In 2020 Google had a variety of problems indexing content and people keep asking us how they can tell if their content is indexed in Google. Sometimes it is hard to tell if a page or article is simply ranking poorly or not in the index at all.
First let’s clear up some terminology then we’ll get on to determining if your content is indexed.
Crawling, Indexing and Ranking, oh my! What’s the difference?
- Crawling: When you add a page or a new article to your website or blog, Google will eventually discover your content with their crawler. A crawler is also sometimes called a bot, spider or spiderbot. A spider crawls/browses the web, looking for new pages to add to the index. This is usually an automatic process, especially if you have a sitemap submitted to Google via Google Search Console. There are a variety of factors which determine how often Google’s spider visits your website.
- Indexing: Once content is crawled it gets added to Google’s index, a huge database of everything it has crawled. Once content is added to the index, it can display in search results.
- Ranking: When a user performs a search, Google, and all other search engines, will display results from their index. These “search results” are ranked by Google’s algorithm as they attempt to deliver the most relevant results first.
Note: Google can be very slow to pick up some content or mistakenly lose content.
3 Ways To Tell if your Content is Indexed in Google Search:
Here are the 3 fastest ways to quickly see if your content is in Google search results:
1. Google the page title in quotes.
The first thing I do when trying to determine if a page has been indexed or not is to simply search for the page title. If the page title is “How to fly a kite”, I’ll just search for that exact phrase. If that doesn’t work or it’s a highly competitive search term, I’ll perform the search again with quotes around the search term. If I’m still not sure if the content has been indexed I’ll move on to step 2.
2. Google the page’s URL in quotes.
Searching for a page URL (with quotes) is a quick, easy way to see if a page has been indexed or not. I leave off the HTTP or HTTPS prefix. For example, we can see if this page is indexed or not by doing a search for “telapost.com/how-to-tell-if-content-indexed/”. If the content is indexed it should show right up at the top of Google’s search results. You could also do a site search which would look like this:
site:telapost.com 3 Ways To Tell if your Content is Indexed in Google Search
3. URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console.
If you have access to the site’s Google Search Console, you can simply drop the URL into the “URL Inspection Tool” and see the current index status of a URL. If the URL is not added to Google’s index, you can click “Request Indexing” here to get the page crawled right away. This is also very helpful for time sensitive content and page updates or fixing mistakes Google has made, such as dropping your page out of the index.
Note: At the time of this article, “request indexing” is not working. Google temporarily disabled this feature on October 14, 2020, but it should be back soon.