Indexed pages refer to the number of pages in a website that a search engine such as Google or Bing has included in its index. This means when someone searches for a particular term or phrase, the indexed pages of a website are the ones that appear in the search engine results page (SERP).
An indexed page is any page within a website which has been successfully scanned and stored by a search engine. When a search engine uses its ‘spider’ (a software robot) to search the web, and finds new pages, it adds them to its index. Once pages have been indexed, they are then ranked in the SERP and can be accessed by web queries.
A page will not be indexed unless it meets certain criteria. A page should have a complete title, meta description and meta keywords, and should feature consistency of information between page titles and page content. Although more than one page of a website can be included in the index, this is usually done only with websites that provide a lot of content.
Before optimizing a website to increase the number of pages which can be indexed, webmasters need to establish how many of the pages on their website are currently indexed. This can be done, for example, by searching for site:yourwebsite.com in a search engine, whereby the figure for the number of pages the search engine has indexed will appear.
When optimizing a website for indexing, webmasters should focus on specific pages for search engine visibility and maximize content on those pages using SEO-friendly practices. SEO-friendly practices may include using keywords in headings and website copy, ensuring there are enough text-based content within the page, linking out to relevant and authoritative websites as well as promoting content through social media, among other activities.
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When establishing a website structure, webmasters should also think about how pages are going to be organized and link to each other on the website. They should also consider how search engines are going to view their website and use relevant html tags, such as ‘alt’ tags, to structure their website in an SEO-friendly way.
In addition, webmasters should be aware of duplicate content as it can have an adverse effect on a website’s rank on search engines. Google and Bing are more likely to rank a website lower if there is too much duplicate content on the website.
When setting the canonical version for a website, webmasters should also be aware of the appropriate url structure for the website. Clean url structures - such as www.yourwebsite.com/description-of-page (without any query string) - help search engines understand which version of the pages should be indexed, thus helping to reduce the possibility of pages appearing twice in the SERPs.
Once the pages that need to be indexed have been identified, webmasters can use a sitemap to submit a list of the website’s pages to search engines, like Google or Bing. Submitting this list will show the search engines which pages need to be indexed.