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#AskanSEO: Index Counts, Fetch and Render With Google

newexecdigi SEO

Time for more great #AskanSEO questions!

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:

Image of index status graph

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

Image of sitemap list

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.

Why does the Fetch and Render tool from Google search console show a green check mark and “Partial” sometimes? Why is this different from Fetch, which shows “Complete”?

Typically the “fetch” command can be executed without any issues, as it’s just a GET command to get the code of the page. If Google is unable to fetch a page, that generally indicates that it is blocked in some way.

The “fetch and render” command is an attempt to actually render all of the items on the page. If there are certain items that are blocked, Google will reply with a “partial” message and a list of the things that were blocked.

If these blocked items are not necessary to render the page (such as third-party scripts), then there’s no problem. If the render comes back and actually looks incomplete or incorrect, that’s an indication you may have a problem.

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.

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!