Why Is My Product Page Not Showing up on Google?
Many times, even as a consultant or CMO, we can overlook the basic fact that prior to diving into SEO for a large e-commerce site, you must be assured that each product page is being actively indexed by Google.
There may be a very simple reason why your pages are not being found on Google search results
Let’s face it, Search Engine Optimization can be time consuming, tedious, frustrating and never ending. Google makes tweaks to it’s search algorithm almost daily and there are over 200 factors that experts have found that can affect a page’s search engine ranking position. What often gets overlooked (I have been guilty of this myself), especially on large e-commerce sites, is something very fundamental and simple. It is easy to get wrapped up into H1 and H2 tags, Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions, internal and external links, social mentions, keywords, keyword density, etc., etc. But there is one fact that remains and none of the 200 ranking factors can help to overcome it:
If your page isn’t being indexed regularly by Google, it will not show up in Google search results !
That’s right, we often forget the important fact that every product and landing page must be indexed regularly to show up on Google search results. The same holds true for other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing, but at Signal 47 we deal mostly in the Business to Business e-commerce space where typically over 85% of search traffic originates from a Google search.
Now, how do you make sure your pages are being indexed regularly? Well, you can check to see the number of pages that are being indexed in Google Webmaster Tools. However, as with most things Google, the specifics about the exact pages that are being indexed are not available. If your page or blog post or product is currently ranking with a Google search, then you are more than likely receiving regular visits from Googlebot, the Google indexing spider that crawls websites continuously. But what about the other pages?
One thing that I highly recommend is a cloud based keyword tracking program. This is something that a marketing consulting agency can help with or you can pay a monthly fee and monitor yourself. Two of the programs that I highly recommend are Advanced Web Ranking and Authority Labs. They both offer advanced features and reporting and you can check your keyword ranking results on Google, Bing and Yahoo. There is a bit of a front end learning curve but this data is critical to effective Search Engine Optimization. I also recommend it as a baseline when you hire a consulting agency to measure the performance of your most important keywords.
That being said, a good keyword tracking program may help in identifying pages that are not ranking but this is not a good and comprehensive solution. Why? Because on a large site, you cannot monitor every possible keyword on every page. This is especially difficult on large e-commerce sites where the keyword may be a model number, product number or manufacturer and model number or even a color or size if you are in retail.
The best way to insure that every page is indexed is to check every single page. There are tools that are available to check specific url’s and they are quite accurate. One that I have used is Search Engine Genie’s last googlebot access date tool, available here:
Example of Google Cache date:
This is still not a great solution because each url must be manually entered and tracked. I have personally spent hours entering urls, running the tool and transferring the information to a spreadsheet. Here’s the other catch, this should be repeated monthly because after 3 months, if Google has not visited a page, chances are your page and product will no longer show up on a Google search.
On a recent audit that was performed at Signal 47 for a large e-commerce store, over 580 product pages out of 3571 products (16%) were not indexed by Google in the past 90 days!
For the landing pages, the result was even worse where 158 out of 546 pages were not indexed (29%).
After spending hours with manual data extraction, we have invested in technology to automate this process. At Signal 47 we feel strongly that your time should be spent analyzing data and not collecting it. When you are dealing with hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of pages, automation is absolutely necessary!
Do you have a website that you would like to have checked out? Are you sure that 100% of your pages are being indexed regularly? Are you willing to bet your sales on it?
Try checking a sample of 30-40 products or landing pages to make sure that each one has been indexed. If you need help or have a larger quantity of url's to check, don't hesitate to reach out to our team at Signal47.