Search Engine indexing issues and ways to fix them in 2023?

To help tackle indexing issues in 2023, we’ve gathered insights from various professionals, including Administrative Managers, CEOs, and Managing Directors. From optimizing for mobile-friendly design to stopping redirect loops, here are 14 expert solutions to common indexing problems you may encounter this year.

  • Optimize for Mobile-Friendly Design
  • Resolve 404 Errors 
  • Fix Google Search Console Indexing
  • Address Server Errors and Access
  • Improve Crawl Budget Efficiency
  • Identify and Fix Broken Links
  • Tackle JavaScript Rendering in SEO
  • Correct XML Sitemap Errors
  • Unblock URLs in Robots.txt
  • Prevent Over-Indexing of Pages
  • Address Duplicate Content Issues
  • Boost Site Loading Speed
  • Resolve Image Preview Caching
  • Stop Redirect Loops

Optimize for Mobile-Friendly Design

One significant indexing issue that has come to the forefront is our company’s website not being mobile-friendly. With the surge in smartphone usage, Google’s algorithms have shifted to mobile-first indexing. Hence, our site’s poor performance on mobile platforms led to a decline in our search engine rankings. 

We had to prioritize a mobile-friendly design. We engaged a web development team to redesign the website, ensuring it was fully responsive and optimized for mobile use. This involved simplifying the user interface, reducing the loading time, and making sure that all the features available on the desktop version were equally accessible on mobile. This proactive approach significantly improved our website’s indexing and visibility.

Antreas Koutis

Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer

Resolve 404 Errors 

One of the most prevalent indexing problems is the Not Found (404) status code, which indicates a faulty URL. This issue is getting on my nerves as I have been seeing them a lot lately. 

There are several potential causes for a page to return a 404 error. Let’s say you made a mistake with the URL, such as writing it improperly, deleting the page without updating the sitemap, etc. Two potential solutions are provided if you discover unintended 404 URLs in your indexing reports.

  1. You should update your sitemap and double-check the spelling of the broken link.
  2. A 301 redirect should be activated if the page’s URL has changed.

Harman Singh, Director, Cyphere

Fix Google Search Console Indexing

In 2023, I noticed an issue where a webpage was discovered but not indexed in Google Search Console (GSC). This could be due to redirection URL problems, content quality issues, or blocked URLs in the website’s robots.txt file.

To fix this, we need to manually request indexing of the affected page in GSC and check and fix any redirection URLs. We also need to evaluate the content’s quality, create internal backlinks, and ensure the affected page is not blocked in the website’s robots.txt file.

By addressing these issues, we can increase the chances of the affected page being indexed by Google.

Ajay Prasad

Ajay Prasad, President, and CEO, GMR Web Team

Address Server Errors and Access

Common indexing issues we’ve seen lately include things like server errors or pages that cannot be accessed by Google’s bots. 

To resolve these indexing issues, you may need to check your site’s robots.txt file or look for any server errors or page redirects that may hinder Google bots from indexing your site. Additionally, you can use Google Search Console to identify indexing issues and resolve them.

Brenton Thomas

Brenton Thomas, CEO, Twibi 

Improve Crawl Budget Efficiency

In my role, I’ve come across several technical issues, but one stands out in particular from 2023, which was related to the crawl budget. Crawl budget refers to the number of times a search engine, like Google, will scan your site for updates. 

Unfortunately, our course’s website had a lot of outdated pages and broken links, causing a significant drain on our crawl budget. This meant our new and updated content was not being indexed as quickly as we wanted. 

To resolve this, we needed to clean up our site. We removed old, irrelevant pages and fix broken links. We also made sure our most important content was easily accessible and not buried deep within our site. This way, we efficiently used our crawl budget, ensuring our relevant and updated content was indexed promptly. This experience reminded me of how crucial website maintenance is for online visibility.

Hafsa Unnar

Hafsa Unnar, Executive Assistant, On-Site First Aid Training

Identify and Fix Broken Links

One common indexing issue that I have seen is broken links. Broken links occur when a link on your website points to a page that no longer exists or has been moved to a new URL. Broken links can cause search engines to have difficulty crawling and indexing your website, which can negatively impact your website’s search engine rankings.

To resolve this issue, it’s important to regularly check for broken links on your website and fix them. One way to check for broken links is to use a link checker tool, which can scan your website and identify any links that are broken. Once broken links are identified, you can either update the URLs to point to the correct page or redirect the broken links to a working page.

Josh Amishav

Josh Amishav, Founder, Breachsense

Tackle JavaScript Rendering in SEO

With the popularity of Headless CMSs and React frameworks, JavaScript is rife and comes with its own SEO challenges.

Google cannot crawl JS even half as fast as it does HTML, so when crawling the source code, it will render the JS into HTML before adding it to its index. Sometimes scripts fail to render, and crucial content doesn’t make it to Google’s index.

This can be a navigation menu where Google doesn’t pick up native anchor tags (making the internal links non-existent to the crawler), or perhaps an entire accordion feature containing lots of keyword-rich content becomes omitted during the crawl. 

JavaScript rendering should be a key part of SEO considerations during the Development stages to avoid these kinds of errors occurring.

There are various Technical SEO tools available to check this on existing sites, and any of Google’s URL inspection tools, i.e. Mobile-Friendly Test, can show you a rendered version of a URL in code or as a screenshot.

Joe Cowman

Joe Cowman, Head of SEO, FATJOE

Correct XML Sitemap Errors

Resolving an indexing issue improves a website’s visibility and traffic. One frequent indexing issue in 2023 is XML sitemap errors. 

XML sitemaps list all pages on a website to help search engines index them. Errors in the XML sitemap can cause search engines to improperly index a website, leading to reduced visibility and traffic. 

Common errors include duplicate pages, non-indexable URLs, and missing or broken URLs. To fix these errors, validate the XML sitemap, remove duplicates, allow indexing, fix broken links, and submit the updated sitemap to search engines. 

Regular monitoring and fixing of XML sitemap errors can help ensure that a website is properly indexed and visible in search engine results pages.

Tristan Harris

Tristan Harris, Demand Generation Senior Marketing Manager, Thrive Agency

Unblock URLs in Robots.txt

One indexing issue in 2023 is URLs being blocked by robots.txt. To resolve this, you need to review and update the robots.txt file on your website. Ensure that important pages are not accidentally disallowed from crawling by search engine bots. If you find any incorrect disallow directives, remove or modify them to allow indexing. 

After making the necessary changes, submit the updated robots.txt file through Google Search Console or other relevant search engine platforms to request a re-crawl and ensure your content is indexed correctly.

Jaya Iyer

Jaya Iyer, Marketing Assistant, Teranga Digital Marketing

Prevent Over-Indexing of Pages

One common indexing issue in 2023 is over-indexing. This happens when search engines index too many pages, including those that are irrelevant to the user’s search intent. 

As a result, users are bombarded with irrelevant content, which can decrease their overall experience. To prevent this, search engine algorithms must be updated to include more efficient crawling techniques, such as prioritizing the indexing of high-quality pages.

Jonathan Zacharias

Jonathan Zacharias, Founder, GR0

Address Duplicate Content Issues

When search engines crawl a website, they look for unique and valuable content to display in search results. However, if a website has duplicate content, multiple pages have similar or identical content. In that case, it can confuse search engines and make it difficult for them to determine which page should be indexed and displayed in search results.

Businesses can implement canonical tags on their web pages to address this issue. By adding a canonical tag to a page with duplicate content, businesses can inform search engines that the content is not the primary source and should not be indexed. Instead, search engines will index the page indicated in the canonical tag.

Another solution to this issue is to use 301 redirects. 301 redirects are used to redirect traffic from one page to another permanently. In the case of duplicate content, a 301 redirect can redirect traffic from duplicate pages to the primary source of the content.

Jamie Irwin

Jamie Irwin, Digital Marketing Executive, ELocker

Boost Site Loading Speed

From personal experience, I’ve noticed that slow site loading speed has become a significant indexing issue for many online platforms in 2023, ours included. This issue can severely impact SEO and user experience. 

For instance, our latest article on “The Impact of Climate Change on Mental Health” took an excruciatingly long time to load, which we noticed led to a drop in user engagement. The resolution lies in optimizing the website’s performance. This can be achieved through a variety of ways, such as reducing the size of images, leveraging browser caching, and minimizing server response time.

Remember, a fast-loading site not only pleases search engine crawlers but also our readers who are seeking instant information.

Nadzeya Sankovich

Nadzeya Sankovich, Senior Journalist, Health Reporter

Resolve Image Preview Caching

On one website, we encountered an indexing problem because of the large number of image previews on the page. This issue can be very frustrating for website owners, as it can limit the visibility and discoverability of their content.

To solve this problem, it’s important to make sure that image previews don’t interfere with crawler bots that index the page. One solution is to prevent image previews from getting cached, which can improve page crawl ability and increase the likelihood of it being indexed.

Alex Sheplyakov

Alex Sheplyakov, CTO, Wiserbrand

Stop Redirect Loops

In my opinion, an issue that prevents indexing is redirect loops. To stop the redirect loop, identify the offending page. If you’re using WordPress, check for “Redirect 301” in the HTML source of one of your articles on this page or in a .htaccess file to figure out which page you’re trying to send visitors to. Repairing any 302 redirects and making sure they are set to 301 is also worthwhile.

Nick Edwards

Nick Edwards, Managing Director, Snowfinders