On Reddit’s r/TechSEO Forum, Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller created quite a stir after he replied to a user’s query, stating search is never guaranteed. While this is not the first time a statement such as this has come from Google, it still makes website’s owners a little uncomfortable. Putting in all the hard work to create a website, which might very well be someone’s bread and butter, only to realise it might never get indexed and see the light of the day on search results is not an easy thought to digest. However, it comes with a set of reasons that are quite, well, reasonable. But let’s take it from the top and look at the whole conversation to better understand why never getting indexed is a very real possibility and what should website owners can do in order to help their cause.
Search is never guaranteed, said John Mueller
It all began with a user posting a thread asking if they could use Indexing API to quicken their way into Google’s indexing. It came from a place where the user expressed dissatisfaction about how sites re-publishing identical content were getting indexed faster. John was quick to dismiss the idea stating that API is reserved for special cases such as job postings or live streams. He then went on to share some tips on what can one do to get their website indexed faster while also making a big statement that search is never guaranteed.
He said “Search is never guaranteed, and there are tons of sites that are trying to push their updates into Google.”
Tips on how to get your website indexed sooner than later
John admitted that it be challenging to ensure that the content being contributed by people meets Google’s criteria, as well as frustrating for websites owners to see that the website has still not found its way into the index. To that end, he shared some tips and insights that could help newer websites and those willing to open one. In summary, it all comes down how they can make their website more valuable as well as unique so that Google’s indexing will prefer that over other websites competing for an index.
“I think what ultimately works best is that you prove to Google (and users) that the updates you’re providing are valuable: unique, compelling, high-quality, and not something that’s already published elsewhere. I realize that’s hard when it comes to user-generated content which I assume some of this will be, but ultimately your site is what you publish, regardless of where it initially comes from.
So the more you can do to make sure the indexable content on your site is easily findable and significantly valuable to the web, the more likely Google will be able to pick it up quickly and that can mean that you block content that you determine is less-valuable from being indexed, for example.”
Websites can help their cause by displaying new updates on the homepage
He then concluded with saying that the website owners could help their chances by simply adding or displaying updated content on the homepage itself, as Google usually refreshed homepages more frequently than any other pages on the website. And that that is one way to ensure get into Google’s indexing radar. It may only be a slight change or addition, but it does signal and alter Google’s algorithm that there’s new content that has been added to the website’s content repository.
“One of the things even smaller, newer sites can do is to mention and link to updates on their homepages. Google usually refreshes homepages more frequently, so if there’s something important & new, make sure you have it there. Many sites do this intuitively, with a sidebar or a section for updates, mentioning the new headlines & linking to the content.”
Source: Search Engine Journal