Thursday, February 7, 2013

Not Selected Index Stats Have Disappeared from Webmaster Tools

It appears that Google has removed the "Not Selected" stats from their Google Webmaster Tools index stats today.  This option was under the Advanced tab of Index Status.  It was an extremely useful metric to determine how much of your content was considered valuable to Google.  I was always hoping that they'd list pages that weren't selected so web masters could better gauge how to improve the content.  You'll still be able to retrieve a count of the removed URLs which can be one warning sign, but it'd be useful to also see pages that never made the cut in the first place. Here's how it appeared before and after the change (these are not for my sites):

I haven't been able to find an official word from Google on the matter, but the consensus in the Webmaster Tools product forums is that it was removed because it was confusing to users.  However this rationale for the change doesn't seem to be valid, especially since it was under the Advanced tab.  I believe the real reasoning behind this has been to prevent users from testing what can index and what can't.  Google doesn't want you to be able to test which SEO tricks you can pull to get indexed.  By publishing this data, it could be too easy to test whether content was being flagged and expose flaws in their algorithms.






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