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What’s The Difference Between ‘Indexing’ And ‘Ranking’?

The terms- indexing and ranking are two confusing concepts often used interchangeably when talking about Google search engine algorithms. However, indexing and ranking serve different purposes and possess varying characteristics from each other.

Understanding both concepts is vital to understanding how search engines work. The Google Search Console is an essential free-to-use tool that website owners can use to track the indexing and ranking of their content or web pages.


  • Indexing is the process of helping the search algorithm understand the content found on your website.
  • This process enables the algorithm to add a website or a page to the SERP (Search Engine’s Result Page). Hence, indexing occurs when the search engines add a new listing, like a new web page.
  • Indexing allows the search engine to organize all information according to the relevance of the page compared to similar content on the internet.
  • It also catalogs and organizes the maps of all pages that each web page links to.
  • If a website has been indexed, it will appear among the search results of a related query.
  • Google allows you to check whether your website is indexed by searching “”. hHowever, the easiest way to check whether Google has indexed a page correctly is by comparing the cached version to the actual version.
  • There are three ways you can access the cached version of your webpage: running a Google search, checking search results, and using a bookmarklet.
  • To improve your website’s indexing, you can submit your sitemap to Google Search Console, formerly Webmaster Tools. Also, you have to submit your website URL to the search engine.
  • If you submitted your site map already, the Search Console would report the percentage of pages that were indexed.


  • Ranking refers to positioning websites or web pages for a specific keyword.
  • It involves interpreting the intent of the end-user, then identifying the pages in the index that are related to the query.
  • There are a lot of ways to check how your website ranks for a particular keyword; the easiest way is to use Google Search Console.
  • Relevance is the degree to which a page matches the intent of the end-user, while importance is established when the content is cited elsewhere.
  • The search engine algorithm looks for hundreds of signals that help it determine both the relevance and importance of your content or web page.
  • The search engine algorithm is often updated to serve up the best results to the end-user.
  • Even though the algorithms are constantly updated, some of the basics of SEO to improve ranking are well understood.
  • The ranking process also requires the search engine to understand the nature of the content on each web page.
  • Google is known for putting a lot of emphasis on the content of a web page for ranking.
  • The search engine analyzes the words and phrases you have used on the page. Then, it builds a map of the data to define the relationship between the concepts on the page.


  • The search engine may look simple, but it is powered by a complex set of processes running behind the scene.
  • Indexing and ranking are two examples of these processes that ensure the search engine generates relevant information to the end-user.
  • Knowing the difference between indexing and ranking will allow you to effectively refine your site to make it readable and understandable to search engines.
  • Effective SEO strategies can help you achieve higher search rankings and improve your targeting for certain keywords.

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