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Some of the URLs marked as indexed in Google search console are not shown in search results when related keywords are searched.

The URLs in question include query strings and their canonical URL is identical.

As an example:

1- https://example.com/templates/?category=service is marked as indexed but when searching product x service templates​ it does NOT show up in results (checked the first 10 pages but apparently in no other pages either.

2- https://example.com/templates/?category=events is marked as indexed but when product x events templates​ it DOES show as in the first result.

Considering https://example.com is the most authoritative domain related to product x templates​ (product's official website), so the reason some URLs do not show up in the results, is a competition or something is technically wrong?

I'll appreciate your time and help.

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    Just because a page is indexed, it doesn't mean that it is going to rank for anything. Does it at least show up if you search for a 6 to 10 word sentence from the page in quotes? Sep 21 '20 at 16:02
  • @StephenOstermiller The issue is that it only shows in the search results if we search for the whole URL in google. In Google Search Console it says it's indexed and has no issues, but there is no way to reach to that page via the search keywords that we know Sep 23 '20 at 6:38
  • Not even a unique sentence from the page in quotes? Sep 23 '20 at 10:57
  • @StephenOstermiller there is no unique sentence. These are the actual pages: jupiterx.artbees.net/jupiter-x-templates/?category=events (It does show up in the search results) jupiterx.artbees.net/jupiter-x-templates/?category=service (It doesn't show up in the search results) There are a few things that are unique on these pages as you may notice. One of them is the selected category and the other is the template listing which is filtered. But they are defined to be canonical if you check the page sources. Sep 23 '20 at 14:48
  • Ah I see. There is no 6 to 10 word sentence that is unique to each page. Sep 23 '20 at 16:12
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There isn't much unique textual content between those two pages. They have the same title and the same heading. There are only two sentences on the pages which are the same between them. The biggest difference between the pages is the images shown below the fold. You are lucky that Google has decided to index both pages. Most of the time Google chooses not to index one of the two pages when it finds pages that are so similar.

To get the pages to each rank for different search terms you need to differentiate the pages.

  1. Change the title tags to be more specific. Rather than just "Product x templates" they should be:
    • "Product x service templates"
    • "Product x events templates"
  2. Change the text above the fold to differentiate. Use the category keyword in one of the two sentences. But maybe not both to avoid keyword stuffing.
  3. Ideally show more text about each template. Just showing two or three text words below an image doesn't give Google much text to work with. This is the hardest of my suggestions to implement and should be the lowest priority. Just implementing the first two will probably be sufficient.

The bottom line is that when you create filtered list pages that you want to work with SEO, you have to go the extra mile and differentiate the pages more than just the list of items.

You also have an SEO issue with combinations of parameters. There are so many possible combinations of parameters that Googlebot could easily get bogged down. There is no sense in having Googlebot crawl and index a page with two or more filters applied like: ?category=service&menu_type=burger&components=portfolio. You should take steps to ensure that Googlebot doesn't find and index pages with multiple parameters.

  • Don't have links on your site with more than one filter applied.

  • Put noindex tags in pages with more than one filter item specified.

  • Or use robots.txt to prevent crawling of pages with multiple parameters by using a rule like:

     Disallow: /product-x-templates/?*&*
    
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  • Thank you very much @Stephen. I surely give it a try. Much appreciated for your time spending here. Sep 24 '20 at 15:10

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