What is Index Bloat?

Index Bloat

Indexation bloat occurs when Google indexes pages that should not be indexed. In other words, there are too many pages on your site indexed in search engines, wasting limited and valuable resources on irrelevant pages. For example, having your WordPress blog archives, tags, and categories can cause bloat.

Additionally, allowing both secure and non-secure versions of your site indexed results in bloat.

Why Is it a Problem?

Indexation bloat is a huge SEO problem because it causes the following issues:

1. Exhausts your crawl budget
This is the number of pages Google crawls and indexes on a site. The more pages and product categories you have, the more likely some pages on your site won’t be indexed since they surpass your website’s crawl budget. Unfortunately, this could mean that search engines serve users results of non-relevant pages.

2. Decreases the organic quality of your domain
When you have multiple pages with the same or similar content, it affects the organic quality of your domain. Hence, duplicate content doesn’t favor your site as Google likes to rank pages with unique content and metadata.

3. Lowers the ranking potential of your other pages
Google can have a hard time indexing a site with “bloats” because they struggle to understand which pages are the most relevant to users. Ultimately, this lowers the ranking potential of other pages when the non-relevant pages get indexed.

Websites Prone to Index Bloat

Some of the sites prone to having too many pages indexed include:

• E-commerce websites: they feature filter lists or widgets that allow consumers to find products that meet their needs. Unfortunately, these filters create new pages that can be indexed by Google.

• Sites with a long blogging history: it’s common to find websites with archive pages such as blog tags, which bloat search engine indices.

• Medium to large sites: some websites have pages that may not need indexing, e.g., PPC landing pages, Thank You pages, and Testimonial pages.

• Website redesign or migration: during a site’s redesign or rebuild, it’s common to find a lot of leftover test pages or dev.

Take Control of Site Indexing

Since search engines have a limited crawl budget, it’s essential to prioritize what and when to crawl. Moreover, you should designate how many resources your hosting server allocates to crawling, especially for big websites.

One of the leading causes of index bloat is when Google finds too many pages on your site that don’t have clear instructions on how they should be treated. But, taking control of your page’s indexing ensures your website is at its maximum ranking potential. This way, Google not only efficiently finds your pages but also understands your content and matches the user’s need for information to your pages.

Finding Sources of Indexation Bloat

First, it’s essential to have your site audited by an SEO expert as they can have a holistic and comprehensive view of your website, including your business objective and history. Besides, SEO experts have the knowledge and expertise to know what’s causing your site’s “bloat.”

Second, there are several tools such as Screaming Frog Crawl and Google’s Search Console you can use to check whether your site has too many pages being indexed. But, this may not necessarily apply to you since it focuses on common site bloat issues.

Resolving Index Bloat

The process of removing pages from Google’s index can be daunting since it’s a slow and painful process. It involves asking search engines to manually de-index your pages. And, it depends with the severity of your bloat. Also, it depends on your SEO strategy and the CMS limitations you have in place, but your keyword research strategy is a good place to start before starting any link building or on-page SEO campaign.

Avoid implementing any recommendations you get online before factoring in the implications it can have on your site. Do so with the guidance of an SEO expert to avoid a drop in your site’s rankings.

Get SEO Audit Services

A thorough SEO audit of your site allows you to resolve any bloat issues that affect your ranking. Our team is ready to audit your website today to ensure it dominates the first page. Contact us to speak with our consultants.

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