The latest Google Webmaster Tools update has introduced a very welcome new feature in the Index Status.
The new feature will allow webmasters to find out how many of the pages from their site have been included in the Google Index; and is significant because it is something that Google Webmaster Tools users have long been in need of.
The Google Index Status feature can be found beneath the Health menu. Once you click the link you will be presented with a link which looks like the following:
The graph shows how many pages of your website are currently indexed, and also presents up to a year worth of data, so that you can see how the current number of pages indexed has altered over time.
Most users will hope to see a steadily increasing figure, as more pages of the site are indexed by Google, but for some this might not be the case and more investigation will be required. For this reason, Google has also included an Advanced tab which can be accessed to present even more information as follows.
Through the advanced tab webmasters will be presented with the total number of pages indexed along with the total number of pages ever crawled, the number of pages not crawled because they are blocked by robots and the number of pages that were not selected for the index.
This data should prove very useful in indentifying and helping to combat problems with getting pages indexed.
If you notice a sudden drop in the number of pages indexed, this could be an indication that you have introduced a site-wide error when using meta="noindex" and now Google isn’t including your content in search results.
Alternatively, if you have changed the URL structure of the site improperly, the number of pages not selected might increase. Fixing the redirects or rel="canonical" tags should help get better indexing coverage.
Of the introduction of the Google Index Status, HitSearch Director Andy Redfern commented "Webmaster Central / Google Webmaster tools has steadily increased its functionality in every year since its inception. It consistently adds tools to help the webmaster analyse and control the way their websites are crawled by Google.
"This latest roll out of Index Status provides information of how many pages are contained within Google's indexed and the more pages indexed the more chance of attracting customers to those pages. Google also gains from its investment into Google Webmaster Tools, by providing accurate data to webmasters, which ensures Googlebot spiders the website much more efficiently and less resources are then being used.
"Google's focus on its share price means more investment will undoubtedly flow into Google Webmaster Tools in the coming months."