While page urls are still listed on this report, you have time. You can fix the page and resubmit the address to Google for re-indexing. But you MUST take action. There is no wait and see if this gets better. If pages fall off this report, they are out of search for good and its a much harder road to get them back. This is why checking this report often is crucial.

What we do know is that changing a few words is not enough. It is important to keep an eye on this report to make sure key pages of your website don’t drop from search. When you do see a page on this report and its a page you want people to see, you need to take action. The situation does not fix itself.

Not Every Url is Worth Saving

Your goal with the Crawled Not Indexed is report is to re-index web content that is key to your business. Not every single Url. You will find some on this report where it is OK to let it drop out search. Especially if you have WordPress site. WordPress generates a lot of Urls that Google does not need to pay attention to. Some examples of Urls that are OK to drop out of search would include:

  • anything /theme/ or related to your WordPress files.
  • /category/ or /tag/ – don’t waste time here. It will be hard to keep these pages in the index.
  • /feed/
  • any url containing a search query like a “?”
  • old urls redirected to a new location

Is Your Page Search Worthy?

The main reason a page will end up on this report is because the content is too “thin” or not a good quality. Your first stop to getting these pages back in search should be improving the content.

And I know that a lot of SEO experts right saying the minimum length of a webpage is 350 words. There are many people that also the minimum is more like 1200 page. Google has confirmed that word count is not a ranking factor. However, if you have pages without a lot in them, it’s hard for Google to give it a ranking. Common sense would tell us that if pages are too short, not a lot of keyword info in them to produce a ranking. That might be why they’re dropping them out of the index. Start by getting your pages to at least 350-600 words. It will improve the quality of the page and it may be enough to get it in the index.

How to Fix Crawled Not Indexed

At the beginning of this month we did a study of all the urls from this report we fixed for clients. The fix was always to improve the quality of the content. Things like, fixing out-of-date info and increasing quality and quantity of the information. What we found is that high quality pages were still rejected by Google’s index. The question is why? Here are a few tactics we have tested.

Check the “Last Crawled” Date
To the right of your page Url, you will see the Last Crawled Date. If you know you have improved the page content since that date, go ahead and request re-indexing. Click on the url, click on Inspect URL. There will be a link at the top to “Request Re-Indexing”. But if your page has not changed DO NOT do this until you have made improvements.

Running a tech check.
Was the page having a technical issue? And the page ended up here because Google couldn’t access the page? In Search Console, you can click on address of your page and you get the option to “Inspect Url”. See if the crawl of your page is successful. If not, troubleshooting Technical SEO is where you need to start. We are running these checks. So far this represents a small percentage or the urls on our client’s reports. If you find this and get it fixed, it’s easy to get the page back in the index. But still important to rule out a technical issue.

Duplicate content.
If you have been blogging a long time, or have a large website, it is really easy to start getting duplicates. This is also a big problem for e-commerce sites with lots similar products. The reason Google has dropped the page from the index could be duplication. It could be too close to a page on your website. It could be too close to something posted on another website. E-Commerce sites will have issues if their product pages are text straight from the manufacture. Here is a great article about running tests on your content for duplicates.

Not enough internal links.
Pages dropped from the index are not referenced enough through out the site. This will be easy to see when you Inspect URL in Search Console. In the report this generates, it tells you what other pages on your site this page links to. If its not finding any, you know you need more links. Not in the navigation, but in the text of your website. If the pages linked are not high quality search pages, that is also a sign to work on more links.

Indexing is One Part of your SEO Strategy

To learn more about building a full SEO Strategy, listen to our recording of our Annual SEO Strategy Webinar.   Additional reading about fixing pages on the Crawled Not Indexed list.