Why Does Google Show Your Page as “Discovered Currently Not Indexed?”

It’s important to understand why Google doesn’t index certain pages of your website. Here is one example.

Video Transcript

Tricia: This says the page is not indexed. It says, “discovered currently not indexed.”

David: Discovered, not indexed. So Google knows it exists, but it’s decided, for whatever reason, not to put it in the index. There are any number of reasons. If you go into Search Console and look at the individual circumstance of the page, you can click through to the exact message in Google’s documentation, and it will tell you what discovered not indexed means and potential actions you can take.

Tricia: Okay.

David: But basically, it’s decided that the page is not worthy of index. So, there are several reasons why this might be the case. One is duplicate content. That’s probably not the case on the contact page unless there’s some mysterious other contact page that you haven’t discovered yet. Another could be a lack of internal links to the page. Internal links tell Google this must be important if there are lots of internal links to the page. And frankly, Google, for this purpose, doesn’t value navigational links.

Tricia: I’m sorry, say that again.

David: Google does not value navigational links. So, it could be on the top of every page in the menu, and Google may not consider that a priority page because of that. I’d also remember that Google is mobile-first, so I would just double-check that the mobile menu has a link and that the mobile menu is crawlable. How new is this website?

Tricia: I’m not 100% sure.

David: How long ago was Search Console set up for the website?

Tricia: I have to look here and see.

David: Because usually, when you see a Search Console, you can see the pages get indexed. And if you start a brand-new Search Console, you’ll see an arc as Google indexes the pages. Or if it’s been around for a long time, it’ll tend to be a flat number of pages. Do you see an arc?

Tricia: Well…

David: In the graph on the top.

Tricia: Yeah, I’m looking. It’s kind of up and down.

David: Okay, it’s not performance.

Tricia: Okay. Indexing.

David: Performance is going to be up and down.

Tricia: So, is there a way to look at a longer time period?

David: It should be three months by default, which should be enough data.

Tricia: Okay. So, it kind of started out in January as seven pages indexed. Then, in March, it bumped up to twelve and then 14.

So basically, a month ago, it started indexing a bunch of pages.

Tricia: More. It only started with seven and bumped it to… Oh, wait a minute. I’m sorry, I’m looking at not indexed.

David: There you go. So, something recently happened to lead to a lot of unindexed items.

Tricia: So, the total number of pages not indexed was eleven, and seven were indexed. Then, eight were indexed, 13 were not indexed, and then eight were indexed, and 14 were not indexed.

David: So, the number of known indexed pages is going up.

Tricia: Yes.

David: Interesting. So, Google is finding the quality of the pages.

Tricia: That’s what I think.

David: It’s starting to deindex. Now we’re talking ones. Like one, two. It’s not a lot of numbers to mean Google is deindexing the site. Okay. No, it’s not there. If we deindex ten pages or 100 pages, we’d be like, oh, something really bad’s going on. Okay. So, I look at those things. Contact pages typically get indexed, and they typically index and show up in site links. And we talked about site links recently. It’s when you do a branded search for your company, and you see that Google shows your listing and then several additional links indented underneath your organic listing. That’s a site link, and one of the most common site links is contact.

Tricia: I’m just looking at something here. So I think I figured out one of the things with that is that I referenced it as a contact us page. And while it is a page for the contact, it is not their primary contact page. It’s a fill-out this form for XYZ, not their main contact page.

David: Okay.

Tricia: So, I’m thinking that that’s why they don’t have a lot of text. Just fill out this form for XYZ.

David: Right.

Tricia: And not their primary contact page.

David: Alright, so this gets up to an issue where Google Search Console is telling us what they see, not necessarily trying to make an evaluation. So, it’s not trying to say your page sucks. It’s trying to say we’re not indexing your page. Not every page on every website needs to be indexed. Some pages are just there for navigational purposes. So, this Google is saying, hey, you know what? Humans can still get to this page because that’s not what the Search Console is showing. It’s not that people can’t get there. It’s not analytics. It’s Search Console. And so what we’re learning is that Google has just decided that of all the pages on the site, we don’t think this is one that gets worth. But that might be okay because it might be that people aren’t googling “I want to get this” and getting to that page. Now, if through keyword research, you might learn that people are indeed looking for what’s offered on that page, then we know through keyword research what to optimize it for. We know what to write about, and we would blow that page out to make it more of a sales page. Right?

Tricia: Okay.

David: But if it’s just like… I have a client that has a self-branded service that they call Widget Wonder. I don’t know. They call it Widget Wonder. If you want to participate in the Widget Wonder service, go to this page and fill out the form. Well, no one knows what Widget Wonder is, right? So, the job of the website is to convince you to go check out Widget Wonder. So, we don’t really care if Google indexes the Widget Wonder page. It’s a navigational page. You’re on our website now. We need to convince you that Widget Wonder is the solution you need and get you there. But people don’t know they need Widget Wonder. How can I get Widget Wonder? So it’s not because it’s a self-branded thing. Eventually, people may become aware of what Widget Wonder is and does, and they might start searching for it on Google, but it’s a new product that no one knows how to look for yet. So, if Google hasn’t indexed that, it just means that.

Tricia: So, it’s okay.

David: Right. But so the first thing is to do keyword research here to see if we think what’s being offered on the page is worthwhile, and if it is and shows up, we can figure out how our customers might be looking for it, and we’re not sabotaging ourselves by optimizing two pages for the same idea, Then maybe it’s pages worth building out.

Tricia: Yeah, I think I am going to have a recommendation on it that will probably be more along the lines of looking at what pages are going because it’s like a “buy this widget now,” and I want to see the other pages that lead to it. Whether it is just something that they want to have on the individual page where they talk about it, or if it’s just one or two pages, or if it’s a lot of pages going there, then beefing up that page.

David: Okay. Yeah. So, you know, maybe it’s a conversion rate optimization problem, not an SEO problem.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Right? Maybe they need more clear calls to action. Get widget now. Click this button to get widget now, and they go to that page where they can get the widget. But maybe the conversion rate optimization is to put the form on every page so they don’t make people have to go through the extra step to get the widget now.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah. Get widget now. Fill out this form. I will probably recommend that.

David: But you know, there’s the other argument, which is get widget now, that gets to the widget now page. It explains all the benefits of widgets now and why you want this, the savings, and how it pays for itself and whatever, as well as all the marketing stuff you want to say about it.

Tricia: Yeah.

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