Google’s John Mueller refutes the “index bloat” theory, stating that there is no limit to the number of indexed pages per website.
In a recent episode of the podcast “Search Off The Record,” Google’s Search Relations team addresses questions about web page indexing.
A key point of discussion was the concept of “index bloat” – a theory that has caused quite a stir in the SEO community.
Google Search proponent John Mueller refutes the idea of index bloat, which states that over-indexing unnecessary pages can negatively impact search engine rankings.
This article covers the details of the index bloat theory, Google’s response, and the broader implications for SEO practices.
The theory behind index bloat
The term “index bloat” describes a situation where search crawlers index pages that are not ideal for search results.
This includes a variety of pages, such as filtered product pages, internal search results, printer-friendly versions of pages, and more.
Proponents of the index bloat theory argue that these pages make it harder for search engines to understand websites, which negatively impacts search rankings.
The theory relates to the concept of a crawl budget, the number of URLs a search bot crawls on each visit.
The theory goes that a bloated index can result in inefficient use of that crawling budget, as search bots spend time and resources collecting unnecessary information.
Google’s answer to the index bloat theory
Mueller debunks the index bloat theory by saying:
“I’m not aware of any concept of index inflation at Google. Our systems do not artificially limit the number of pages indexed per site. I would just make sure that the pages you provide for indexing are actually useful pages, but that’s regardless of the number of pages your site has.”
This statement challenges the fundamental premise of index inflation.
According to Mueller, Google does not set an artificial limit on the number of pages indexed per website.
Rather than worrying about delisting pages from Google’s index, Mueller thinks you should spend your time posting helpful content.
The “causes” of index bloat
Those who support the index bloat theory often cite causes such as accidental page duplication, incorrect robots.txt files, and underperforming or thin content.
However, Google points out that these are not causes of non-existent “index bloat,” but are general SEO practices that webmasters and SEO professionals should be aware of.
“Detect” index bloat.
Proponents of the index bloat theory have suggested using tools like Google Search Console to detect index bloat by comparing the number of pages indexed to the expected number.
However, Google’s point of view implies that this comparison is not an issue. It is part of regular website management and monitoring.
The last word
Despite discussions about index inflation, Google’s official stance is clear: the notion is refuted.
Instead, the focus should be on ensuring that the pages you provide for indexing are valuable and relevant.
source: Google search confidential
Featured image created by the author using Midjourney.