Google’s John Mueller spoke about the importance of helping Google understand what content is important in order to help it get indexed. Although he mentioned the role of external links, his overall response seemed to emphasize the importance of the importance of content and offered five ways to emphasize this importance.
URL discovered but not indexed
The person asking the question said that they create content for clients, but Google’s search console says the content is discovered but not indexed.
Unindexed means that the content is not placed in Google’s index for ranking purposes.
Content that is not indexed may as well not exist.
The SEO responsible for creating the content was looking for advice, and Mueller offered suggestions, including the idea of external links.
What does it mean to be crawled but not indexed?
The person asking the question wanted to know what it means for the content to be discovered (crawled) and not indexed.
“Does that mean Google thinks this content isn’t perfect for indexing? Or what does that mean?”
In the context of the question above, John Mueller suggested that Google not indexing content doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with the content.
John Mueller discusses Google content indexing
“I don’t think it means anything, specifically. …I think it’s still kind of an easy, precocious assumption to say, oh Google looked at it but decided not to index it.
Mueller then explains what he means by stating that not everything is automatically indexed.
John continued his response:
“A lot of the time when we’re still crawling something, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll automatically index it.
So I would almost treat these two categories of unindexed as a similar thing.
And it’s tricky because we don’t index everything, so it can happen.
How to get content indexed faster?
The person asking the question went on to note that the pattern of their content not being indexed occurs on five or six client websites.
He asked John Mueller for advice on what to do to make indexing easier.
“…is there anything else, if we do this, maybe it will help get indexed?”
John Mueller offered the following suggestions:
“I mean… there are different things, which you may already be doing…
On the one hand, making sure it’s easy for us to recognize important content on a website is really good.
Which sometimes means doing less content and doing better content. So have less pages than you want indexed.
The other thing is that internal links are very important for us to understand what you consider important on a website.
So things, for example, that link from the homepage are usually a sign that you care about those pages, so maybe we should care more.
Things with external links, they kind of fall into that category as well where we see other people think those pages are important, so maybe we’ll see them as important as well.
And then the sitemaps and the RSS feeds from a technical point of view, also help us a little better to understand if these pages are new or have changed recently.
We should check them again and see what’s up.
But all of these things…come together and it’s something where you rarely miss a trick to index these pages.
The person asking the question followed the question for external links helping to index these pages.
He told how the client shared articles on social media and got links to those blog posts.
The person asked:
“Now we use the blog for interlinking with other pages. So linking to these blog posts, which are not indexed by Google, will impact website ranking or add value… ?”
And of course, we all know that links help a site rank, so Mueller’s answer on this point is not surprising.
The most interesting part of his answer is how he re-emphasized how an external link could help tell Google that an article is important.
This theme about the importance of an article kept getting repeated by John, so it may be something to think about a little deeper.
“I mean…if we find external links to those pages, chances are we’ll crawl and index that page, like a bit higher I guess.”
It depends a bit on the type of external links, of course.
There are links coming directly from social media that usually don’t have a following, so we don’t really pass any signals there.
And if it’s something we can recognize well, maybe it’s problematic links or not useful links, maybe we’ll ignore them too.
But obviously, if we can tell something is considered important, we’ll probably go crawl and index that page more likely.
What you usually won’t see is that we will somehow pass the value to the rest of the website if we don’t actually index that page.
Because if we decide not to index that page, it’s still that situation that, well, we don’t have a destination for those links, so we can’t do anything with those links for the rest of the website.
If something is important, it will probably be indexed
John Mueller’s answer seemed to offer a little insight into one of the ways Google decides what content to index.
Obviously, Mueller did not disclose the algorithm.
But he shared an important insight into indexing that relates to the importance of an article.
One takeaway is that it makes it easy for Google to recognize what content is important.
And of course, to do that, the content has to be important to begin with.
Make it easier for Google to recognize important content
John Mueller offered five suggestions to help Google recognize what content is important.
Five Ways to Highlight Important Content
- Create less content, but better quality
- Internal links can help signal what content is considered important
- A link from the home page can signal what content is important
- External links can signal that the content is important
- Sitemaps and RSS feeds can signal what content is important
Creating content that is in some way important to readers is a good way to increase the likelihood of external links and enthusiasm for the website in general.
Google will likely index important content
Watch at 21:04 minutes: