Search Engine Optimisation

Why is Style.com Excluded from Google’s Index?

Style.com has historically been a place to go to see the latest catwalk looks from top fashion designers. It’s now been turned into an Ecommerce platform which Conde Nast are planning on investing $100 million into in the next three years according to Business of Fashion. The old content (archived reviews and images of runway shows since 1991) has been moved over to vogue.com.

Whenever a site as big as style.com makes a big change to its offering SEOs like myself take notice. How will the change be handled? Will content be migrated? Will the new site be well optimised? As I looked at the optimisation of the site I was surprised to discover that it’s currently barely indexed in Google (apart from some subdomains which seem to have gone).

style-dot-com-indexed-pages
The new version of style.com launched at the beginning of September in the UK. The plan is to test the waters in the UK before offering ecommerce functionality in the EU and the US. At the time of writing the site has been live for 18 days but it still has a robots.txt in place which is blocking Search Engine spiders from crawling the new site. (Here is a quick guide for the uninitiated).

style-dot-com-robots-dot-txt
This is almost certainly planned – presumably it’s a “soft launch” and the team at Conde Nast want to test the new site before letting it be indexed. Having said that it seems like an odd choice from the outside. Winter is coming and style.com has some great designer coats on offer but none of the product or category pages are in Google yet. If I had just launched a site of this scale I would be keen to get it indexed as soon as possible.

style-dot-com-seo-exposure
As you can see above the site still has an okay amount of SEO authority despite suffering from a massive drop off when the old content was removed. This is helped by the almost 80,000,000 external backlinks pointing towards the domain. This includes links from some of the most popular sites around the world so I think it’s safe to say that the domain has a lot going for it. I’m watching with interest to see when they’ll let Google’s spiders in.

Update 21/09/16: Someone from Style.com has confirmed that the site is excluded as part of their soft launch in order to allow some “settling in” time.