Crawl > Indexation

One of the most pervasive SEO beliefs I encounter is roughly “if your links aren’t getting indexed, they might as well not exist”. This causes people to try and get their links indexed, either by using a link indexing service or by blasting links to their links. Although this behaviour can be useful, I think the idea that motives this is wrong for a few reasons. If you believe your links count more for being indexed, please consider the following:

  • Look in your webmaster tools (sorry, “Search Console”). Download all the ‘links to your site’. Check the indexation status of all of these links. You now have a list of links that Google knows about, but aren’t indexed.
  • Have an unsuccessful reconsideration request. Look at the example links. Check to see if they’re indexed.
  • Think about deindexed link directories, or websites under sitewide penalty. Do these links no longer matter?
  • Think about links from pages set to “noindex, follow”. Do pages stop referring link equity once they are set to noindex? Do they stop passing anchor text?

The value gained by getting your links indexed is wholly dependent on the positive ranking features passed by link indexing behaviour. Nothing additional is gained as a result of a link being indexed. None of the value a link passes is lost by a page falling out of the index. These links would not lose any value if, for instance, the noindex tag was applied to the page.

Valuable links tend to be indexed. Valueless links tend not to be indexed. It doesn’t follow from this that all non-indexed links are valueless. It doesn’t follow from this that link indexing behaviour is useless either.

Googlebot passes link equity when it crawls from one page to another unimpeded. Anything that discourages crawl will also have an impact on link equity. Many low quality links will not be indexed, cached, crawled frequently, be linked to externally, or pass value.

The impact of this idea? Very little. Take indexation as a quality threshold your links ought to achieve on their own, and don’t make indexation the goal.

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