Why You May Not Be Finding Your Website in Google Search Results

If you have a website I bet you have typed in a keyword into Google looking for your site.  For those that didn’t find their site at all there are a slew of different reasons this can occur, competition being one of the biggest ones.  For this post we are looking at something that most website owners are not even aware of which is Google’s Primary and Secondary Index.

Google places each web page that it indexes into two categories based a variety of factors to allow its search engine results page to load even faster with what it hopes to be relevant content.  The primary index is what it sounds like offering the highest quality web pages as Google sees them.  The secondary index is often tertiary pages in sites that Google has determined to be less valuable.

What makes a page more valuable?  That answer has many different variables though the major ones are unique content, unique title, and enough content to have value to name a few.  One more really important one is link building.  If there are no links pointing to a certain page then you are telling Google that page is not very important.

The secondary index is basically the opposite of everything in the earlier paragraph.  If you have really good unique content then the most likely issue goes to link building.  Another issue with sites is their navigation that the design doesn’t allow search engine spiders to find the content.  This can be a huge problem for ecommerce sites that may have thousands and thousands of product pages on their site.

There is another index by Google which is called none.  Don’t laugh this happens to many websites for a variety of reasons.  As an Internet Marketing Firm, we have had real clients that thought they were doing the right thing only to find themselves left out of Google index completely.

How Do We Know How Many Pages Google Indexes

If you want to know how many pages are in Google index, open up a new window with Google.com open.  Type into the search bar site:yoursite.com and then click return.  You will see how many pages Google has indexed.  In our example of NaturesOrganicMarket.com you see there are 7,610 pages indexed by Google.

google search engine index

Next to find out how many are in the secondary and primary index you do the exact approach plus you add /* so it looks like site:yoursite.com/*.  You see in the example that Natures Organic Market now has 193 pages which are in primary index and the remaining are considered secondary (7,417 in example for those keeping score at home).

For this example Natures Organic Market has 193 pages in Google primary index which have the best opportunity to rank for competitive terms.  Pages in the secondary index due have the ability to rank for keywords though typically not competitive terms that generate the most content.

google secondary index

What do we do with this information?

You have a few options to strategize.  First, the pages that are in the primary index are the top pages to create strategy for ranking for competitive terms that are important to your site.  Second, figure out if there is an issue with your site that needs to be fixed if you have a poor showing in the primary index.  The reality for large sites you will not get every page into the primary index.  For Natures Organic Market, they are have more web pages in Google’s primary index than most websites have in total pages.  What is necessary though that if a certain page is one that you want to rank for competitive terms you better get it out of the secondary index?

For Natures Organic Market it takes a primary page to rank high for a competitive term like organic shampoo as compared to a secondary page to rank for a specific product like best deep pore wash alba.