Guide on Indexing Your Website: If you already have a website, that is great! But is it listed in popular search engines? Building a website is an excellent way to grow your brand’s awareness if you use the right tools. The most profitable benefits can come from people visiting your website. For that, you need to be indexed, which can be a little tricky. Popular search engines such as Google and Bing built methods to make this seemingly difficult task easy. Why Index your Website? A website is meant to be found when a user searches for something. When they search, the search engine skims through its database and finds sources with matching keywords. If your site is in its database, the search engine may show your page on search results. However, if your site is not in one of these popular search engine databases, it can be hard to be recognized and appreciated for the hard work you put into building it. Therefore, it is important to make sure your website is included in these databases for the best possible search results. Here, we will outline the steps to get your website indexed in Google and Bing. There are computer programs that search the entire web for changes on a certain topic, whether it be a new page or article in an existing site or a completely new website. Programs called spiders will then ‘crawl’ your site, report any changes, and index them. After the initial process of getting indexed, these changes will occur automatically without the owner having to worry about any further manual updates. The initial indexing process can take months if you wait for it to happen organically. You can follow these steps below to ensure your website is indexed as soon as possible. This will not help your website immediately show on the first results page on Google, which is a completely different topic. That will require you to optimize your webpages to be preferred by Google over any other website in the same category. This process is more about simply being on Google’s database in the first place. Keys to Getting Your Site Indexed by Google Google is picky when it comes to overall user experience, also commonly known as UX. Though the spiders are a series of codes, Google has made them able to gather the simple idea of a body of text upon reading it. Content One way of getting indexed quickly is to create unique and informative content. John Mueller of Google shared this tip below on his Twitter account: “Content is king” is a phrase that Google stands by, stating that no matter what changes they bring forward, that stays the same. Keeping this in mind, you should always aim to have higher quality content over a higher quantity of content. Create content that is rare, original, and keeps website visitors engaged. Another best practice is to remove any webpages that provide little to no value, as they will inevitably reduce the overall site value, otherwise known as domain authority. This will force Google to reduce the amount of time they spend on your site to grant that time to more valuable sites instead. Review your website’s content regularly and make it a priority to keep only the best content possible to make it stand out and get indexed on Google quickly. Google Search Console Now comes the technical aspect. Google Search Console is a great webmaster tool for anyone managing a website. Before preceding further, you must create an account in Google Search Console. You can find more details about that here. After creating your account on Google Search Console, you might be wondering what to do with all those tools and how to use the dashboard. You will see an interface like the image above. The most important tools you will need to get your website indexed are the tabs ‘URL Inspection’ and ‘Sitemaps’. With these tools, you will be able to inspect whether your URL is on Google and will be able to submit a sitemap of your website to help Google spiders to crawl your content. Sitemaps A sitemap is a list of links on your website. There are three types of sitemaps: designer sitemaps, human-visible sitemaps, and structured listings for web crawlers. The most important of these for indexing purposes is the third category. Fast indexing requires submitting a sitemap to the search console. Creating a Sitemap You will enter the URL of your site into Google Search Console to get a basic XML sitemap. Once you get your sitemap, go to your domain root folder, and put it there. If you do not have access to the domain root folder, you can also upload it somewhere on the internet (Google Drive for example), get that URL, and submit the sitemap in that manner. For more detailed steps on building and submitting a sitemap, click here. When you go to the sitemaps tab in the search console, you will see an interface like this. You must enter your sitemap URL and submit it to the Search Console. After that is submitted, you will want to make sure that Google crawlers can access your site. For that, you need to clear out your robots.txt file. To find your robots.txt file, go to yourdomain.com/robots.txt. Once there, find any snippets of code saying Disallow:/. They usually look like this: This is an extremely important step to take to get indexed on Google. If the web crawler is not allowed to crawl your website, you will never get the level of exposure you want. Therefore, make sure you check for these codes thoroughly and remove them. There is another way crawlers can get blocked from reaching your webpage. That is by using the meta tag <noindex>. To fix this issue, you need to check for codes like: and remove them. You can find other pages with these errors by looking through your Search Console account. Simply click the URL inspection tab, type in your URL, and look for the ‘indexing allowed?’ line. You may see something there that looks like this: [No: ‘noindex’ detected in ‘X‑Robots-Tag’ Http header”]. If this is the case, simply perform the above steps and you will be fine.  More About Google ‘Crawlers’ If you want to go to a destination, you usually follow a map or a path to get there. If not, it would be difficult to find your way there. The same basic theory applies to web crawlers. If their destination is your page but there is no link to it, they will not be able to reach it. In this case, you must make sure that the specific page you want can be accessed through a link on your website internally. It is best to include internal links on valuable pages, because Google will re-crawl those valuable pages periodically, making the Google spider crawl every link on that page. This will give your new page an increased possibility of getting indexed much faster. Internal Links Another important factor is changing internal links called ‘nofollow’ links into ‘dofollow’ internal links. No matter how effective your internal linking is, if your links are tagged with a ‘no-follow’ tag, Google bots will not be able to crawl them. Therefore, make sure all your links are active, ‘do follow’ links. SEO Doing off-page SEO (search engine optimization) is another important step to take if you want your website indexed quickly. This may not seem worth it immediately, but in the long run, you will observe the massive impact SEO grants on the topic at hand. A major element of SEO is getting quality backlinks that lead to your website. Once again, you are not looking for quantity here. You should strictly pursue quality backlinks only. If you buy low-quality backlinks without understanding what you are doing, Google will likely penalize you. Keep in mind to always aim to get high-quality backlinks from trusted websites. Getting Your Website Indexed by Bing All the procedures that were mentioned above about Google also apply to Bing. You must submit sitemaps, create powerful backlinks, remove no-follow tags, etc. The only difference here is that instead of the Google Search Console, you will use Bing Webmaster Tools. This toolset is a lot like the Google Search Console, making it easy to use if you know what steps to take. If you need further instructions, sign up for Bing Webmaster Tools and it will provide you with the option to ‘Select Import from GSC’ if you already set up a Google Search Console account. This will automatically import the sitemaps and all the other essential information from your GSC account. You can also find more information on Bing Webmaster Tools here.

 Iffat Sultana, January 1, 1970

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