What Is “Index Bloat?” How To Find And Fix Index Bloat?

by | Last updated May 13, 2022 | Published on Nov 2, 2021 | Content Writing Services

You want Google to index the pages of your website for higher rankings. But what if there are outdated pages on your site? Or pages that no longer contain relevant content? Companies providing advanced content writing services would be quite familiar with this situation and would have helped many webmasters deal with this situation.

Index Bloat and Its Dangers

Sometimes some of your pages may have no content at all, because you are changing their content and have therefore removed the older content. These pages don’t carry any value as of now. You don’t want them to be indexed and ranked. But if these pages are there in your website, Google and the other search engines will index them, even if you don’t want them to. That is called index bloat, a situation where the search engine algorithms index too many pages in a website – even pages that aren’t important.

If those pages end up in the search results, not only could users be misled by irrelevant information in those pages, but they could enter and immediately exit the page if it does not have content. This would give users the wrong impression about your website, in particular, and business in general, though there are other useful pages with quality content on your website. Index bloat will also affect rankings for those great pages. The pages that matter in your site could get ranked lower than an irrelevant page. That would ultimately affect your traffic because those unnecessary pages would snatch the organic traffic of the pages that matter in your website.

How to Deal with Index Bloat?

What’s the best way to deal with index bloat? Remove those unnecessary pages ASAP or tell the search engines you don’t need them.

Identifying Unnecessary Pages Indexed by Google

First, identify those unnecessary pages in your website:

  • For that, Google Search Console can help you see the pages in your site that the search engine has indexed.
  • Make a note of the undesirable pages that have been indexed and write down their URLs.
  • You can also search for your website domain on Google by prefixing the term “site”.

    page intexImg source

Undesirable pages could be those having duplicate content, low quality content, or content that isn’t relevant or necessary anymore.

Blocking Search Engines from Indexing Those Pages

After identifying those unnecessary pages, you can block the search engine algorithms from indexing them, or you can delete those pages:

  • By blocking the search engine from indexing your page, it will disappear from the search results. So, there’s no damage done there. You won’t get any organic search traffic to the page.
  • Visitors to the other pages of your site may find their way to those undesirable pages through links on those good pages. You would have to make those links non-functional.
  • Another way, though much less probable, by which people could see that blocked page is when they directly place the URL of that blocked page in their web browser.

Deleting Unnecessary Pages from Your Website

If you really don’t want that irrelevant page to be seen by readers, the easier way is to simply delete the page. Deleting irrelevant pages will remove them from your website. They will also disappear from SERPs after the search engines refresh their listings.

Meta Tag “noindex”

For blocking your page from the crawlers of Google, the search engine giant recommends adding the meta tag, “noindex” to the HTML code of the page. It is important to remember not to use the “noindex” directive in the robots.txt files. Google has stopped supporting this right from 2019.

E-commerce sites usually have to deal with index bloat the most. They are the ones that usually have duplicate pages, processing files, paginated pages, etc. The same products could be described in various pages under different categories. News sites could also frequently deal with index bloat. That’s not to say other businesses won’t struggle with this. You would not realize it unless you deliberately look for such undesirable pages. You need to perform a site audit.

That’s where advanced digital marketing services in New York help. They can perform site audits and ensure your website doesn’t suffer from index bloat and other related issues. One of the ways they help is by constantly updating the content on their clients’ websites to ensure freshness and relevance to the changing trends and requirements of clients. Updated content is what Google looks for to ensure readers always get the best result.

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