Crawled But Not Indexed, what does Google say?

Crawled But Not Indexed: Why Your Webpages Aren’t Ranking in Search Results

Have you ever poured your heart and soul into crafting a fantastic webpage, only to discover it’s mysteriously absent from Google search results? This can be a disheartening experience, especially when organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a key part of your digital strategy. If you’ve encountered this scenario, you might be looking at a “Crawled – Not Indexed” error message in your Google Search Console. While this might seem like a dead end, it’s important to understand that there are several reasons why this happens, and more importantly, there are steps you can take to address the issue and get your web pages seen by the world.


While Google’s official documentation remains somewhat tight-lipped on the specifics of “Crawled – Not Indexed,” a recent interview with Gary Illyes, a Google Search Liaison, sheds light on the factors that contribute to this situation.

Why Doesn’t Google Index Everything It Crawls?

Imagine Google’s search engine as a giant library. Just like a librarian wouldn’t shelve every single piece of paper that comes through the door, Google has its own criteria for what content deserves a place in its vast index. Here are some of the key reasons why a webpage might be crawled by Google but ultimately not indexed:

  • Duplicate Content: This is a major hurdle. Google prioritizes unique and valuable content that offers something new to users. If your webpage is too similar to something already indexed, Google might deem it unnecessary and bypass it. 
  • Overall Website Quality: Google takes the overall quality of your website into account when deciding what to index. If you have a large number of crawled-but-not-indexed pages, it could be a sign that your website needs some work in terms of content, user experience, or mobile-friendliness. 
  • Technical Issues: Sometimes, technical glitches can prevent Google from properly indexing your pages. These could include crawl errors, robots.txt blocking valuable content, or slow loading times that hinder Google’s ability to access and understand your webpage.

The Good News: It’s Not Always a Dead End

The message from Gary Illyes offers a glimmer of hope. He mentioned that Google’s perception of a website can evolve over time. This means that a page initially marked as “Crawled – Not Indexed” might eventually be included in the index if Google deems your website to be of higher quality or more relevant to user searches. In essence, your website can grow on Google and improve its organic rankings over time!

Taking Action: Getting Your Pages Indexed

Now that you understand the reasons behind “Crawled – Not Indexed,” you’re empowered to take steps and improve your chances of getting your web pages seen. Here are some actionable tips: 

  • Check for Duplicate Content: Utilize plagiarism checker tools or rewrite your content to ensure it’s unique and offers something valuable to users. 
  • Elevate Your Website’s Overall Quality: Focus on creating high-quality content that is informative, engaging, and relevant to your target audience. Prioritize user experience by ensuring your website is easy to navigate and visually appealing. Additionally, make sure your website is mobile-friendly, as a significant portion of web searches now happen on smartphones. 
  • Address Technical Issues: Leverage Google Search Console to identify and fix any technical errors that might be preventing indexing. This could involve fixing crawl errors, adjusting your robots.txt file to allow indexing of important content, and optimizing your website’s loading speed.

By understanding the reasons behind “Crawled – Not Indexed” and taking the necessary steps to address them, you can increase the visibility of your web pages, and organic rank, and ensure your valuable content reaches the intended audience. Remember, Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving, so staying informed and adapting your website accordingly will help you stay ahead of the curve and achieve search engine success.

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