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The first steps of your SEO audit: Indexing issues

Indexing is de facto the first step in any SEO audit. Why?

In case your spot isn’t very being indexed, it is definitely unread by Google and Bing. And if the engines like google can’t rep and “read” it, no quantity of magic or SEO (SEO) will beef up the ranking of your net sites.

In content to be ranked, a spot ought to first be indexed.

Is your spot being indexed?

There are quite so much of tools on hand to succor you build if a spot is being indexed.

Indexing is, at its core, a page-stage job. In diversified words, engines like google read pages and deal with them for my share.

A short methodology to take a look at if a page is being indexed by Google is to exhaust the spot: operator with a Google search. Coming into staunch the domain, as in my instance below, will level to you all of the pages Google has indexed for the domain. You have to to presumably per chance well also additionally enter a yell page URL to explore if that particular person page has been indexed.

When a page isn’t very indexed

In case your spot or page isn’t very being indexed, basically the most frequent offender is the meta robots mark being feeble on a page or the depraved exhaust of disallow in the robots.txt file.

Both the meta mark, which is on the page stage, and the robots.txt file present instructions to inch looking out engine indexing robots on how one can deal with content to your page or net page.

The variation is that the robots meta mark looks on a person page, while the robots.txt file gives instructions for the spot as a total. On the robots.txt file, however, you may want to presumably per chance well also single out pages or directories and the intention the robots ought to aloof deal with these areas while indexing. Let’s search how one can exhaust each and each.


Within the occasion you’re not obvious if your spot uses a robots.txt file, there’s a straightforward methodology to take a look at. Simply enter your domain in a browser followed by /robots.txt.

Here is an instance the usage of Amazon (

The list of “disallows” for Amazon goes on for somewhat awhile!

Google Search Console additionally has a convenient robots.txt Tester instrument, helping you build errors for your robots file. You have to to presumably per chance well also additionally take a look at a page rapid the usage of the bar on the underside to explore if your robots file in its most fashionable acquire is blockading Googlebot.

If a page or listing rapid is disallowed, this can seem after Disallow: in the robots file. As my instance above reveals, I in actual fact bear disallowed my touchdown page folder (/lp/) from indexing the usage of my robots file. This prevents any pages residing in that listing from being indexed by engines like google.

There are quite so much of wintry and intricate alternate choices where you may want to presumably per chance well also make exhaust of the robots file. Google’s Developers spot has a astronomical rundown of all of the ways you may want to presumably per chance well also exhaust the robots.txt file. Listed below are just a few:

Robots meta mark

The robots meta mark is positioned in the header of a page. Usually, there’s not any such thing as a ought to exhaust each and each the robots meta mark and the robots.txt to disallow indexing of a yell page.

Within the Search Console image above, I don’t ought to add the robots meta mark to all of my touchdown pages in the touchdown page folder (/lp/) to discontinuance Google from indexing them since I in actual fact bear disallowed the folder from indexing the usage of the robots.txt file.

Alternatively, the robots meta mark does bear diversified capabilities as effectively.

For instance, you may want to presumably per chance well also issue engines like google that links on the full page ought to aloof not be followed for SEO applications. That can presumably per chance well come in in at hand in obvious eventualities, like on press launch pages.

Presumably the 2 directives feeble most most continuously for SEO with this mark are noindex/index and nofollow/practice:

  • Index practice. Implied by default. Search engine indexing robots ought to aloof index the certain wager on this page. Search engine indexing robots ought to aloof practice links on this page.
  • Noindex nofollow. Search engine indexing robots ought to aloof NOT index the certain wager on this page. Search engine indexing robots ought to aloof NOT practice links on this page.

The Google Developer’s spot additionally has a thorough rationalization of uses of the robots meta mark.

XML sitemaps

Within the occasion you bear a new page to your spot, ideally you’ll need engines like google to search out and index it fleet. One methodology to encourage in that effort is to exhaust an eXtensible markup language (XML) sitemap and register it with the engines like google.

XML sitemaps present engines like google with a catalogue of pages to your net page. That is terribly pleasurable when you happen to bear new content that doubtless doesn’t bear many oneway links pointing to it but, making it more challenging for search engine robots to practice a link to search out that content. Many content management programs now bear XML sitemap capability built in or on hand via a plugin, like the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress.

Originate obvious that you bear an XML sitemap and that it is registered with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Instruments. This ensures that Google and Bing know where the sitemap is located and could presumably per chance well continuously come encourage to index it.

How fleet can new content be indexed the usage of this methodology? I once did a take a look at and came across my new content had been indexed by Google in simplest eight seconds — and that was the time it took me to alternate browser tabs and acquire the spot: operator issue. So it’s very fleet!


In 2011, Google introduced it was ready to impress JavaScript and index obvious dynamic parts. Alternatively, Google isn’t continuously ready to impress and index all JavaScript. In Google Search Console, the Acquire and Render instrument can succor you build if Google’s robot, Googlebot, is in actual fact ready to explore your content in JavaScript.

On this situation, the university net page is the usage of asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX), which is a acquire of JavaScript, to generate a course field menu that links to yell areas of gaze.

The Acquire and Render instrument reveals us that Googlebot is unable to explore the content and links the identical methodology humans will. This form that Googlebot can’t practice the links in the JavaScript to those deeper course pages rapid.


Repeatedly purchase into memoir your spot ought to be indexed in content to be ranked. If engines like google can’t rep or read your content, how can they offer understanding to and rank it? So guarantee to prioritize checking your spot’s indexability when you happen to’re performing an SEO audit.

Opinions expressed listed listed below are these of the visitor creator and not basically Search Engine Land. Workers authors are listed right here.

About The Creator

Janet Miller is the President and CEO of Advertising and marketing and marketing Mojo. She on a favorite basis blogs on a unfold of SEO issues, most continuously specializing in technical solutions. You have to to presumably per chance well rep her on Twitter @janetdmiller.