We’ve talked again and again about the benefits of SEO. Crafting high quality content, perfectly primed to capture the eyes of curious search engine users, is a surefire way to increase your website traffic, bolstering your chances of retaining hot leads and creating conversions.
But before you post a blog and call it a day, it’s important to ask yourself one key question: Do the search engines you’re trying to target even know that your site exists?
The internet is a vast repository of information, so a lot of us naturally take for granted that everything we post is automatically filed away and given the same standing as the other content already housed online. This assumption isn’t wrong, per se, but it is a little misguided.
Having a website that really succeeds with search engines all comes down to understanding just how Google, Bing, and Yahoo actually catalog and present their data. Let’s explore a little bit of the science behind the search, before breaking down the simple steps that will help ensure your website gets the attention it deserves.
How Do Search Engines Find and Evaluate Content?
Virtually all modern search comes down to one superheroic figure that goes by the name of Googlebot.
A vast collection of bots and crawlers, Googlebot, in simplest terms, is the program that Google employs to collect whatever information is available about pages and documents on the web, in order to add that content to the engine’s vast searchable index. Googlebot operates using a two-step process:
During the crawling process, Googlebot uses links to go around from website to website, combing for any new information or updates to report to Google, including brand new sites, meaningful changes to existing pages, and broken links. This great amassing of data leads to…
After Googlebot crawls through a site, that information needs to be processed and listed; we call this “indexing,” as it leads to sites becoming available on Google’s “searchable index.” During indexing, Google lists sites and updates in its search rankings according to the more than 200 criteria assessed during crawling; Google also looks at a ton of information on pages – including title tags, meta-descriptions, and alt tags – during this step of the process, which decides your site’s eventual standing on search engine results pages (SERPs).
It’s important to remember that crawling and indexing are ongoing processes; the web is always growing and changing, and so poor Googlebot never gets a chance to rest.
Because of this, the old program can have a little bit of trouble discovering and evaluating new sites on its own. In fact, one study from Hubspot revealed that it took over 1300 minutes for both Google and Yahoo to crawl a website without a manually-submitted sitemap (this is like a table of contents for your site, used more by search engines than humans); on the other hand, after submitting a sitemap to Google, it took a bot just 14 minutes on average to comb through a site (and a hefty, but still speedier, 245 minutes for Yahoo).
Without being crawled and indexed, your pages won’t do you any good creating organic traffic and conversions. Fortunately, it’s easy to make sure that anything you produce gets a search engine’s full focus.
How Do I Submit My Site to Search Engines?
Submitting a new website to Google – or a site with a number of new pages or significant updates – is incredibly simple.
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that you own your site, and that you’re connected and familiar with Google Webmaster Tools. Once you are, to index a new URL, simply submit it using the tool available here.
To submit an updated sitemap for an existing website, use Google Search Console to got to “Crawl Tab,” then “Sitemap.” There, you can submit your updated information to facilitate crawling right away.
Want to cover your bases? You can also submit your site to Bing and Yahoo simultaneously, using the form available here.
Other ways to help search engines crawl and index your new pages? Promote them! Use social media and professional forums to share your newest links; not only will this increase your referral traffic rates, but it will signal that your pages have a positive value to the search engines you’re trying to court.
Have any more questions about making Google work for your brand? Want help developing a website or creating original content? That’s where Geek comes in! Let our team help bring your business online with our unique, accessible approach to web development, SEO, and social media solutions. Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!