Why does the indexed pages count vary?

Why does the indexed pages count vary?Play button
Video Duration
~4 mins

Deciphering the Mystery: Why Indexed Pages on Search Console and Google.com Differ

Ever wondered why the number of indexed pages on Google Search Console and Google.com don't match? This blog post delves into the intricacies of Google's indexing system, explaining why these discrepancies occur and which numbers you should rely on for accurate metrics. It's a complex web of URL parameters, site maps, and indexing reports, but by the end of this post, you'll have a clear understanding of how it all works.

Key Takeaways

  • Google's indexing system is complex and can lead to discrepancies in the number of indexed pages displayed on Google Search Console and Google.com.
  • Google Search Console provides the most accurate indexing numbers available to site owners.
  • Site maps and the indexed URL report in Google Search Console are the best sources for your website's metrics.

Table of Contents

Understanding Indexing

Indexing is not as simple as counting the pages on a website. There are numerous ways to reach a specific page, including different URL parameters, upper and lower case URLs, and adding a slash at the end of the URL. Some websites even have calendars or similar features that generate an endless number of new and valid pages. This complexity can lead to an infinite number of possible URLs, making it challenging to determine the actual number of pages on a website.

One way to check the number of indexed pages is through a site query on Google Search. By entering 'site:' followed by your domain name, Google will display a sample of the pages indexed from your website along with an approximate count of the URLs. However, this number is a rough approximation optimized for speed rather than accuracy. It provides a general idea of the magnitude but is not recommended as a reliable metric.

Google Search Console

For more accurate metrics, Google Search Console is the tool to use. It provides a report showing the number of indexed URLs from your website, excluding irrelevant URL parameters and including only pages with unique content. However, it may still include URLs that may not be of interest to you. Despite this, it remains one of the most accurate sources for indexing numbers.

Site Maps

The third method to check the number of indexed pages is through site maps. For each site map file you submit, you can see how many of those URLs were actually indexed. However, this count is based on the exact URL specified in your site map file. If your page's content is indexed with a slightly different URL, it won't be counted. Despite this limitation, site maps remain a reliable source for your website's metrics.


In conclusion, while the number of indexed pages on Google Search Console and Google.com may differ, the most accurate metrics can be obtained from Google Search Console and site maps. These tools provide the most reliable indexing numbers, helping site owners understand their website's performance better. Remember, understanding Google's indexing system is key to optimizing your website's visibility and performance.

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