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I have some Excluded pages in Search Console. By Google's definition, these pages should be excluded from the search index. However if I search the page titles, or use the "site:" command on Google it still appears in the results.

I also checked on the URL Inspector. It says they're not indexed, and running a live test there says they can be indexed but aren't currently. So, it doesn't seem that they were recrawled after the report updated.

I considered the possibility that the pages are cached on Google. However, the cached page gives a date after the last crawled date in Search Console.

Is it an indexing bug? A search console bug? What could explain this discrepancy?

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To the best of my knowledge, Google excludes urls rather than pages, it's a subtle distinction but potentially a useful one to make in this case.

It's always possible that google has indexed a page that has a url showing up in the excluded list, because they indexed that page at a different url that wasn't excluded.

For example, a very common situation that arises due to the way web servers are often set up: If you have the exact same page serving both at example.com/ex/ and a different yet basically equivalent url like example.com/ex/?attribute=value, then if Google discovers the example.com/ex/?attribute=value version of the page from an external link, Google will likely index the version without the query string because it believes it to be more "canonical", and exclude the version of the url with the query string, even though it serves up the same "page". In that case, this is expected and desired behavior.

Hope that was understandable.

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The site: search is a special case where Google will return URLs that I may not normally return. e.g. excluded URLs.

One example is a URL excluded due to it not being the canonical. Say a URL is excluded because it's deemed a duplicate of a page on another site. For normal searches it will not be returned. But for a site: search it may be returned as its the best option available based on the search restriction.

There is also a lag in the different search console reports. Quite often it does not reflect the current indexing status.

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