Google Explains Reasons for Crawled Not Indexed Errors

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Google Explains Reasons for Crawled Not Indexed Errors


In an insightful interview at the SERP Conf 2024 in Bulgaria, Google’s Gary Illyes addressed the perplexing issue of “crawled but not indexed” errors. Despite the interview occurring back in May, its contents remain crucial for debugging and resolving these errors, as recently highlighted by Olesia Korobka.

Understanding “Crawled But Not Indexed”

The “Crawled But Not Indexed” notification in Google Search Console indicates that while Google has crawled a page, it has not added it to the index. This can stem from various reasons, which Gary Illyes elaborated on during the interview.

Similar Content

One primary reason for this error is the presence of similar content. If a page’s content closely resembles other indexed content, Google might decide that indexing the new page isn’t necessary.

General Site Quality

The overall quality of a site plays a significant role. Illyes noted that a high number of “crawled but not indexed” URLs might suggest general quality issues. Google’s perception of site quality can impact indexing decisions, and a shift in this perception can lead to a change in indexing behavior.

Technical Issues

Technical problems on a site can also cause these errors. For instance, if a site erroneously serves the same content for every URL, Google might crawl but choose not to index these pages.

Key Takeaways

To summarize, here are the main factors contributing to “crawled but not indexed” errors:

1. **Similar Content**: Pages that are too similar to already indexed content.
2. **Duplicate Content**: Another site with the same content but stronger signals.
3. **Site Quality**: General issues with site quality.
4. **Technical Errors**: Problems such as serving identical content across URLs.

For a more detailed explanation, you can watch Gary Illyes’ interview at the 9-minute mark of the recorded session.


Understanding and addressing these issues can help improve your site’s indexing status. By ensuring unique content, maintaining high site quality, and avoiding technical pitfalls, you can mitigate the risk of encountering “crawled but not indexed” error.


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