Site indexation is an essential part of getting your website discoverable in search results. It's not just about writing content, optimizing it for search engines, publishing it on your site, and waiting for the magic to happen. And considering that you can't meet your marketing goals if your web pages aren't ranking, indexation is a process you shouldn't leave up to chance.
Fortunately, we've highlighted 10 steps you can take for Google to quickly and accurately index your pages. They include:
1: Confirm that Your Website isn't Blocked for Indexing
First, ensure that your site is not currently being blocked for indexing. The tag "<meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow" />" will keep a website from getting indexed. If your site is in WordPress, there's also a setting within WordPress that discourages indexing.
Unless you're setting up a brand new website, Google has probably already indexed your site. The simplest way to verify that is to search "site:yourdomain.com" in Google. If your site is already crawled and indexed by Google, you'll see a list of search results with your domain name. But if it isn't indexed, you won't see any results.
2: Create an account in Google Search Console
If you don't own a Google Search Console account yet, simply go to Search Console and sign up with your Google account. But if you already own a Google Analytics account, simply sign up with the same email address to ease the process and make it seamless to keep all of your information under one roof.
Once you've created an account, click the "Add a Property" icon in the top right corner, type your domain name, and then click "Add." Once you do this, you'll be directed to a new page with instructions on how to verify your ownership of the property.
Google Search Console (GSC) enables you to keep track of many different aspects of your search visibility. In terms of indexation, you can use GSC to monitor crawling, security issues, and index errors.
3: Set Your Preferred Domain
Setting your preferred domain tells Google what domain name you prefer. While secure sites are an important influencing factor for search engine optimization (SEO), www vs. non-www is subjective. Once you've chosen your preferred domain format, be sure to add all versions of your domain to your Google Search Console account. Also, add both the WWW and non-WWW versions and the HTTP and HTTPS versions of your domain, even if you have set up HTTPS.
For example, you'll need to add the following:
4: Submit a Sitemap
Submitting your sitemap tells Google which pages are important and what should be indexed. A sitemap is simply a file that tells Google about the existing files on your website and how they relate to each other. It makes it easier for the search engine to crawl and index your website.
The sitemap lists (in XML format) all the pages on your website and primary functions to let search engines know whenever you make changes to your pages or add new content. Submitting a sitemap will help your site get indexed quicker with a more efficient crawl rate.
Fortunately, the process of creating and submitting a sitemap is very straightforward. If you're using WordPress, you can simply install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. Use the plugin's settings to direct how frequently a sitemap is created, updated, and submitted to Google. It can also automate the process, ensuring that the sitemap is updated and resubmitted whenever you publish new content.
Once you've generated the sitemap.xml file, upload it to your website via FTP and enter it into Google Search Console. After Google has finished indexing it, you'll notice the processed column changing from pending to the date the web page was indexed.
5: Create a Robots.txt File
A robots.txt file typically tells search engines which URLs the crawler can access and index on your website and which pages to ignore. This plain text file resides in the root directory of your domain. For WordPress sites, it's in the root directory of the WordPress installation.
To confirm whether your new website has a robots.txt file, log in to the admin area of your website or contact your hosting company. If the robots.txt is not there, create one using a plain text editor such as Notepad. Fortunately for WordPress users, you can optimize your robots.txt files through plugins like Yoast's SEO plugin.
6: Optimize Google My Business
Within the Google My Business account, submit a new post that links to your website. This is another way to let Google know that it should crawl your site. As a content marketer, part of your responsibility is to ensure your intended audience becomes exposed to your content. Updating your Google My Business listing periodically and sharing your current content will improve viewership and encourage Google to crawl your website and index the pages.
Content relevant to Google My Business is typically locally-focused content, such as events or specials. More often, a verified and optimized Google My Business account stands a better chance of featuring in the local 3-pack, placing your presence on top of search results. It also sends social signals to webmasters by driving traffic to your site and providing social proof through customer reviews.
7: Leverage Internal Linking
Internal links can tell Google which pages are related, which pages are most important, and which pages are core content. It's a great way to encourage crawling and boost website indexation. Links are typically paths that spiders take via the Internet to reach various pages.
Within your website, ensure that you've created internal links to and from all your important pages. Additionally, logical site navigation and architecture make your website much easier to browse.
8: Enlist Backlinks
A backlink coming from a relevant and trusted website is yet another way that Google can discover your website. When reputable websites link to yours, it gives your website a boost in trust and authority. The more backlinks you acquire, the more credible your site appears in Google's eyes, and the more likely it will rank it.
And while some of the backlinks may happen naturally, always take a more proactive approach. Create a promotion link-building strategy ahead of time, including guest posting and forum contributions.
9: Lean On Social Signals
Regularly posting good-quality content on social media channels lets Google know that your site's content is ever fresh. Social platforms are a simple way to instantly let people know that you've published new content.
By simply copying and pasting the link to your content and adding a few words, your content is immediately shared with the world. Moreover, sharing your content on social media alerts crawlers about it, which can help quicken the indexation process.
10: Use Email to Send Traffic to Your Website
Email is still a key component of digital marketing. It's a low-cost way to quickly and effectively engage with your customers. Besides, good email marketing can positively affect your search engine optimization (SEO). By sending out customized emails with engaging content, you can send significant traffic to your website. Just ensure you're placing your email content on your site or linking to it to build the bridge.
Getting indexed in Google is a critical first step to running a successful website. Without indexing, your site won't show up in search results, meaning no traffic. Fortunately, multiple tools such as Google Search Console, Google My Business, and Yoast SEO can help you take charge of how your website gets crawled and indexed.
If you find yourself struggling with Google indexing, contact us. We have decades of SEO and site visibility experience.