When you launch a new website (like we just did, this past weekend!), it can take a few weeks and sometimes even a few months to be found (or indexed) by the search engines. For, remember, search engines do not show the live Internet; but a copy (index) of it.
But have no fear, because there are a few tips and tricks you can do to get your website found faster!
1. Check to make sure Google and the other engines can access it.
If you’re using WordPress, your developer will typically check a button to activate your robots.txt file for all pages. (It’s essentially a quick and easy way to hide the website from being indexed during development.) To check, simply go into your WordPress dashboard, then Settings, then Reading.
About halfway down the page, you’ll see an option to discourage search engines from indexing the website. (Typically, they make just index the homepage.) Just make sure this box is unchecked!
For all other websites, a quick way to check if you’ve got a robots.txt file blocking your site is to go to [yourwebsite.com]/robots.txt. What you want to pay attention to is what is being disallowed. If you see this, your website is blocked by the search engines:
2. Submit your site directly to the search engines.
Both Google and Bing allow you to submit websites directly to them; and while this step may not make much difference, it will certainly help your cause.
3. Make the search engines happy.
Search engines like it when you use their tools; there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Installing Luckily, all of their tools tend to be beneficial for you, too!
With Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll get everything from site errors to crawl statistics to search terms and everything in between!
Similarly, Bing Webmaster Tools will show you the number of times your site has showed up in Bing, how many pages have been indexed, and more!
4. Link, link, and link some more.
Since search engines use links as a value metric between websites, it only stands to reason that links from reputable (and similar) websites at launch are another great way to get found faster. If you aren’t able to get links from well-known sites, don’t worry; there are ways you can add these links yourself!
- Incoming links from other websites and blogs. It’s helpful to know someone in the industry here; that way, when your website goes live, you can ask them to do the grand favor of linking to your website. Or, if you blog elsewhere, it’s a great opportunity to talk up your new website.
- Yahoo! Directory. It’s a $299/year charge, but the Yahoo! Directory is an opportunity to get an incoming link as well as a listing in one of the more popular general directories out there.
- Social Media. Now we’re getting to the easy ones. Once your social media sites are set up, it’s imperative to include your website. You won’t get any value from it, but you will certainly get search engines to take notice!
5. Check your progress.
After taking the first four steps, check to make sure that your website is indexing by using the site:[website.com] command. These results will show you exactly what the search engines theoretically will show searchers. You can use this command on both Google:
As you can see, our website has yet to be indexed, other than a page or two on Google. But that makes sense as it’s only been offiicially live for a few days. The tricks above should help us – and you – so, happy indexing!