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From: Jared Hamilton
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Aaron Schinke

Aaron Schinke Vice President of Product Development and Marketing

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More Indexed Pages ≠ A Better Site

Indexed PagesThe 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:

  • Where are these pages ranking? (If they rank on page 100, no one will ever click them anyway.)
  • Are people actually searching for the terms these pages are being optimized for?
  • How much traffic are these pages earning?
  • Are people being directed to the best possible pages?
  • Do these pages bring the kind of traffic you want?
  • Are visitors to these pages converting?

In fact, the most up-to-date webmasters are actually limiting the amount of pages allowed to be indexed through tags and canonicalization - tools that Google endorses to make sure your site is being represented in the best possible way. This actually lowers the potential amount of indexed pages.

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.

Eric Miltsch
Aaron - thank you for adding your logical clarity to this issue. Those six questions are the most important layer of metrics in my opinion. And of course, in order to seal the deal on the effectiveness of these pages, you need to have goal conversion tracking in place within your analytics.
Chris Hill
Great article Aaron! Thanks for the info!
Aaron Schinke
Thanks guys! I'm just always excited at pushing the digital KPI's down funnel so that they align with actual business goals. Too many dealerships get lost in arbitrary metrics. Ain't nobody got time for that!

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