John Mueller Explains Partial And Total Site Deindexing
Many businesses and webmasters strive to improve their Google SEO by using the best strategies in the hopes of avoiding penalties or site deindexing. Recently, John Mueller gave Google SEO consultants an explanation about what causes a website to be partially and totally removed from search results.
In an SEO Office-hours hangout, an SEO shared their experience, saying that their website was ranking well before 23 March. But after upgrading their Yoast SEO from free to premium, the site was deindexed from Google search results, and they lost all of their keywords. The person also noted that after a few days, their keywords returned to the search results but would soon disappear after a few hours.
They also checked Robots.txt and the sitemaps, verifying that they did not receive any manual penalties. But one thing that they did not mention checking whether their web pages had a Robots Noindex meta tag.
An SEO Office-hours hangout was clearly not the right place to ask for a diagnosis of a specific website, so Mueller did not provide them with a direct answer. However, in his explanation, he discussed two kinds of deindexing: slow deindexing and a faster type of deindexing.
Mueller began his response with a hesitant tone, saying that the situation was kind of tricky, but he assumed that the person’s site deindexing was not connected to the Yoast SEO Plugin upgrade. With that said, some SEOs think that the Yoast Plugin could potentially be what’s causing issues.
Installing the Yoast SEO Plugin may cause some web pages to acquire a “noindex, follow” meta description. It may not be directly related to upgrading Yoast SEO from free to premium, but there may be other external factors that can cause a change in the settings during the upgrade. Therefore, it is always good to double-check things first before ruling it out as a reason for site deindexing.
Why Google Deindexes Websites
Mueller went on to explain why Google deindexes websites, discussing their process from a long and slow deindexing perspective.
Slow Partial Deindexing
According to Mueller, partial deindexing refers to Google deindexing several parts of the website but not the entire site.
He said that the situation might be caused by a technical issue. Usually, when Google reduces the indexing of a site, they do not need to deindex a lot of URLs from the website. What they do is keep relevant URLs for that site, and this happens over a longer period of time. This situation may not match the person’s experience as their website suffered from a total site deindexing, not a partial one.
Full Site Deindexing
A full site deindexing refers to a whole website disappearing from Google’s search index, and for situations like this, Mueller recommends seeking help from the Webmaster Help Forums to diagnose specific issues as the Google SEO Office-hours hangout is not the right place to do this.
What happened to the person asking the question was a full site deindexing. Mueller said that the situation could have been caused by a site quality issue, a technical issue, a spam issue, or a hacking event.
Reasons For Deindexing Events
There are many reasons for sites getting removed from Google’s search results. When this happens to websites, Google SEO consultants usually check the Robots.txt file and the source code of the individual pages to ensure that there are no rogue noindex meta description files that hinder search engines from indexing the web page.
Aside from accidental Robots.txt and meta tags, Mueller also mentioned other factors that can cause a website to get deindexed. For instance, there could be a hacking event or other technical issues that block Google from indexing web pages. If such things happen, one should investigate and check every single factor before ruling them out as a cause.
Aside from all these, there are several other things that can cause websites to get indexed:
1. Selling links to other sites
Google does not like it when websites purchase links to boost their page rank on search results. Sites that use this practice get penalties.
2. Linking to bad sites
Each website has a Google Page rank score from 0 to 10. If an SEO links their website to a site that has a poor score, say 0 or 1, it shows Google that the person’s website is not high-quality. This is because it does not make sense for a quality website to link to a low-quality one. Therefore, it is crucial to think twice before linking to a website.
3. Duplicate content
Google’s latest algorithm states that they do not like duplicate content. Publishers must write relevant and unique content that offers value.
How To Prevent Blogs From Getting Deindexed
One of the best practices to prevent a website from getting deindexed is to publish at least 10 to 15 blog posts with videos, images, and rich text. A website should also have three to five standard pages, such as Contact, About, and Privacy. If this does not seem enough, businesses and webmasters should build several backlinks to it, preferably from social bookmarks and popular Web2.0s. By doing all these, one can have their website included in Google’s index after a few days. If none of these things works, the website must have received a Google penalty.
Those who had their pages deindexed should re-examine the common reasons for site deindexing. For instance, a blog can have a high chance of getting deindexed if the website owner had not created any recent blog posts, and the website consists of only text posts with links or too many 404s and 301s.
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