Learn Why Your Links Are Not Always Indexed & What To Do About It
You can have the grandest, most fascinating, and state-of-the-art website with a ton of great content, but if your links do not get indexed then all your efforts would be for naught. In the strategic game of SEO, nothing will start and nothing will end as long as your website (and all its links) are not indexed.
After all, you can’t play a game if you’re not included in the gameplay.
What Is Indexing?
Okay – enough with the semantics. Let’s get to the core of our main agenda today: Indexing.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this SEO term, the “index” would refer to Google and other search engines’ databases that collect, analyze, and store unique and characteristic information about a website, and the links associated with it.
Think of it as a class roster – where the complete list of enrolled students appears. If you’re not on the list, you will not be recognized as a bonafide student. The same thing goes with websites. If you’re not indexed, your pages will not be recognized by Google and you will lose all opportunities to show up in the SERPs.
The index, therefore, is the storage of all information about websites – what they do, how they function, who should be using them, etc. This is the pool of information search engines filter whenever someone keys in a search on the search box. And indexing is the process of collecting all this data.
Why Is It Necessary To Get Your Links Indexed?
Can you imagine how many links are floating in cyberspace? Billions.
And if your links are not indexed – meaning not included in the roster of Google’s relevant, niche-specific links – it is nearly impossible to rank (or even just appear) on search engine page results.
If you can come up with some other way to drive in bulk traffic to your website without having to use search engines, then please – do teach me. Kidding aside, when links are not indexed, chances are, no good amount of authority will flow into your website pages making it doubly hard to get people to find your website. I mean, even saying that your website is non-existent would be no exaggeration.
In this article, we are going to learn how we can differentiate indexed links from non-indexed links and later on discuss a step by step process on how you can get your links indexed – fast!
But first, a bit of motivation.
How Can Indexing Help Your Business?
- Can you guess the two most popular activities done on the internet? Searching and E-mailing. When you have your links indexed, you’re creating a bigger stage for your business. The more people find you, the greater chances you have of increasing revenue!
- And if that is not enough to convince you, how about the fact that 93% of site and link traffic come from search engines?
- We have now entered an age of information when everything is just a search query away. Over 2 trillion searches are made on Google worldwide every year. Now, what business wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Getting your links indexed gets them to join this humongous circus that gives everyone an equal chance to get out in the limelight. You can worry about keywords and other SEO-related stuff later – we have different articles for those. For now, let’s focus on getting you to participate by indexing your links.
Backlinks, especially, are the most index-worthy. So let’s check out which ones you already have indexed!
How To Check If Your Website Links Are Getting Indexed?
First, let me introduce you to the ones responsible for indexing your website links: Googlebot Crawlies and Indexers.
- Googlebot is a software Google sends out to visit sites and gather information about new websites and pages to add to Google’s index. The process is called crawling and Googlebot Crawlies carry out this process by using links to discover pages. Links are like magic portals where crawlies can go in and out.
- Googlebot Indexers then analyze all the information crawlies find during a process called – wouldn’t you guess? – indexing. An indexer can be likened to a quality control officer. They screen the data randomly gathered by crawlies and pick out those of good quality. Only those that pass this screening process gets to be indexed. Those that are ruled out as random, irrelevant fluff gets trashed.
The goal of any SEO campaign is, of course, to impress Google and other search engines whenever they conduct their usual rounds – automatically and manually. But your initial objective should be letting them find you.
To check if your links are getting indexed, you can use this handy tool. You can run multiple index checks at once to help you save time! So far, this website tool supports the most URLs in just one go – provides reliable results too.
This process is actually as easy as 1-2-3!
- Key in the URLs you want to run an index search on – up to 25 URLs is okay.
- Click “Find Indexing” and wait for a few seconds while they run the index check.
- And voila – it’s done. The good thing about this tool is that you can also export the results to a .excel file. Store it for record-keeping!
It would be good to have all your links index-checked – regularly. Even Google has released statements that back this up.
So even if you’ve got your links indexed, it is not wise to just sit on your laurels. Keeping your website ranking high is no easy task so before you even take the plunge; get it in your head that it is ongoing work – for maybe, forever.
In the example given above, all the links have already been indexed. But what if they weren’t? Are you just going to sit around and wait? Not likely.
Top 5 Reasons Why Google Can’t/Won’t Index Your Link
Okay. So you’ve run your checks and you see one, five, no – a dozen links not yet indexed!
Keep your cool. Your links may not be indexed but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.
Like any other problem, this indexation dilemma of yours also has a solution – several, even. And we’re here to guide you to them.
But before we can come up with any solution, we first need to identify the problem. We can do this by backtracking our steps to look for all potential causes that may have, in some way, made your links ineligible to get indexed.
Here are a few common causes:
- Backlinks Have Been Tagged “Noindex” or “Nofollow” – when the Googlebot army crawls a website, it can only go through links that are free to access. Backlinks tagged with “noindex” or “nofollow” block crawlies from searching a certain link which, in effect, makes Google overlook a certain page on your website.
This tag is commonly used to disallow crawlies from following links that you believe shouldn’t be used by Google as a basis for ranking your website – such as blog comments, private company pages (e.g. employee files, projects that are still in the initial stages of development), etc.
Other websites who link to you can also have your backlink tagged as noindex or nofollow for reasons that may or may not have a significant connection with their own website’s SEO. But this is not the article to talk about that. Whatever their reasons may be, fact remains that because they tagged your backlink with noindex/nofollow means that your page will not be found even if Google runs a search on their website.
Segway question: So if you want something indexed or followed then should you be using an index or follow tag?
Umm. No. Even without an index or follow tag, it is understood that the link is open to access. It would be a complete waste of time to add these tags; it would be like saying:
“This is a public event open for the public.”
Utterly redundant. If you need something indexed or followed, just leave it as it is or remove a noindex/nofollow tag if there is one.
- Crawl Error Alert! – Check your websites robots.txt file. It could be that some of your pages are not getting indexed because a code is blocking or interfering with the crawlies’ search. We generally have two types of crawl errors:
- Site errors – Consist of DNS, Server Connectivity, and Robots Failure Errors
- URL errors – Consist of Common, Mobile-only, and News-only URL Errors
You can read more about these types of errors here.
- Your Website Structure Is Giving Google A Hard Time – Google bots are very capable at what they do and that is gathering information and running links. However, they also have limitations. It’s okay to get creative with your website but you should always take into account Google’s media preferences.
Here are more advanced causes:
- Your Content Is Junk – I apologize for the harsh term but it is better to deliver quality based content that is informative and engaging, rather than throwing out useless content in order to spam the search engines.
Search engines profit out of people’s trust. And they’re not going to break that trust anytime soon – especially not by giving them false, unreliable, or trashy information. The crawling and indexing system is not always at fault. Sometimes, the problem lies with the content of your links.
- Google Is On To You – Yep, I mean that in a “hot list”, “subject for investigation” kind of way. Many websites take SEO the wrong way and flood their pages with keywords and signals all too obviously. Of course, Google is going to get suspicious.
After all, the people behind search engines were not randomly picked just to fill in positions. They are geniuses who’re running the world’s largest, and most influential online enterprise in the history of online enterprises. And always anticipate them to be two steps ahead of you.
Link, keyword, and content manipulation aren’t new things. Google has been fighting off the bohos behind black and gray hat tactics since the battle for the search rankings began. If your website or backlinks are still not indexed (after a long, long time), and you know for a fact that you’re guilty of trying to outsmart search engines, then you better rethink your ways. Before they ban your website altogether.
What To Do To Get Your Links Indexed
If you were able to identify your link’s problem after reading the preceding section, then that’s great. Your links actually have a problem.
If you still can’t find anything wrong even after reading this far into the article, don’t worry. Some people can simply be unlucky – nothing more to it.
We’ve identified the problem, now let’s check for solutions. If we simplify this situation, the solution actually becomes clear as day:
Search Engines are ignoring our links. They don’t notice us so we’re not getting indexed.
So what are we going to do?
SCREAM FOR ATTENTION
In a metaphorical sense, obviously. Get Google to index your links by doubling your efforts to get them noticed and here’s how:
- Ping em’ Links!
This method has relatively low chances of getting all your links indexed but still worth a try. Pinging websites claim to “notify search engines” that you’ve made an update on your website.
I’ve heard many people say that this doesn’t work or it doesn’t help too much but I also hear from others that this pinging strategy helped them get indexed. Either way, pinging your website will hardly cost you anything and you can get it done super-fast too so I guess there’s no real harm in trying.
- Build Two/Second-Tier Links
Second tier links is a practice wherein you link to one page and that page also links back to you. Your relationship with websites would be the determining factor here. Because more often than not, websites that appreciate you linking to their pages will most likely return the favor.
This gives your page more chances to get viewed and hopefully, noticed by crawlers too.
- Make Use of Web 2.0s
Create blog sites on domains that have high indexation rates (these are usually the popular ones which most users trust). Blogger and Weebly are common examples. Make your new account look like a real account; add a short description, etc. Then, make a blog post.
In the post, include several backlinks (no more than 10) linking to the pages you want to be indexed. Since this new site was created using a web 2.0 with a high indexation rate, you can expect your new blog site and post to be indexed quickly. The Google bot will then crawl your links and discover your pages – yay! If everything else is favorable, most of those links will get indexed for sure!
- Submit a SiteMap
Google really encourages website owners to create a sitemap and submit its updated versions to them time and time again. This allows Google to know which areas of your website you prioritize most.
If you have your website on WordPress, you can download the Google XML sitemaps plugin to help you with the task – it also updates the map automatically every time you add or change something in your website!
There you go. Doable, actionable, and very practical ways to get yourself noticed by Google bots and have your links indexed. While it’s good to get these methods into practice there are certain things you should avoid doing while waiting for your links to get indexed.
Things To Avoid When You’re Trying to Get Your Links Indexed
- Don’t Wait Too Long – Being patient is one thing, but when you know that there is something you can do to hasten the process, why sit around?
- Pinging Like A Crazy Person – Don’t ping your links seven times a day, across seven different websites. You’ll only be wasting your time. Pinging once should suffice.
- Posting Your Backlinks Unnaturally – Avoid putting up your links just about anywhere. Remember, relevance and meaning are key. Google may find your link. But when they find them in some odd place, the lack of quality might just blow away your opportunity to get indexed.
Our Final Thoughts
And this brings us to a close.
In a nutshell, let’s recap what we have learned:
- Having your links indexed is very important for your SEO
- There are many benefits to getting a link indexed
- Statistics show that people use search engines to look for information most of the time
- Your website links may not be getting indexed due to technical reasons or issues on quality
- You can get your links indexed through these methods: pinging, creating second-tier links, making web 2.0 sites, or submitting a sitemap to Google
- There are things you should avoid doing such as waiting too long, pinging too hard, or posting too much.
Thanks for reading and good luck on getting those links indexed!