An SEO professional was concerned about technical improvements they were making with their blog, along with some of its structured data.
Since the end of October, the number of pages indexed by Google has dropped dramatically – approximately 25 percent – by about 500,000 pages.
For the pages that they have submitted, the submitted ones have dropped by 50 percent to over 50 percent.
They have done all the research they can imagine that would be relevant.
The one thing that they found is that if there is a review on a product page, or if there are no reviews on the product page, the Schema validator is unhappy because there was no review mentioned, but they are doing something wrong there.
That is the only large change they can think of that has happened that could cause the site to go from a slow but steady growth all year to a dramatic drop in the past two months.
Is there something they are missing that they should look at next?
John answered that just because structured data is not entirely valid on a page, this would not mean that Google would drop it from indexing. He believes this seems unrelated.
He continued: he is imagining that perhaps the SEO professional is looking at the report in Search Console, which shows all of these errors.
They are looking at them, and they say – “Well, I don’t really care about the markup there.”
John says that that is fine. It’s not a sign that Google thinks their site is bad, because the structured data isn’t valid.
Google just wants SEO professionals to know that, in case they want to use the structured data, that it isn’t working.
This would still not interfere with crawling or indexing or anything like that.
This happens at approximately the 5:47 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
So over the last year, we’ve been making a lot of technical improvements to the site. And our customers seem to be pretty happy with the site. However, since the end of October, the number of pages indexed by Google has dropped dramatically 25%, by about 500,000 pages.
And the ones that we’ve submitted, so that that was for all pages known, the submitted ones have dropped by 50%, over 50%. We’ve done the kind of research we can imagine that would be relevant.
And the thing that we found is that if there is a review on a product page, or if there are no reviews on the product page, the schema validator is unhappy because there’s no review mentioned, but we’re doing something wrong there.
But that’s the only big change that we can see that’s gone from a slow but steady growth all year to a dramatic drop in the last two months. Is there something that we’re missing that we should look at next?
Or is that actually enough to have been the core cause of it?
So just because structured data is not completely valid on a page wouldn’t mean that we would drop it from indexing. So that seems unrelated to me. I imagine maybe the report in Search Console shows all of these errors, and you look at them, and you say, Well, I don’t care about the markup there. And that’s fine.
It’s not a sign that we think your website is bad, because the structured data isn’t valid. It’s just we want to let you know, in case you wanted to use the structured data, it’s like it’s not working. But that wouldn’t affect crawling, or indexing or ranking or anything like that. It’s kind of hard to say offhand, like what might be causing that. It could be similar to the previous question that our systems are kind of unsure about the quality overall of your website.
When it comes to such a large website, where you’re kind of looking at the the mass of numbers there, one thing I would also do is try to look at some samples and try to see is there…is the the number really reflective of an actual issue, or is maybe the the number of indexed pages essentially just reflective of maybe something technical that is being cleaned up.
So for example, sometimes we index pages with different parameters attached to them, maybe like analytics tracking parameters. And it can easily happen that we suddenly index, I don’t know, 100,000 of those pages. And they’re all indexed. And in the graph, it looks like that’s a big thing. But if we were to drop all of those pages, it wouldn’t change anything for your website, because these are kind of accidentally indexed pages.
So in the graph, that could look very dramatic, and that it goes up, like all of these things are indexed, and then it goes down, you’re like, oh, what broke, but it might just be that our systems are kind of fixing an issue with regards to indexing, that doesn’t really affect the rest of your website.
Okay, so this, I guess what I’d try to do is figure out which of these issues are really affecting the traffic or the visibility of your website. And maybe the indexing issue is something that falls into that, but I would try to separate that out.
SEO Professional 3 9:12
Okay, this one thing that we noticed was this is the first time we’ve ever seen crawled but not indexed. And maybe that’s just because before it’s been not crawled and not indexed, this is kind of a new thing. We’re like, Okay, we feel like this is telling us something, but we’re not quite sure how to interpret it. What to parse from it.
Yeah, I guess quality? Yeah, I don’t think there’s really much you can kind of pull out from that. I think the two statuses, crawled and not indexed and discovered not indexed, I think. They’re essentially equivalent in that we know about the URL.
It’s like, like we confirm that we’ve heard about it, but we decided not to index it. And that’s something where we’re looking with the indexing teams to figure out is this really like a general problem? Because we hear more and more reports about this. Or is it essentially just, it’s more visible than it used to be?
Because even in the past, we would always only index a portion of the website. But we never showed people that in Search Console. We just focused on kind of the the traffic that you’re getting, not why we’re not indexing individual pages.
Yeah. No, but if you want to, you can drop your URL here in the chat, and I can pass it on to the team, especially if you have some sample URLs from your website where you’re kind of feeling well, this is really important content.
And it’s not being indexed. And is it something you’re doing or something we’re doing kind of thing?