Why does the amount of indexed pages fluctuate so much?

If you current measure of Google indexed pages in the SISTRIX Toolbox shows a noticeable up and down movement with a large degree of variation, there are reasons why. We explain

Starke Schwankungen und eine auffällige Zackenbildung bei der Anzahl der indexierten Seiten könnte auf ein Duplicate Content-Problem hindeuten.
Such strong fluctuations within the number of indexed pages could point to a Duplicate Content Problem.

The amount of indexed pages in the SISTRIX Toolbox

Within the SISTRIX Toolbox, we monitor the amount of indexed pages daily, but will only create a new data-point in the chart if there is a change in the average number of indexed pages. Because of that, there may be multiple data points daily, weekly, or even monthly. A Google site:-Request is simply a rough estimate.

The source of these fluctuation and possible evaluations

Large fluctuations in the indexed pages usually point to an indexing- and/or crawling problem. This can happen because of, for example, Duplicate Content (DC), 302 Redirects instead of 301 Redirects, Searches in Searches, Sessions IDs as well as a strong ranking fluctuation and so on.

Duplicate Content is one of the most frequent reasons. In online shops, for example, you can often open the detailed product pages directly (and Google will often also index them), even without going through the category and product pages.

  • http://www.onlineshop-domain.com/category/productpage/productdetailpage
  • http://www.onlineshop-domain.com/productdetailpage

Here, the evaluations and alerts of the SISTRIX Optimizer module, as well as the Google Search Console (indexing status) can also offer additional help. It is always recommended to include both sources of data into your evaluation.

This method offers additional steps of how to analyse this more in depth:

  • Use your web analytics solution to show all the subpages that had at least one visitor from Google (organic) in the last 30 days and see if the number of these pages has really changed dramatically.
  • Alternatively, you can check the history of the number of keywords found for the domain within SISTRIX. Did something change? If so, find out what changed and why. If not, hope that there will not be a reason in the future.
Steve Paine