1. SEJ
  2.  ⋅ 
  3. Ask an SEO

Why Does Google Show a Different Number of Indexed Pages?

Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!

Time for more great #AskanSEO questions!

Why Google Shows a Different Number of Indexed Pages

Why does Google show a different number of pages indexed in two places in the search console and another different number when I search with the site: command?

There’s actually a good reason for this. First, let’s take the “Index Status” part of Search Console.

The “Total Indexed” shown here is a bit easier to understand if you open up the “Advanced” option as I have done below. What you can see is that pages blocked by robots or removed are not shown in the total indexed value.

By contrast, when you do a site: search, that value isn’t the total pages indexed but the total pages Google knows about. That’s why sometimes you see this:

Index Status in Google Search Console showing Total indexed, Blocked by robots, and Removed

Now let’s take a look at the other part of Search Console that shows indexed pages — the Sitemaps section:

Sitemaps section on Google Search Console

That “indexed” value is not the total number of pages indexed, it’s the pages from your sitemap that Google has chosen to index. You want that difference to be as low as possible, but understand that it’s not going to be 100% most of the time. Not all of your pages are important to Google.

And then as I mentioned above, the site: search is going to consist of every page Google cares about with regard to your site. You’ll find lots of pages here that are redirected, blocked by robots.txt, or sometimes even 404 or 410 status. This has never been a reliable tool for knowing what pages are indexed, and Google’s Gary Illyes even said recently that you shouldn’t use it for that purpose.

I find it to be an invaluable tool when auditing a website though, as it can be a goldmine of old pages with broken redirects and other similar problems.

Products Showing in Multiple Categories


I have lots of products in categories and in subcategories. For each, I display 25 products, and then provide a “Load More” button to load the rest of the products. Is it ok to have the same products showing in the main category and the subcategories? Example: /clothes, /clothes/mens is a subcategory, and /clothes/mens/jeans is a sub-sub category.

Yes, it is okay to have products in multiple categories and subcategories. To help Google understand where they fit, it is best to use rel commands on those “Load More” buttons so Google understands these are additional “pages” of products that are a part of the whole. Read up on rel next/prev commands for more detail on how to implement this.

How to Link to a Google Plus Business Page

Is there a way to link directly to a business’ G+ page instead of Google’s search results?

Yes, this is quite simple. Navigate to their G+ page and copy the URL. It will be something like this:, or if they have taken advantage of the custom URL feature, it may look like this:

Then just link to that page directly.

That’s it for now! Come back soon for another installment of #AskanSEO.

Have a question about SEO for Jenny? Fill out this form or use #AskAnSEO on social media.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Paulo Bobita
In-post Images: Screenshots by author. Taken March 2017.

Category Ask an SEO
Jenny Halasz President at JLH Marketing

Jenny Halasz is President and Founder of JLH Marketing, a marketing consultation firm focused on highly technical implementations, specific projects, ...

Why Does Google Show a Different Number of Indexed Pages?

Subscribe To Our Newsletter.

Conquer your day with daily search marketing news.