I've often been asked why particular pages are not indexed. Honestly, you can never be sure until you fix the problem. If you think that you've isolated the problem, you never know if you've only corrected one of multiple problems. So, it's best to take it step-by-step.

The first step is be sure that your page really is missing from the search index. (Throughout, I'll be talking about the search "index" but each engine has its own index, so you must check every blessed one individually.)

Most search engines allow the use of a special operator to reveal if a page is in the search index. As an example, if I wanted to know if a page from my Web site was indexed, I could search for "site:www.mikemoran.com/aboutmike/index.htm"--the search engine would show the page in its results if it is in the index.

Assuming that your page is not found using this method, the next step is to try to figure out why. One possibility is that most of your site is missing, which you can determine by a similar search, such as "site:www.mikemoran.com"--you can see how many pages are indexed. If it's very few, your problem is bigger than that single page.

Major site problems include:

  • Spam penalties. If you've been caught violating the search engines' terms of service (spamming), they'll drastically scale back the pages in the index until you beg for reinclusion.
  • Hidden links.If the navigation to your site is hidden within JavaScript, Flash, or other non-HTML methods, the search engine spiders are unlikely to be able to follow them.
  • Dynamic URLs. If your URLs are excessively long, or have many parameters, or contain ID or session parameters, the search engines might elect not to index them.
  • Incorrect robots.txt file. Your robots.txt file tells the search spider which pages to include and exclude from the crawling--if you've coded the file incorrectly, you might be excluding lots of pages you meant to include.

But what if it really is just this one pesky page that isn't being indexed? Some problems are likely to be confined to a single page:

  • Incorrect robots tagging. Just like the robots.txt file, a robots metatag tells the spider to include or exclude an individual page--you might be telling the spider to exclude the page by mistake.
  • User interaction required. If your page launches a pop-up window, or demands that a form be filled out, spiders won't be able to comply.
  • Improper redirects. If your page uses a meta refresh or JavaScript redirect, spiders ignore them and don't index the page.
  • Poor quality pages. If your page is excessively long, contains HTML coding errors, or uses frames, it's unlikely to be indexed correctly.

Once you've identified what's wrong, you can correct the problem and wait for the spiders to come back. Good luck getting all your pages indexed. Remember, if your page isn't in the index, it can never be found.

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February 26, 2009





Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, Web personalization, and Web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include ClickZ Live, RKG Summit, Ticket Summit, Webdagene, the CiTE conference, and the Forrester Marketing Conference.

Mike also founded and writes for the Biznology newsletter and blog, is the co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc., and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.






Comments(43)

Instead of

wait for the spiders to come back...

...use the best technique(s) for getting a site quickly indexed here ;)

I have heard the Google may penalize you for using the "site:yourdomain.com" search. They don't like SEO people and thing by using that search you are an SEO expert trying to see what your site is doing as opposed to someone just trying to provide "useful information."

Business

This is worth noting. I am not sure why google would in any way shape or form actually penalize you for using a search operator they actually advise you to use!

Also if that was the case then your competitors only have to carry out searches on your site ( which I presume they do anyone) to get your rankings altered.

As you can see that comment does not make sense.

The original article offers some really good advise for anyone trying to resolve why their webpage may not be indexed.

@Gene: Where have you been reading / hearing all this? (Lol)

The article really offers an insight and at least a check-list that can be relied upon if everything fails. I guess Mike has covered all aspects of non-indexing.

I would, however, first check whether my Page is being Cached using the 'cache:' operator and later come to this check-list.

Thanks Mike for the check-list.

-Article Marketing
-Social Bookmarking
-Forum Posting
-Video Marketing
-Create A Wordpress blog and include your new sites link on it. Then Ping The Wordpress Blog.
-Submit A Site Map

Well the best way to get a page indexed is to get a lot of links to the page. You can make internal links on you own site, then chances of getting the page indexed is higher.

Secondly use Google Webmaster tools. Here you can se how Google crawl your site - how many pages is crawled, how is server response time to load the pages for GoogleBot...

If it's a blog post it could perhaps help to submit your blog to Google Blog Search.

Steen Öhman
Steen Öhman

Thanks, Mike:

On a related theme, how does one get listed in dmoz?

I believe Google relies heavily on dmoz when determining SERP position. Yet, what do you do if dmoz refuses to accept your web site. I have a perfectly respectable and helpful web site that has been online for five years.

Yet, I can't get dmoz to recognize it. I have tried several times. I have even applied to be a dmoz editor, without even getting an acknowledgment.

Any tips?

I wish I had the secret, William. I myself have submitted my Web site to DMOZ and never gotten it listed (embarrassing but true).

I still think that a DMOZ link is valuable, but I have heard so many horror stories from folks unable to get legitimate sites listed that I wonder if Google has devalued that link from where it once was. Others who dissect search ranking algorithms might know more about this than me, but I think that DMOZ is less up-to-date, excluding more good sites, than ever before, which makes me wonder if search engines rely on it less.

Thanks for highlighting the problems.

Your tips will help website owners to get a particular web page indexed in major search engines.

O>K>..since no one has read the article I mentioned I'll state it plainly:

Get the particular page URL you want to be indexed on another page that already IS indexed. You can do tghis by commenting on 'do-follow' sites, submit classified ads to high PR classy ad sites(this works incredibly well!), get an UNpaid blog review, get your link posted on Digg and then ping that Digg url, etc.

The list goes on and on...

As for DMOZ, it's not worth what it once was,but the same strategy applies: Get listed on sites that are already in DMOZ ;)

Just some tips that I found out on my own that absolutely works...

I agree that pinging and and some social bookmarking (make sure they are do-follow) is a quick way to get a page indexed quickly.

Great information, I had a problem in the past with getting index. I paid some $100 dollars to fix it, I wish I had seen this before.

By submiting to the search engines or webmaster and by getting linked with other sites, site may easily get indexed.

Hi,

Good post.

I have a net of free blogs and dotcom domains.
When a launch a new one to be indexed, i leave a comment on another blog of mine (dofollow), were i post often and at the end of the day, the new one is allready indexed.

When i want to index a page ASAP i use technorati to ping that page ...

Cumps

Honestly I just had a blog I created on a fresh domain about 4 days ago and it is already indexed for the main page as well as one of my secondary pages. Do not discount the power of backlinks. That is the real deal when it comes to being indexed and quickly.


Sam

I concur with Sam on this. The power of backlinks has helped me dramatically. Some people overlook the importance of BLs and will ignore it. Little did they know they have the power to make or kill your website. And even if you start to gain little recognition through them, keep doing it.

J from Beer & Pancakes

This a really informative post.

I have just finished reading Google' search engine optimization starter's guide. That was a delightful reading and endorses all of your views.

Kind regards,
Mani

I would say that Social Bookmarking and forum posting is the best way to get indexed fast.

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Use anchor text to create profiles on high PR sites is a fast way to get indexed as long as the links are "do follow."

I've had good results getting indexed quickly using the following:

- Social bookmarking on Digg
- Relevant commenting on forums using link in signatures
- Article submissions to Ezine articles with correct anchor text
- Submit your RSS feeds
- Pinging at pingler.com

Should get you spidered pretty quickly....

Atlanta personal injury attorney

Hi, Great post. One thing I would add to the list of getting indexed is to set up a adwords account. Cost you $5, set the bids to the minimum, activate the account and bam, instant index. If your site has the proper naveigation and robot.txt your whole site will be indexed.

The only thing about article marketing is you have to wait for the article to get published. Once it is your site will be indexed really fast.

I hope this was helpful.

Terry

HAHA Create powerful backlinks ;)
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To index any page you could use two Wordpress plugins, like SEO Tile Tag 2.0 And All In One SEO Pack Wordpress Plugins.

Read my article here.

Hi,

A right internet business is a profitable enterprise that is automated and will work with or without you. First thing you have to understand what the right definition of online internet business is. One of the best way to develop the internet business is to utilize online service to automate the internet business.

I am just reacting to your last statement:
Remember, if your page isn't in the index, it can never be found.

A page that is not indexed can still be found if you do social/web 2.0 marketing. Thanks for your informative write-up.

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Of course, you're right, Valentin. I should have said that your page will never be found by the search engine. Perhaps I should take some of your Ginkgo Biloba to help me remember to say that from now on. :-)

Thanks for sharing this valuable information, if we do things like as what you said we may get indexed, but do we really need to submit our websites to major search engines like google just to get indexed quickly?

Traffic,

It doesn't hurt to submit, but I think it's better to wait for the search engines to find you because another site has linked to you. You need links anyway, so why not go for them at the very start? If you're impatient, submission might get you indexed a bit faster but it won't help you rank highly the way links will.

Hi Mike, Great article! I think that when people realize that search engines are just very big data bases getting your site regesterd or indexed makes more sence. If you are not in the database you can't be found. From my experience if someone just submits their site to google it takes a good while to get indexed.

One more suggestion for your list in order to get intantly added to the Google is to set up an Adwords account. Set your bids to 10 cents, turn it on and you will be index.

I also think it is importand for folks to know that your list is not a one time thing (I know the focus of your article is getting indexed) but a process. Rinse and Repeat.

Again, great article. Thanks

Terry

Thanks for the kind words, Terry.

I don't think Google has ever said that signing up for AdWords gets you indexed, but I have heard many people say it's true, as you do. People should remember that getting linked to is what Google uses as one criterion that you have a quality site, however, so, as you say, just getting indexed is only part of the process.

Hi Mike,

I have been doing this for almost 5 yrs and it is amazing. I have a new client and we just finished his site. I am about to setup an adwords account. I will let you know how long it takes.

Terry

Thanks for the information, but I had a little question to ask, hope you don't mind.. if I finish re-editing our website like for example.. today, are there specific times when will spiders crawl on our website again?.. I know this was a very lousy question but I'm a bit confused about it..

thanks!

That's a very common question, Janice. The search engines don't make any promises about when they'll send their spider around, and they actually send it more frequently to sites that have lots of links (important, well-visited sites) and sites that change very frequently--they come every day to some sites that fall into both categories.

But if you leave a site unchanged for long periods of time, the spider eventually learns not to come around very often, so it could take months before it returns to look at what you did. If you rarely change your site, it can help to put a link to a new page in a message board or some other place that you know is crawled frequently. That will help the spider discover that something has changed.

Some people recommend submitting your site to the search engines, but if you're already indexed, I am not sure how much that helps. Perhaps others have an opinion on this.

My advice would be to upload an .xml sitemap to all those search engines you want to be indexed by, and update it as frequently as possible.

I have noticed the same thing. Generally, my home page on nj mortgages gets indexed more times than any other page. I make sure to have each page optimized to the gills, however, ande my blog posts get indexed more often than my regular pages.

Chris

We have out site indexed but wanted to know when is google caffine going to replace the existing google.

i guess there it's a 2 step process, getting the site crawled and then depending on the relevancy, it gets indexed? In any case, pointing big fat (high authority) links does job. I know some seos would even build links pointing to these links.

Often times just putting the link on a page that is obviously indexed such as this one usually gets the job done.

I actually use a somewhat non traditional way to get a new site (or a specific page) indexed. Besides social bookmarking, which are often "nofollow" I usually write a blog post and/or article and link to the page. That tends to do the trick!

Thanks for sharing this valuable information, if we do things like as what you said we may get indexed, but do we really need to submit our websites to major search engines like Google just to get indexed quickly?

In my experience, all you need is a link to your page from another indexed page, but you can submit also. Because you need links to get rankings for most keywords, you might as well work on that, anyway.

Hello! We have out site indexed but wanted to know when is google caffine going to replace the existing google. Thanks.

If i were you, I wouldn't worry much about Caffeine. Caffeine has been rolled out in some places already, but it doesn't change what you ought to do to get a page indexed. Just do what you need to do and let the search engines take care of themselves.

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