The ultimate goal of every business owner is to see their site rank on Google. According to Moz, 71% of search clicks are attributed to sites listed on the first page, which could potentially boost conversion rates and profits significantly for business owners who are SEO savvy. This brings up the question, is your site as indexable as possible?
What is indexability and why does it matter?
Indexability refers to the ease with which Google’s crawlers can work to download and categorize the pages of your website. This is different from crawlability, which is the ability of crawlers to reach and analyze your site in the first place. Both crawlability and indexability are concepts that aren’t new to SEO professionals, but they are guided by similar principles. And, if you are new to all of this, you might overlook just how important that crawling and indexing is to the SEO equation.
What contributes to a site’s indexability?
Your site has a variety of elements that you can optimize to get better results on your indexing efforts. Below are just a few of the factors to consider the next time you update and optimize your site:
Reducing duplicative content
This is one of the easiest ways to optimize your site and give your indexability a boost. Duplicative content is anything that reads as unoriginal, which can commonly hide in your site’s blog, page content, or even paginated content. Google ultimately wants to index and promote sites that are accurate, well-constructed, and that have quality, relevant, and most importantly, unique content to the searchers needs. Taking the time to optimize your content both from a readability standpoint as well as from a technical standpoint will making crawling and indexing of those pages seamless, for obvious reasons (but I’ll state it), because there would be no red flags, hurdles, or speed bumps that Google would need to dodge.
From a content review standpoint, you can invest in review-based tools, such as Copyscape. Especially if you have multiple writers and creating high volume content is important to you, it will help you identify duplicative content on your site. You can adjust any potentially “risky” content with either a full re-write or a simple rephrase and again avoid any danger from the algo.
Using a “flat hierarchy” in your site’s structure
Every site has an “allowance” in terms of the amount of content that can be crawled and indexed during a website crawl by search robots. This allowance will increase and decrease over time depending on the type of content and the availability of said content. Along with that, the more significant and more high quality your site is per Google’s preferences, the more your site will be indexed, it’s pretty simples.
To maximize Google’s allocation, you may consider adopting a flat site structure to make your pages as accessible as possible. This type of structure has been very popular and has existed since the dawn of web pages, categorized by an easy-to-navigate structure where all pages are homepage-accessible.
You can also use leverage internal linking to point to site pages and create an overall better information architecture to help search robots identify potential paths to indexing. I’m a huge believe in internal linking and it’s benefits, so I would spend some time thinking about how to do this and scale it because it can be, in some case, just as effective as external links, especially to crawling/indexing.
Broken internal links
Since the process of indexing is so automated, simple issues such as broken internal links can cause major issues and put a stop to the indexing process — at least temporarily. Some of these issues can be simple fixes, others might require a lot more technical changes, depending on the size/scope/scale of the issues. Using a tool like ahrefs audit tool can help you to identify potential concerns in seconds. Checking for broken internal links should not be a one-time check and it should be monitored on a consistent basis. Usually tools like ahrefs will allow you to get email updates on broken links so you can fix them in (semi) real time.
These links can typically be as simple as a typo, more complex like a blog post that was deleted (for who knows what reason?), or as deep as major URL architecture changes that were not properly redirected or dealt with. Either way, using tools to help diagnose these issues and just getting them taken care of is of utmost importance.
Minimize Redirect Concerns
Speaking of redirects? This is especially prevalent with websites that may frequently delete listings, posts, products, etc. A prime example of this could be an e-commerce website with a product that is no longer available and might have been deleted. While redirecting can be helpful in pointing the customer to the next best alternative, you’ll want to be sure that any redirects left outstanding get resolved in a timely manner. There’s no way to predict when your site will be next indexed, and you wouldn’t want a delay or lower score due to unresolved redirect issues.
Another risk here would be an endless loop of redirects — which could actively slow down your site and affect your SEO Crawling and Indexing overall. You can easily check your site’s speed with tools such as Pingdom or PageSpeed, using the raw data as a springboard for your next rounds of technical optimization and speed refinement.
If you are really unsure where to start, our team is well versed in handling these types of situations for clients of all shapres and sizes. We’ve worked on crawling and indexing issues for small e-commerce brands to large organizations like HIRED and Ticketmaster and our SEO Services are tailored towards your specific needs.