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Improved Google Index Status For Website Variations
Posted by Cameron Francis on April 11, 2014 in

Index Status reports in Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) displays the number of site pages that Google has indexed.  Until recently, Google has not independently displayed index status for HTTPS sites. All data was lumped together within the HTTP report. Lately, it has come to Google’s attention that many webmaster would like to track indexing for site sections that use HTTPS.

Google has already noticed that 10% of URLS use HTTPS for a more secure connection and Google promotes this practice, since they prefer webmasters to use HTTPS. Therefore, Google has changed the way the index status of a site is displayed in GWT. Index status is now shown separately for HTTPS and HTTP. In addition, verified subdirectories can also be shown separately. This makes it easier to monitor your site’s different sections.

This additional indexing information will be available for sites that have HTTPS URLs or that have verified subdirectories, like https://mysite.com.au/subfolder/.  Subdirectory data will be displayed in the high level verified site with the same protocol and hostname.

If your site is on HTTPS or if you have content indexed within subdomains, you will notice a difference in the index status reports that correspond to them.

Index Status in Webmaster Tool

You will notice an annotation on your graph of index status for 3/9/2014, which is the data when Google began collecting this new data. However, this change won’t affect the manner in which Google indexes your URLs, and it won’t have any affect upon the number of URLs that your domain has indexed. It only affects the way index status is reported within GWT.

For your index status data to be properly displayed, you will have to verify all variants of your site that currently exist in GWT. Your canonical URLs and preferred domains should be configured accordingly.

When submitting a sitemap, you should do so for your site’s preferred domain, with its corresponding URLs. Robots.txt files will be crawled separately for protocols and hostnames.

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author Cameron Francis

designation Co-Founder

Cameron Francis is the CoFounder & Managing Director of ETRAFFIC, Melbourne's #1 Creative & Digital Marketing Agency. For over a decade Cameron has been providing growth marketing and digital strategies for over 2,000 small businesses, start-ups & entrepreneurs around the country.
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