When you’ve built a brand new Web site, or even added new pages to your existing Web site, it’s easy to get impatient and want Google and the other search engines to find you now! Unfortunately, there’s no quick road to getting indexed. It can take two, three or four weeks or more for new sites and new pages to be indexed. It’s just the way it works.
The Wrong Way To Submit Your Web Site
Many people use the “Submit a URL” option that some of the search engines offer to try to get their site listed. The belief is that this is the “right” way to get Google to notice them, and you may even be tempted to use it several times.
Don’t do it!
The truth about using these “Submit a URL” pages is that it’s a red flag for Google. Most of the spam sites also submit their sites in the hope that they’ll get listed more quickly, by using automated tools (it’s just easier that way). However, you’ll end up looking just like all the other spammers in Google’s system, and they’ll probably set you aside for awhile.
The Right Way To Submit Your Web Site
By helping Google, Yahoo! and the other search engines to trust you, and believe that you’re a legitimate site, not just junk, there are a couple things you can do. I’ve seen pages show up in Google’s index in as little as one week if you follow these instructions.
How Do You Know If Your Site Is Indexed?
First, how do you know if a page or your site has been indexed? In any of the search engines, type in the search box:
Look through the pages to see if your site or specific page has been indexed. If you see missing pages, they haven’t been picked up for any of various reasons, like:
- The pages are new and not indexed yet
- The Web site is new, and nothing has been indexed
- The page(s) can’t be reached by the search engines because there are no active links to that page
Step One: Build Search Engine Trust
Assuming that your page(s) have not been indexed, or you have a new Web site, you need to first register it and valdate your site with Google and Yahoo!
First go to Google’s Webmaster Tools site and create an account. Click the “Add a site…” button near the top and enter the URL. Then follow their instructions to Verify the site. You have three choices:
- Upload an HTML file – Create a special file in the root of your Web site
- META Tag – Add a special META tag to the <head> section of your Web site
- Add DNS Record – This one is a new choice, where you a text record to your DNS configuration
Frankly I find either of the first two choices the easiest to do. Once you’ve done that, Google will check to make sure you did as instructed. Now you’ve given Google some reason to trust your site.
You can repeat this step with Yahoo!’s Site Explorer.
Step Two: Get Your Site Indexed
Assuming your site has many pages, I like to compare it to a building. If you think of each page as a “room”, and your links are the various doors into each of your rooms. The more links you have to each of the individual pages, the more likely someone or a search engine will wander in.
Google and the other search engines index your site by finding links. By opening these “doors”, they’ll go in an check out the “rooms” (your pages). It takes time to open each door and check out all the rooms, so likewise, it will take a while for your site to be indexed.
Instead, I prefer to give Google a blueprint to all the “rooms”. This is called an XML sitemap. There are many free tools that will generate your sitemap, but I like to use XML Sitemaps. Have the tool create a sitemap, which is just a text file. Save it to the root directory of your Web site.
Next, go to the Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo! SiteExplorer and tell them where the XML sitemap is. Yahoo! calls them “feeds”.
Maintain Your Sitemap
As you add pages to your site, make sure you keep the sitemap file up to date with the changes. Both Google and Yahoo! will periodically upload your XML sitemap file, and see if there’s anything new there. That way, they don’t have to go “discover” it by openening all your “doors” and peeking in each “room”.