Okay so you just finished creating a new website or blog for your business. The next step on your checklist is to make sure customers can find it.
Well, my website is live and running. Anyone can find it
Odds are, this is NOT the case. Your work isn’t finished just yet and there are still few more steps before you can rest easy.
Get Crawled, Become Indexed
Clearly, the first thing you want to happen is for people to discover your new website. And, of course, you’re crossing fingers hoping that one of the ways they will find you is through search. Unfortunately, you have to sit around and wait for Google, and the other search engines, to crawl and index your website in their database.
So, this bears the timeless question of: How do I expedite this process and ensure my business is found ASAP? – A worthy question from any proactive business owner.
Here, I am going to fill you in on some basics of how your website is crawled and indexed. Plus, I shed some light on a few great tips that will help steer search engine crawlers to your website so that your business is indexed sooner and you can get back to what you do best.
What is a Website Crawler and Why Do I Want to be Indexed?
To put things into perspective, the internet is flooded with so many websites, big and small, that not even our most advanced technology can keep track. Think of the world wide web as a spider web where the spider that owns the web has to crawl throughout all the strings to find out what they caught for dinner.
Now imagine the internet being 100 million times larger than the spider web you see above — because, it really is.
Fortunately for Google and the rest of us, there’s more than just one spider that can help crawl and find the good stuff. However, the issue is that there are so many websites and so much new information being updated every minute that not everything can be found and recognized.
There’s something you can do about that. But, before we dig in, lets cover a few basics.
Search engines like Google use spider crawlers to seek out the new and updated information on the web, much like a real spider would. Therefore, in order for your customers to find you, the search engines spiders MUST be able to “crawl” your website first.
- Google’s website crawling software is called Googlebot. This search software is used to collect documents and new information to add to the Google index.
- The Googlebot uses links like this one to crawl the new and updated information and report that back to the searchable index.
- Indexing is the process of gathering information, recognizing what the information is about, evaluating the quality of content, and determining if that information can be added to Google’s searchable index. For additional insight on the Googlebot, check out Webmaster Tools Help.
So, what can I do to help Google find and crawl the content on my website?
How to Properly Index Your Website Into Google
- Create an XML Sitemap – An XML sitemap is a digital document that lists and organizes all of the pages that are on your website. This digital document needs to be formatted properly so that search engines like Google can read and understand which pages actually belong to your business website. In addition, an XML sitemap will also notify Google that you have made changes or updates to the content on your website. This allows for faster crawling and recognition of the great things your doing on your website. For instance, you probably want Google to come back and crawl the new pages on your site that detail your brand new products or new items you just added. There are a number of free tools on the internet that can help you create an XML sitemap.
- Submit a Sitemap to Google – To make things even easier, you can directly send Google your XML sitemap that lists all of your pages. Google provides a free tool that you can utilize called Google Webmaster Tools. By creating a free Google account, you are essentially creating a dashboard you can use to monitor the “health” of your website. In addition, you can submit that XML file (with all of the pages on your website) directly for Google to review. Pretty simple, right? If not, just ask us as we are happy to help.
- Create & Install Google Analytics – If you have a new website, this is single handedly the most important thing you should do. To be frank, it’s probably the first thing you should do once your website is live. This free resource provided by Google is a tracking software that will that generate detailed statistics about your website’s traffic, the sources the traffic is coming from, and measure sales and conversions. Insights provided by Google Analytics will help you understand the activity on your website and it will also let Google know your website is out on the horizon.
- Get Social – You’ve heard it before. In this day and age, its time to get social about your brand because people want to interact with your product or service. Plus, Google loves to see your activity on prominent social websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Furthermore, you can place your website URL on all of these social networking sites which is another way for Google to find, recognize the link and subsequently crawl your website.
- Share Your Website & Create Content Off Your Website - Now that you’ve created social media profiles for your business, it’s time to share what you have to offer to the world. Do so by sharing your website’s content on social networks and interacting with your customers. Another idea is to reach out to other blogs and websites that are related to your industry and offer value to them. You can guest post on a niche-related websites and even submit press releases to companies that will distribute your off site content.
Now that you have created a beautiful website and followed the best practices in submitting to search engines, you have positioned your website more favorably than most. You want a website that can easily be crawled and read by search engines so that they can quickly determine who you are, what you do and why you should show up for a specific search term.
Once your business website is properly indexed, you should start to see some traction and traffic coming to your website (reported by Google Analytics) from Google search. Because you set up and submitted a sitemap successfully, your new content will be discovered more quickly. To go one step further in ensuring your content is found, don’t forget to share on social media!
Take control of your business website’s visibility with our Search Engine Optimization services.
Extra Tip - Content found on your website’s blog is typically discovered, crawled and indexed much quicker than the regular pages on your site. I would strongly consider having an active blog that supplements what you do. For instance, if you have a new service that you’re offering, write up a nice blog post about it and hyperlink back to the service page in the blog post. This internal tactic will help the new service page be crawled and indexed faster.
Were these tips and insights helpful for you in indexing your website? What other techniques would you recommend so Google can find your website faster? Share in the comments!