The whole point of having a website is so people can find it. You want to be right there - at the top of search results - when customers and prospects are looking for information about products and services. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.
Google doesn't automatically discover and file away every website that exists. When there are an estimated 1.08 billion websites on the 'net, that would take too much time and resource. So how can you get your website indexed by Google quickly?
You have to send up some search signals. Here are five steps to speed up the process and get your website in front of your target audience sooner:
Step 1: Create an XML sitemap
The first thing you need to do is speak the language of search. An XML sitemap is a digital file that tells search engines how to read your website. It lists all of the pages on the site, shows how they're organised, says how they should be crawled and how often.
In short, an XML file makes it easy for Googlebots to crawl your pages and crawl them correctly.
These are standard protocol in website design. If you had your domain custom-built, chances are your designer included one. Many templates also come with them. You can check to see if you have a sitemap with a free tool like this one, or generate one using free tools or Wordpress plug-ins.
Then, submit your sitemap to the Search Console in Google Webmaster Tools to get your website on the search engine's radar.
Step 2: Submit your site to Google
Another way you can make sure Google knows about your website is to submit the URL to the Search Console. This tells the search engine that your website is live and ready to be crawled.
It doesn't guarantee immediate action, but it's a more proactive approach than waiting for Google to find your website on its own.
Step 3: Fetch as Googlebot
If a day or two passes since you've submitted your URL to the Search Console, and you still aren't showing up in search results, run a fetch.
Fetch as Googlebot is a tool that allows you to request a crawl of your pages. Normally, this is used to identify crawl errors that might be hurting your search presence and indicate a bigger technical problem.
However, in this case, it's a way to get Googlebots to pay a visit to your website sooner and add your content to Google's index.
Step 4: Post on social media
Google relies on links to find new pages to crawl and index. Social media is one way that you can increase the circulation of links to your new pages:
- Add your website's URL to your account
- Publish posts announcing your new site
- Promote specific pages or blog content
Although Google doesn't crawl or index every social media post, this practice increases the likelihood of speedy crawling and indexing.
Step 5: Update links
Find any mention of your business on the web (reviews, business listings, social media mentions, etc.) and send a message with a link to the new website. It's a simple, yet effective way to quickly generate a lot of links pointing to your new page so Google will take notice.
This step is especially important if you had a website in the past for two reasons. One: It ensures you get credit for all of those links, which Google considers to be votes of credibility. Two: It prevents people from clicking old links that lead to dead ends.
Step 6. Publish quality content consistently
Quality and consistency are the operative words here. When Google is crawling the web, it's in search of quality content to add to its index. Answers to users' questions, tutorials on simple or complex tasks, engaging stories - these are all things that Google wants to find because people look for them online.
If you are creating valuable content on a regular basis, Google will take notice and make sure your site is crawled regularly so it doesn't miss any of the in-demand information you're sharing.
The final test: Search for your site
After you've completed these steps, a search is the final test to see if your hard work has paid off. Search for your domain name to see what pages Google has added to its index. Your site should come right up at the top of results. If it's not there, go back and confirm that you've correctly submitted the site to Google's Search Console and check for any crawl errors.
Search engine optimisation isn't one-and-done. Even after Google indexes your website, you need to continue to invest in your domain to keep it at the top of search results. Contact us to find out how we can help you optimise your website to get more clicks, more traffic, and more sales.
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