Google Search Console error “Page indexed without content” | Steps to fix

Have you ever seen the “Page Indexed Without Content” error in your Google Search Console?

This occurs when Google crawls a page on your website but fails to locate or access the material on that page. It is rare, but you have to take things seriously when it happens again.

In this post, we will discuss the causes of this error and give you a step-by-step guide for fixing it so that Google properly indexes and ranks your content.

Causes for “Page Indexed Without Content” Error

For some reasons, Google may show the pages without content files status, even if they have content. Let’s explore the most common causes:

  • Pages Have Very Little Content: If your pages are empty or contain very limited text, Google may find it difficult to index them correctly. The outcome would be that the role of these pages would be assigned as “Page Indexed Without Content.” To keep your pages from slapped with thin content warnings, ensuring that each page contains enough high-quality content that adds value to your users is critical.
  • Blocked by Robots.txt: When Google’s robots.txt file prevents your pages from being crawled by Google’s robots, they can’t index them correctly. Check your robots.txt carefully to ensure that you are not accidentally blocking important pages or resources that, although critical for Google, you would like to be available for users.
  • Content Structure: If your page’s structure was developed poorly, such as through poor internal linking or navigation, Google can’t understand the relationship between pages. Hence, the page might be indexed without the actual content as the reason. Update contents with proper structure following EEAT Framework.
  • Rendering Issues: Alternatively, Google might encounter rendering problems when trying to parse your page’s content, especially if it contains JavaScript or other Dynamic elements. If Google cannot exactly render your page, the page may then have no content. Make your website’s rendering more optimized by providing search engine spiders with a clear path and well-structured JavaScript content.
  • Cloaking and Its Impact on Indexing: Another cause is cloaking, a technique in which you show different information to search engines and users. If the system detects this fraudulent behavior, Google is averse to cloaking and may not wish to record your page’s content. Always ensure you provide the same information to users and search engines to avoid penalties and indexing problems.

Steps to Find the “Page indexed without content” status in Google Search Console

To identify the pages affected by the “Page Indexed Without Content” error, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Google Search Console account you have by logging in.
  • On the left-hand side of the screen, get to the “Coverage” selection.
  • Open the “Excluded” tab and look at the list of pages with errors.
  • See the “Indexed Without Content” status in the list.
  • Click the status line for the exact list of URLs.

4-Step Guide to Fix “Page indexed without content” Error

After identifying the affected pages, your next move should be taking the corrective measures to resolve the “Page Indexed Without Content” error. Follow this 4-step guide to get your pages back on track:

Step 1: Review the Affected Pages in the Google Search Console

The first step towards eliminating the error “Page Indexed Without Content” is the meticulous inspection of the list of the URLS in the Google Search Console. This would provide you with a vivid picture of the degree of the problem and help you determine what pages to begin with.

As you review the list, consider the following:

  1. Do you see any dominant themes or broad similarities in the assaulted websites?
  2. Do these pages correspond with the user experience, or does the SEO performance improve from them?
  3. What is the scope of the change, and how does this contribute to the general condition of your site?

By asking these questions, you can generate a list of the most pressing issues that need to be attended to as soon as possible and make a plan to deal effectively with the error.

Step 2: Analyze Internal and External Linking Structures

The next step is to scrutinize those pages’ internal and external linking structure. Extensive linking to a content-less page can put Google in a quandary and cause Google indexing errors like the “Page Indexed Without Content” issue.

To identify potential linking issues, consider the following:

  • Use tools such as Links through Ahrefs, SEMrush or the “Links” report of the Google Search Console to analyze the internal and external links pointing to the affected pages.
  • Check for any kind of abnormal number of links to a page with thin or no content.
  • Assess the relevancy and quality of the bridging pages. Are they there to provide the required background, or are they just redundant fillers between the targeted paragraphs?

Based on your findings, take action to optimize your linking structures:

  • Make changes to affected pages’ links by removing or adding them until you fix the content-related problems.
  • Ensure that the transitional pages contain meaningful and useful explanations along with the material on the removed page.
  • Try out the strategic internal linking architecture, which reveals the pages’ connection and order.

Step 3: Compare User Experience vs. Googlebot Perspective

To discover any possible differences between the experience the user is having and what Googlebot sees, it is important to compare the user experience and the Googlebot perspective. This might help you to solve questions about cloaking and other technical problems like the “page indexed without content” error.

A powerful tool for this purpose is Google’s Mobile-Friendliness Test. To analyze a page, you only need to enter the URL, and then you will see it viewed simultaneously by humans and Googlebot.

Another helpful tool is the “Fetch and Render” feature of Google Search Console for fetching a URL and then taking Googlebot’s view of the page.

As you compare the user experience with the Googlebot perspective, look for:

  • The main discrepancies that may occur are in the type, format or usability of the platform.
  • Links or locations lack Googlebot, which prevents the page from being completely rendered.
  • The pages could have JavaScript or other dynamic components that are not correctly indexed.

If you encounter any contradictions, you should ask your developer’s team to diagnose the technical issue and then deliver the same content to users and search engines so they can see it.

Step 4: Troubleshoot and Resolve Rendering Issues

This issue may occur due to rendering problems since Google might fail to evaluate the page content because of this factor. To troubleshoot and resolve these issues, follow these steps:

  1. Verify that your robots.txt excludes resources such as stylesheets or Javascript files critical to your website’s rendering.
  2. Optimize your JavaScript content for search engines by following best practices, such as:
    • Using server-side rendering or pre-rendering for the critical part is a viable solution.
    • Ensure that, with progressive enhancement, core content and functional elements are accessible without using JavaScript codes.
    • Place alternative tags with the search engines whenever necessary.
  3. Use the tools mentioned in the previous point to highlight specific rendering issues and get actionable hints.
  4. Consider involving a technical SEO specialist or a developer to assist with dealing with complex rendering problems and ensuring searchable pages.

Conclusion

The situation of ‘Page Indexed Without Content” may become challenging, but as long as you can figure out the causes and then apply the solutions described in this post, you can fix the issue and ensure that Google ranks your critical content differently.

At AlgoSaga internet marketing agency, we comprehend that a clean website easily discoverable by users and search engines plays a critical role. In case you face difficulty with fixing indexing issues or maximizing your website’s technical SEO, the SEO specialists and our team of experts are ready to lend a hand. Feel free to contact us for more details and see how we can maximize the full potential of your website by generating organic traffic growth.

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