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Common Reasons Why Google Is Deindexing Pages

The fear of not knowing how the newest Google update is going to impact your site is a feeling that every SEO expert knows about. One issue that I’ve recently faced and several website owners have come across is Google is deindexing pages not just for the content that didn’t use to rank, but also for the content that was on top of SERPs.

Google has never been transparent about its deindexing process and pages being deindexed just after an update leaves people scratching their heads.

If your website and content don’t meet Google’s quality standards, your pages are most likely going to be deindexed. 

In this guide, I’ll be outlining some simple steps you can take to improve your odds to get your pages back.

What is De-Indexing?

When Google de-indexes your page, it’s removed from the list of pages that Google shows in the search results.

Google indexes pages that publishers want to be indexed. Let’s say your content is about the ‘difference between CPU vs GPUs,’ Google crawls the page to understand the information it has to offer. If the content you’ve written is full of essential information, then the page will get indexed.

Similarly, Google can de-index your page if it feels something is wrong with your page. Or, you can purposefully de-index a page by adding a ‘noindex’ tag to the page or to the robots.txt file.

What happens when your page is deindexed?

If your page is deindexed from Google, it won’t appear in search results. Google won’t retrieve it in its database for the relevant searches. If you’ve recently experienced a drop in traffic after the latest Google update, Google likely has deindexed your pages.

Check-in your search console if Google is deindexing your pages.

How do you find page indexing issues on your website?

If you’re not sure whether or not your pages are being deindexed from Google, here are some steps you can try.

1. Google Search Console

Go to the Indexing section in Google Search Console. There you’ll get detailed insights about which pages are being indexed and which pages have errors that you’ll need to fix. 

Most of the links can be ignored and they may not be the real reason why your pages are getting deindexed. For any page listed, you can use the URL Inspection Tool for more details on the status and why the page may not be deindexed. 

2. Use Site:

Search ‘site:yourdomain.com’ on Google and you’ll be able to view all the indexed pages on your site. This is a quick method to see if any key pages are missing from being indexed from your site. 

3. Meta Tags

Web pages have meta tags in their HTML. Make sure the pages that you don’t see in the indexed URLs are not marked as ‘noindex’ tag. The ‘noindex’ tag asks Google or any other search engine not to crawl the page.

If you’ve made some errors during setting up the website, it could be the reason your pages are being marked with the ‘noindex’ tag. Check for these issues and wait till Google indexes your pages. 

4. Canonical Tags

These tags inform the search engine which version of the same page should be treated as the primary one. Make sure you use these tags the right way so you don’t tell the search engines that your pages are duplicates and they shouldn’t be indexed.

5. Redirects

Redirects help you guide your website visitors through your website. It’s a good habit to set up temporary redirects if you change a URL, while the old link is still indexed, users that click on it will be redirected to the new URL.

Make sure you’re not using redirects wrong which is causing your pages to be deindexed from Google.

How Do I Fix Google Not Indexing Pages?

Take every Google update in the last 2 years, all of them are focused on increasing the quality of search results. If your website fails to meet the quality standards, you’ll come under Google’s radar. 

Google’s quality standards do not mean that you have to do something extraordinary. Just good, information-rich content and spam-free off-page activities will keep your website from getting stuck in updates.

Here are some things you can improve on your website to prevent your pages from deindexing:

1. Problems with structured data

You have to follow certain practices while you’re using structured data. If you’re not following these structured data guidelines, your pages won’t get indexed. 

Google Search Console can give you an idea of what the issue could be and what you can improve. Keep an eye out for issues with your structured data. 

2. Fix Google Search Console alerts

As I mentioned above, Google Search Console can be a great place to see which pages are being deindexed, and why they’re being deindexed. For pages that are vital to your traffic, consider manually reindexing and then using the URL inspection tool. Make sure to do this whenever you do any major SEO or content updates.

3. Fix technical issues

Fix all the technical issues that could be causing the page deindexing issue. While doing a technical audit, check for:

  • Robots & Tags: Adjust the robots.txt file to unblock essential pages and remove any unintended ‘noindex’ tags. Make sure to also review your canonicalisation settings to make sure there aren’t any issues. 
  • Sitemap and Redirects: Update and submit your XML sitemap after you make any major website changes. Streamline redirecting issues, ensure they’re direct, and point to the right pages. 
  • Focus on Mobile Optimization: Google is giving priority to pages that are optimized for mobile devices. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices. 

4. Spammy off-page activities

If you’re trying to manipulate the search engine rankings by building backlinks everywhere, it counts as spam. You can use AHREFS, SEMRUSH, or any other tool to check the quality of your backlinks.

While backlinks are important for ranking your content, you don’t need to make poor-quality backlinks to manipulate rankings. 

5. Spam on forums

When your website has a lot of UGC (user-generated content), it can lead to Google deindexing your website. Leaving spammy comments on blogs or spam with malware can be hazardous to your search engine health. 

6. Stuffing content with keywords

Stuffing your content with keywords won’t guarantee that you’d rank on top. In recent years, Google has started cracking down on websites that try to manipulate rankings with keyword stuffing. 

You should always write content to provide information on the primary topic. Make sure you include the keywords in your content naturally. 

7. Fix issues with content

There can be a number of content-related issues that can lead to your website getting deindexed. Google will likely take your content off the search engine if there are some issues with your content.

Above all, make sure your content is unique. Try to avoid AI-generated content as much as possible. Don’t write content that doesn’t offer any real value to the users. 

One of the biggest reasons for your website being deindexed is the overall poor quality of your content. Make sure to always check your content for plagiarism, whether the grammar is correct, and if the content is information-rich.

8. Affiliate program

If you have a poor-quality affiliate program on your website, Google may deindex your website from search engine pages. Make sure you’re working with high-quality affiliate programs to prevent this from happening. 

9. Cloaking

Cloaking is when you have multiple sets of URLs or content. Most of the time, SEO experts don’t even know that they’re having cloaking issues. Check if someone else has unauthorized access to your website and is using cloaking as a tool.

Summary – Google is Deindexing pages:

Getting deindexed by Google does not mean that your site won’t recover. All you need to do is make some changes, focus on doing all the right things and you’ll be back on track in no time.

Make the required changes quickly to recover your site. Start by identifying and fixing the issues that have caused your site to be deindexed.

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