Google On Technically Indexed vs Practically Indexed

John Mueller of Google wrote something on Twitter that caught my eye (well, everything he writes on Twitter catches my eye but this one more than others). He said “Yeah, the difference between technically indexed, and practically indexed is tricky.” So I asked John to explain the difference.

Well, both are actually and “technically” indexed but even though they are both indexed, the “technically indexed” one is not really visible in search but the practically indexed one is visible in search.

John explained it as “Indexed & practically seen in normal search results vs not seen. It comes up often with old / removed content, site-moves, robotted URLs, etc. Technically it might be indexed, but is it worth the time to fix something nobody sees & which doesn’t cause issues?”

Vanessa Fox, former Googler, explained it as “Not to speak for John (obvs) but while a blocked URL can be technically indexed, very little is known about the page. Google will generally want to rank a page it knows has good relevance and value (which requires Google to have crawled the page content).”

I just never heard anyone use the words practically vs technically indexed before – so I figured I’d share it if it comes up in your future conversations, you will know what they are talking about.

Forum discussion at Twitter.