Do you think it is difficult for Google to index your site? Check out these 14 search indexing problems and how to fix them.
Google won’t index your site? You are not alone. Several potential issues could prevent Google from indexing a page, and this article covers 14 of them.
Whether you’re wondering what to do if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, or you’re facing complex indexing issues, we’ve got the information you need.
Learn how to fix these common issues so Google can start indexing your pages again.
1. You don’t have a domain name
The number one reason Google won’t index your site is that you don’t have a domain name. This could be because you’re using the wrong content URL, or you haven’t set it up correctly on WordPress.
If this happens to you, there are some simple workarounds.
Check if your URL starts with “https://XXX.XXX…”, which means someone may be entering an IP address instead of a domain name and being redirected to your site.
Also, your IP address redirection may not be configured correctly.
One way to fix this is to add the 301 redirects from the WWW version pages back to their respective domains. If people are directed here when trying to search for something like [yoursitehere], we want them to land on your physical domain name.
It is very important to make sure you have a domain name. This is non-negotiable if you want to rank on Google and be competitive.
2. Your website is not mobile friendly
A mobile-friendly website is crucial to getting your site indexed by Google, as it introduces mobile-first indexing.
No matter how great the content on your website, if it is not optimized for viewing on a smartphone or tablet, you will lose rankings and traffic.
Mobile optimization isn’t hard – just add responsive design principles like fluid grids and CSS media queries to ensure users find what they need without encountering any navigation issues.
The first thing I recommend doing with this problem is running your site through Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool.
If you don’t get “pass reading” then you need to do some work to make your site mobile-friendly.
3. The coding language you use is too complex for Google
If this is an issue for you, I recommend checking how mobile-friendly your site is (and making any fixes that might be needed) through Google’s mobile-friendliness testing tool.
If your site doesn’t pass yet on their standards, they have a great resource with guidelines on the various design quirks that can arise when designing responsive web pages.
4. Your website is slow to load
Sites that load slowly make it less likely that Google wants them to appear in the top results of the index. If your website takes a long time to load, this can be due to many different factors.
It could even be that there is too much content on the page for the user’s browser to handle, or you’re using an old-fashioned server with limited resources.
Use Google Page Speed Insights – one of my favorite tools I’ve found in recent years, it helps me determine which parts of my site need urgent attention when it comes to speeding up. The tool analyzes your web pages according to five performance best practices (essential for faster website loading), such as minimizing connections, reducing payload size, leveraging browser caching, and more, and provides you with tips on how to improve each aspect of recommendations for your website.
Use a tool like webpagetest.org – this tool will let you know if your site is loading fast enough. It also allows you to see in detail the specific elements on your website that are causing you problems. Their waterfall can help you identify important page speed issues before they cause serious problems.
Use Google’s Page Speed Insights again – see where you can improve your site’s load time. For example, it might be worth exploring a new hosting plan with more resources (pure dedicated servers are much better than shared servers) or using a CDN service that will serve static content from its cache in multiple locations around the world.
It is fact that, make sure page speed numbers 70 or more. As close to 100 as possible is ideal.
If you have any questions about page speed, you might want to check out SEJ’s ebook on Core Web Vitals.
5. Your website has minimal well-written content
Well-written content is critical to success on Google. If your content is minimal, at least not up to the level of your competitors, you could have serious problems or even break out of the top 50.
In our experience, content with less than 1,000 words is not as good as content with more than 1,000 words.
Are we a content writing company? No, we are not. Is word count a ranking factor? nor.
But when you’re judging what to do in a competitive environment, making sure your content is well-written is the key to success.
The content on your website needs to be good and informative. It needs to answer questions, provide information, or have a sufficiently different point of view than other sites in your field.
If it doesn’t meet these criteria, Google may find another site with better quality content.
If you’re wondering why your site isn’t ranking high in Google search results for certain keywords despite following SEO best practices such as including relevant keywords throughout your text (hint: your content), then the culprit may be that the page book should have more than 100 words per page!
Thin pages can cause indexing problems because they don’t contain much unique content and don’t meet a minimum quality level compared to your competitors.
6. Your website is unfriendly and unattractive to visitors
Having a user-friendly and engaging website is essential for good SEO. Google will rank your site higher in search results if it’s easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for and navigate the site without getting frustrated or annoyed.
Google doesn’t want users to spend too much time on a page that either takes forever to load, has confusing navigation, or is difficult to use because of too many distractions (like above-the-fold ads).
If you only list one product per category instead of multiple, then that’s probably why your content isn’t ranking well on Google! It is important to not only target the keyword in each post but also make sure that all related posts link back to other related articles/pages on that topic.
Do people like to share your blog? Are readers raving about your content? If not, then this may be why Google stopped indexing your site.
If someone links directly to a specific product page instead of using related keywords like “buy”, “buy”, etc., there may be a problem with the way other pages link back to that specific product.
Make sure that all products listed on the category page also exist in each corresponding subcategory, so users can easily purchase without having to navigate complex link hierarchies.
7. You have a redirect loop
Redirect loops are very essential another common problem that prevents indexing. These are usually caused by common spelling mistakes and can be fixed with the following steps:
Find the page that caused the redirect loop. If you’re using WordPress, find the HTML source code for one of your articles on this page or in your .htaccess file, and look for “redirect 301” to see which page it’s trying to direct traffic from. It is also very worth fixing any 302 redirects and making sure they are set to 301.
Use Find in Windows Explorer (Command + F on Mac) to search for all files that contain Redirect until you find the problem.
Fix any typos so that no duplicate URL addresses are pointing to themselves, then use the redirect code like this:
Status codes like 404 don’t always appear in Google Search Console. Using external crawlers like Screaming Frog, you can find 404 and other error status codes.
If all is well, use Google Search Console on-site to crawl the site again and resubmit it to the index. If any new warnings pop up that need attention, wait a week or so before rechecking with Google Search Console.
Google doesn’t have time to update their index every day, but they do try every few hours, which means sometimes your content may not show up right away even if you know it’s been updated. be patient! It should be indexed soon.
8. You are using a plugin that prevents Googlebot from crawling your site
An example of such a plugin is the robots.txt plugin. If you set your robots.txt file to noindex your site through this plugin, Googlebot will not be able to crawl it.
Set up a robots.txt file and do the following:
When you create it, make it public so that crawlers can access it without restrictions.
Make sure your robots.txt file does not have the following line:
not allowed: /
A forward slash indicates that the robots.txt file is blocking all pages in the root folder of the site. You want to make sure your robots.txt file looks more like this:
The forbidden line is blank, which tells crawlers that they can crawl and index every page on your site without restrictions (assuming you don’t mark specific pages as noindexed.
One issue where JS comes into play is when JS prevents crawling by doing shady things – maybe techniques like cloaking.
If you have rendered HTML with raw HTML, and a link in the raw HTML is not in the rendered HTML, Google may not crawl or index the link. Because of these types of errors, it’s critical to define the rendered HTML versus the original HTML issue.
If you want to hide JS and CSS files, don’t do it. Google has mentioned that they want to see all your JS and CSS files when crawling.
Google wants you to keep all JS and CSS to their crawlable. If you block any of these files, you may want to unblock them and allow full crawling to give Google the view of your site they need.
10. You didn’t add all domain properties to Google Search Console
If your domain has multiple variations, especially if you’re migrating from http:// to https://, you must add and verify all domain variations in Google Search Console.
It is important to ensure that no domain variants are lost when adding them to the GSC.
Add them to GSC and make sure you verify your ownership of all domain attributes to ensure you are tracking the correct ones.
For a new site just starting out, this might not be a problem.
11. Your meta tags are set to Noindex, Nofollow
Sometimes, out of bad luck, meta tags are set to noindex, nofollow. For example, your site might have a link or page that was indexed by Google’s crawlers and then removed before changing to noindex, nofollow set correctly on your site’s backend.
Therefore, the page may not be re-indexed, and if you use a plugin to prevent Google from crawling your site, the page may never be indexed again.
The solution is simple: use noindex,nofollow to change any meta tags so that they read index, follow.
However, if you have thousands of pages like this, you have to face an uphill battle. This is one of those times when you have to bite the bullet and keep going.
In the end, the performance of your website will thank you.
12. You are not using a sitemap
You need to use a sitemap!
A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website and a way for Google to find the content you own. This tool will help ensure that every page is crawled and indexed by Google Search Console.
If you don’t have a sitemap, Google will act blindly unless all of your pages are currently indexed and receiving traffic.
However, it’s important to note that HTML sitemaps are deprecated in Google Search Console. Today, the preferred format for sitemaps is an XML sitemap.
You want to use a sitemap to tell Google what the important pages of your site are, and you want to submit it for crawling and indexing on a regular basis.
13. You’ve been punished by Google in the past, but haven’t fixed your behavior
Google has repeatedly said that penalties could follow you.
If you’ve been penalized before and haven’t cleaned up your behavior, Google won’t index your site.
The answer to that question is simple: if it gets penalized by Google, there’s probably nothing they can do about it, because the penalty is like an uninvited friend, shuffling on the carpet as you walk through every room in your house…
If you’re wondering why exclude some information from your website when you’re already having trouble with search engines?
The problem is that even if there is a way to get out of the penalty, many don’t know how or can no longer make these changes for whatever reason (maybe they sold the company). Some people also think that just removing the page and putting the old content on the new site will work fine (it doesn’t).
If you are punished, the safest way is to clean up your previous behavior completely. You have to have brand new content and rebuild the domain from scratch, or do a complete content overhaul. Google explains that they want you to get out of the penalty as long as it takes to get into it.
14. Your technical SEO Lacks
Getting technical SEO right is worth it: Google and your users will love you.
Let’s take a look at some common problems and solutions, and where technical SEO can help you.
Problem: Your website is not hitting the Core Web Vitals numbers
Solution: Technical SEO will help you identify issues with Core Web Vitals and give you a path to correct them. Don’t just trust a strategic audit — it won’t always help you in these areas. You need a full technical SEO audit to spot some of these issues, as they can range from very simple to extremely complex.
Problem: Your site has crawling and indexing issues
Solution: They can be very complex and require an experienced technical SEO to spot and fix them. If you find yourself with zero appeal or no performance from your website, you must identify them.
Also, make sure you haven’t accidentally ticked the “Prevent search engines from indexing your site” box in WordPress.
Problem: Your site’s robots.txt file is somehow inadvertently preventing crawlers from accessing critical files
Solution: Technical SEO saves you from the abyss again. Some sites are so deep that you may not see a way out other than to delete the site and start over. The nuclear option is not always the best option. That’s where a seasoned technical SEO professional deserves credit.
Identifying website indexing issues is a challenge, but worth solving
Content, technical SEO, and links are all important in maintaining a website’s performance trajectory. However, if your site has indexing issues, other SEO elements will only get you so far.
Be sure to tick all the boxes and make sure you’re actually publishing your site most correctly.
And don’t forget to optimize every page of your site for relevant keywords! It’s also worth making sure your technical SEO is up to par because the better Google can crawl, index, and rank your site, the better your results will be.
Google (and your site’s traffic) will thank you.