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The number of pages being indexed is again being pushed as a core KPI in the automotive industry. I assume the vast majority of DrivingSales readers know, but; indexed pages are those web pages that a search engine has crawled and “filed,” which then have the ability to rank (and theoretically earn traffic). In the more elementary stages of web analytics and SEO this number served as an indication of site architecture and “crawlability.” Back then you could use this absolute number as a comparative indicator of success, but that was before the significant improvements in crawler sophistication/scalability … and… well… logic.
Don’t get me wrong, knowing that your site is being indexed is important, but making any kind of decision based solely on the number would be irresponsible. (Unless of course that number is zero, in which case, run Forest, run!) The real problem is that there is always a degree of correlation attached to the number of pages indexed and the overall site traffic and/or site health. This ‘correlation’ was a given when we were in the pre-Panda/Penguin times, but now we’re all much smarter and more capable, right?
Just in case you need a couple additional reasons to question this number, here are a few things to ask yourself to bring context to the equation:
In fact, the most up-to-date webmasters are actually limiting the amount of pages allowed to be indexed through
With the latest updates to Google you have to remember, it’s sites without quality content that are being punished, not sites with good content being rewarded. This may seem like semantics, but your site may have tens of thousands of low quality pages being indexed - which can outweigh any quality content being bolted on. Make sure search engines are seeing your site's best side.