‘Index Bloat Theory’: Should You Care About it?

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‘Index Bloat Theory’: Should You Care About it?

New fear unlocked!

The recent weeks lay host to what-could-be a new cause of anxiety for us in the SEO community - the “Index Bloat” Theory. What is it and what does it mean for us who might be afflicted with so many unnecessary pages on our website?

SEO Premier Blog bares the facts surrounding this theory and what Google itself says about what we can do about it.

Index Bloat Theory Defined

Index Bloat is a phenomenon where search engines index more pages than it should. It results from having too many pages on a domain that don’t add value to the search and web experience of users. Such pages include internal search results, filtered product or service pages, or printable versions of the website.

Those who proffer the theory posit that index bloat makes it harder for search engines to understand the website, which can lead to Google penalising your website. The theory gains support from the concept called ‘crawl budget’, which essentially means the number of URLs a bot will index every visit. Index bloat can lead to inefficient spending of the crawl budget as spiders take more time and resources getting information from the website.

However, in one episode of the ‘Search Off the’ Record podcast, Google Search Advocate John Mueller refutes the idea of Index Bloat and its possible adverse impacts. He gave the reassurance that index bloat won’t affect one’s ranking on the search engine results pages. In fact, there’s no Goldilocks zone, a sweet number nor a limit to how many pages shall be crawled per site. There will be no impact whatsoever, so you don’t need to mind index bloat when planning for your future on-page optimisation efforts.

Index Bloat Root Causes

We asked what the potential causes of the index bloat could be. We were met with varied responses: Some SEO specialists say that it could be a consequence of wrong robots.txt files, accidental duplicate pages, and underperforming pages due to poor quality content. Then again, Google reiterates that none of the above are the true causes of index bloat. However, pages like such must be addressed and remedied according to the best SEO practices, as it could hurt your website’s ranking anyhow in the future.

How to Avoid Index Bloat

Google is firm and clear about its position: Index bloat theory is debunked!

Instead of running like a headless chicken, worrying about excessive indexing, website owners, with the help of their SEO specialists, must focus on creating useful pages that are worthy to be indexed. Cleaning up and producing valuable content should be part of regular website management and monitoring!

Need help in ensuring your website is risk-free from future algorithm crackdown and penalties? SEO Premier’s got your back! Book a consultation call with us today!

Drin Priestly
Google Partner
SEO Premier is a Certified Google Partner
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