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Index: Definition and How It Works

Last updated: Aug 25, 2023

What is Index?

Index is a term for a database used by search engines. The Index contains information about all websites that can be found by search engines such as Google. Websites that are not in the Google index will not appear in search results so users will not find them on the internet.

How Indexing Works

Indexing is the process by which search engines perform content analysis on a website. The Google index not only stores the URL address of a website, but also all the content in it including textual content, images, videos, and all the tags and attributes contained in the HTML code of the URL.

During the indexing process, Google will identify whether a page is a duplicate of another page or not. Google also collects content information such as language, country of origin, the usability of the page, and more. Furthermore, the information is stored in the index so that Google can display the page in search results.

The Google index process depends on the content of a web page and its metadata. Problems in the Google index are usually influenced by the following case:

  • The low quality of the content 
  • There are meta tag commands that prohibit indexing such as the use of the nofollow attribute
  • Website structure is too complex and makes indexing difficult

How to Check Site Is Indexed on Google

There are two ways to check whether your page has been indexed on Google or not, which are by opening Google Chrome or through Google Search Console.

Google Chrome

Here are the steps you can take to check Google's index:

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Type the search query “site:[domain]”. Consider the following example:


Google Search Console

Apart from using Google Chrome, you can also check it using Google Search Console in the following ways:

  1. Please login to your Google Search Console account
  2. Select menu Inspect URL
  3. Enter the URL you want to track in the search field and make sure it is part of your website
  4. Google Search Console will display information on whether your website has been indexed or not

Tips for Faster Indexing Process

To speed up search engines indexing your web pages, follow these tips:

Create XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file that lists the pages on your website and additional details about those pages such as when they were last updated. Search engines such as Google use a sitemap to understand the structure of your website so that the indexing process is easier.

Submit Sitemap via Google Search Console

You can submit a sitemap of your website via Google Search Console (GSC) to speed up the indexing process. Please log in to your GSC account, then click the Sitemap menu. Next, you will see the column “Add a new sitemap”, fill in the field and click the submit button to submit the sitemap.

Submit an Indexing Request in Google Search Console

In Google Search Console, you can submit indexing requests. The method is quite easy, click the URL Inspection menu then enter the URL of the web page you want to index. Google will provide information regarding the URL whether it has been indexed or not, the crawled page data, and you can press the Request Indexing option.

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