In a step toward further transparency, Google has just added a new feature to its Webmaster Tools suite called Index Status, which you can access under the Health menu. Index Status lets you find out exactly how many pages of your website are indexed in Google, amongst other things. Let’s take a closer look!
The Index Status area in your Webmaster Tools dashboard shows a basic chart displaying the number of pages indexed in Google for the previous year, and when changes to that number occurred. There is a legend that shows the latest count, and you can discover how many pages you had indexed at any given interval on the chart by hovering over the line for the period you wish to see.
What we want to see here is a steady increase in the number of pages being indexed. This means you’re adding new content to your website regularly (yay!), and that Google can see this new content on your site and is happy to store it in its index (double-yay!).
Whilst the Basic tab in Index Status shows you the level at which pages have been added to the index/growth of your site, it doesn’t provide more technical information such as what hasn’t been indexed. Enter the Advanced tab. You can access it by clicking on the button at the top of the screen, and it will look something like the below:
As you can see the advanced section is far more pretty (yay Google colours!) and is also much more detailed. It shows:
- Total indexed (Blue Line)
- The total number of URLs from your site that have been added to Google’s index. This is also shown in the Basic tab.
- Ever crawled (Red Line)
- The cumulative total of URLs from your site that Google has ever accessed.
- Not selected(Green Line)
- URLs from your site that redirect to other pages or URLs with substantially similar content.
- Blocked by robots.txt(Yellow Line)
- URLs Google could not access because they are blocked in your robots.txt file.
This data is great for identifying index-related problems such as content not appearing in the index or large traffic drops. You may note at a certain time there was a steep drop in the index that occured at the same time you forgot to redirect your old pages to your new site, or maybe you moved to a new CMS which setup some “no-index” parameters on your pages. Whatever the case may be, this tool is great for correlation as well as analysis of growth. Not to mention all the added transparency relating to how Google actually sees and evaluates your website!
This is a great step forward for Google. Long notorious for keeping its algorithm a closely guarded secret, this year the search engine giant has been surprisingly revealing. Such as making a monthly announcement about its latest search updates, as well as providing much more information through Webmaster Tools – allowing us to download data sets such as links, for instance. Good work, Google!
What do you think about the new Index Data feature? What would you like to see Google add to their toolbox next? Let us know in the comments below!