Our website has seen a pretty big drop in indexed pages over the last few weeks and we are trying to figure out what has happened. We have seen a decrease from 68.000 indexed pages to a low of 37.000 pages.
It seems to, potentially, be a result of adding two boilerplate texts on these pages: an introduction of a few lines which is, except for the parameter the website is hitting, nearly identical, and a faq section which is exactly identical. The assumption was that our core content for each site was differentiating enough to allow for such boilerplate content, which we think adds to the user experience on the website. We cannot, however, exclude that it is just the algorithm making a change based on something else (we are only 6 months old).
We have already tried to limit this duplicate content but so far it does not seem to have helped to return to the number of indexed pages we previously grew to.
Now we were wondering whether it could be helpful to make sure the meta descriptions are unique for each of these pages, to help google identify the pages as indeed different. Currently, our meta descriptions are exactly the same except for the parameter that determines what is seen on the page.
Given that I have heard some conflicting views (meta descriptions have to be unique vs it does not really matter), I wanted to ask the community what they think.
1) Do you think the drop in indexed pages can be caused by adding the boilerplate text at scale (all these pages), and; 2) Do you think differentiating the meta descriptions to a larger degree can aid in resolving the drop in indexed pages?
I hope I have been able to somewhat convey the problem and the solution we are considering trying out. Thank you very much in advance.
We have submitted (and google has found/crawled) over 300k pages of which a lot will have a noindex tag. This is expected. Robots.txt is not blocking any relevant pages and nothing has changed in the file that could cause the drop. I guess what I am really asking is what kind of things can cause such a sudden drop in indexed pages, and could the things that I mention above play a role (e.g. the boilerplate text and highly duplicate meta descriptions). I cannot specifically find a page that has been dropped. Also, I tried adding a suggestion page but it does not allow link shorteners and I want to prevent posting actual links of the website. Hopefully, you can still provide some insight.