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Google: Sites Need to Be Worthwhile to be Indexed via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s John Mueller offered more information about that pesky “Discovered – but currently not indexed” message in Google Search Console. Mueller answered a series of tweets about what’s going on at Google when they choose to not index a URL.

Is Google Indexing Bugged?

There are numerous discussions on Twitter and Facebook about notices that a URL has been discovered but not indexed because it’s troubling to work on content and see it appear to be rejected by Google.

Search Marketing professional Dan Shure (@dan_shure) started a Twitter thread about this topic sharing how a new article was discovered but not indexed.

Dan shared the example of a client site that published two articles and days went by showing up as Discovered but currently not indexed.

They submitted the URLs for a re-crawl but Google essentially turned its back on those pages, refusing to index them.

Could the URL Be Blocked After Being Discovered?

So Dan floats the idea that maybe the URL itself, after being discovered and not indexed, is burned at this point and decides to remove the old URL and paste the content on a new URL.

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That’s a really good idea to scrap the old URL and basically try again with a different URL.

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He tweeted:

“So by last Friday we’d been waiting 10+ days (even new posts were being indexed)

I thought, is the *URL itself* ‘dinged’?

So we deleted one of the posts, copied/pasted the same content exactly & re-published on a new page with a slightly different URL & new publish date “

Dan continued in the next tweet:

“The post on the new URL (but same content) indexes IMMEDIATELY (without even submitting it to GSC) in just a few hours.

The OTHER post which we left alone still was not indexed though.

We’re going to move that one to a new URL/date now and see if the same thing happens.”

Dan concluded that there must have been something about that URL.

Dan explained:

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“We know Google indexes content using the URL as basically the main “id” by which all signals are associated.. so it could make sense if a URL gets “Discovered but not indexed” on the first pass it gets some sort of “ding” – maybe something to try if you run into this problem”

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Nothing New or Special About Discovered/Not Indexed

Google’s John Mueller questioned whether the tool was confusing people and whether Google should just remove it.

Teetering on the Edge of Indexing

Mueller acknowledged that sometimes the same content will get indexed under a new URL in situations where the site is “teetering on the edge of indexing” which could mean many things such as overall site quality.

That’s a really useful bit of insight Mueller shared:

“Yeah, that can happen. But it can also happen that it drops out again a week later, or a different URL drops out.

If you’re teetering on the edge of indexing, there’s always fluctuation.

It basically means you need to convince Google that it’s worthwhile to index more.”

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John followed up with a deeper explanation

“Since we don’t have an understanding of the URL (it’s not indexed), we have to pull in the rest of the site to better understand its potential context within the site, and within the rest of the web. Is it something the web has been waiting for? Or is it just another red widget?”

When pressed to explain how to convince Google to index something John Mueller responded with:

“Awesomeness.
Lots of awesomeness.
All kinds of awesomeness.
And add more awesomeness.”

What is Awesomeness?

Be awesome makes sense and doesn’t need explanation. But it is kind of vague.

I prefer something like: Don’t do what everyone else is doing, just do it how you feel is best.

Or something like: Create something that would have made you excited when you were new to the topic.

More is Not Better

That whole thing about do it “Ten Times Better” is motivational but naive because more does not equal better.

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Another common mistake is to copy the competitors, to use their same keywords and synonyms (as if there’s magic in their keywords) because that leads to essentially rewritten content.

Prince didn’t become famous by copying Michael Jackson, right?

So why are SEOs so hung up on taking inspiration from what already ranks in the top ten?  It makes sense to see what Google is ranking but it stops making sense when an SEO starts to rewrite what is already ranking.

If you know the topic and are good at it, then why not try not looking at what the competitors are doing and just do your best? Maybe Google might recognize a singular voice in your site, others will call it awesome and it probably won’t have issues getting indexed.

Citation

Read the Twitter discussion:

Could “Discovered – but currently not indexed” put a URL in some sort of ‘blacklist’?

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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