The only way to have your site showing on Google search results is to have the pages indexed. However, that is not the only thing you need.
You need Google to re-index your pages every after a while to identify new content. The problem with Google and other search engines is that they do not automatically update. Search engines use spiders, which are codes that crawls your website. Granted, you need an efficient crawl rate to rank high on Google search engine results.
You not only need to learn how to index URL in Google but also how to ensure that the indexed version of your site keeps updating. Spiders need to understand the new content or page on your website to index it.
Much as you can learn everything you need about the Google Search Console, Google considers the user experience and the relevance of your content to the searcher’s needs. Long gone are the days webmasters would stuff keywords in their content to rank high and get the spiders to index their sites.
Keywords still matter, but there are more than 200 factors that determine where your site ranks, according to Brian Dean from Backlinko. However, all these factors mean nothing if the spiders can’t tell the search engine what your website offers. This is why you need google indexing.
How Else Does Indexing Help?
Indexing is how spiders gather and process the information from your pages as they crawl the web. By indexing your pages frequently, you will get better search results.
Spiders that come to your website will identify new content and new pages and add these to the index that Google holds. However, the spiders will only consider adding the pages to the Google Index if they contain relevant information.
You risk missing from the index if your pages contain stuffed keywords or many links from untrustworthy sources. If your content is relevant, the spiders will process the text, the location, search terms, meta tags, title tags, and alt attributes. The spiders will then index your website and its pages.
You need to ensure that your content, old and new, is available for anyone searching it and for the spiders.
To help you index your site, one of the essential Google webmaster tools is the search console. You can use the Google search console to see how often spiders crawl your site. If you haven’t set the console yet, this guide will show you how.
You can see how many spiders crawl your website. Click on your website in the search console, click Crawl, and then Crawl Stats.
You need the spiders to crawl your website more. But in some cases, too much crawling can affect your site speed as it overloads your servers. But this is rare, and there is nothing to worry about.
How Do You Increase Your Website’s Crawl Rate?
Google considers the relevance and authority of your site, among other factors, to rank your website. As such, you need to enhance your user experience to get the search engine to rank you.
You can start by updating your old content so that the spiders stop at your site more often.
You also need to enhance your website’s speed so that visitors never have to wait more than three seconds. If your current host lags in loading the pages switch to a new host. If your site loads fast, it is easier for the spiders to come in and add it to the Google index.
Because Google only wants to send its users to the best websites, you need to make yours irresistible.
Besides ensuring that your site is indexed, you need to ensure that Google indexes as many pages in your site as possible. Your Sitemap will make sure of that – you will find how to go about that later on in this guide.
How Do You Tell If Your Site is Indexed?
Google already knows your website, unless you just published it a few hours ago.
To see if Google already knows your site, search for site:yourdomain.com on Google. If your site is indexed, you will see the results of the search. If your site is not indexed, Google will return with the message that your search did not match any documents.
If you are not indexed, you need to submit a URL to Google and start bettering the user experience to guarantee consistent indexing.
In 2019, Google launched a new search console. You need to learn how to make the best of the latest search console to grow your online business. Let’s jump right into the Search Console. Follow these steps to get your site indexed and re-indexed continually.
1. Add Your Site and Verify it in the New Console
Before you start wondering about the functionality and other factors of the new console, you need to ensure you add and verify your site.
To do that, open the dropdown at the top left corner of the dashboard. From there, select “Add Property.” For this to be effective, you need to ensure that you add your site’s URL as it appears in the browser.
If your website has multiple domains or multiple protocols, you need to add those as separate properties. For instance, you may have yournicedomain.com, m.yournicedomain.com, and www.yournicedomain.com. If such is the case, register them separately. Immediately after registration, the spiders will start crawling your website.
Adding a property is not enough. Google needs to know that you own the property. After registration, navigate to the tab “Manage Property” on the console page. From there, choose to “Verify Property” and choose a verification method you are comfortable with. After verification, you are good to go.
2. Choose Your Preferred(nice) Domain
How do you want Google to list your website? Is it https://yournicedomain.com or https://www.yournicedomain.com? There is no benefit in choosing the former over the latter or the other way round. However, you need to choose one.
To do that,
- Open the search console home page and select your property.
- Click on the gear (Settings) icon, and from there, select Site Settings. You can see the two options in the Preferred Domain area.
Google also gives the option not to select a domain, but it will see the two domains differently.
If you do that, you will hinder the search visibility of your website. However, when you choose one Domain, Google will treat all the other non-preferred domains as your domains.
3. Integrate Google Analytics and the Search Console
Analytics are important when you need data to help better your website. The search console, on the other hand, shows you factors that lead to the data the analytics offer. When you link the two, you get a significant boost in the reports you receive.
To link the two,
- open your Analytics dashboard and choose Property Settings at the Property Section.
- Scroll down to the Console Settings from where you will see the URL of your website.
This shows that your website is already verified, and you have the right to make changes to the console.
- From there, click the reporting view for the data you need to see.
- Click Save, and your link will be created.
After linking the two, you will see a report from the search console at the Audience tab in the dashboard of Google Analytics.
With the two reports, you can now understand pre-click and post-click data such as post-queries and bounce rates. You can use the Landing page report to see data for all the URLs on your site. This is important when you anticipate some updated pages to offer more traffic than other pages. If these updated pages are ranking, you can understand why from the reports and learn to correct the errors.
4. Submit a Sitemap
You might have a Sitemap already.
However, you still need to check to be sure. Open yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. If there is nothing, you do not have a Sitemap, and you should create one. You need a sitemap to submit to the search console.
Your Sitemap should not be more than 50MB and should not have more than 50,000 URLs. If you note your Sitemap has more than 50,000 URLs, create another sitemap to hold more URLs. Google notes that your Sitemap should have URLs for all pages on your website.
However, if your site is large with a few tens of thousands of URLs, you can Sitemap all the valuable pages of your website. Valuable pages might be those with high-quality content, and it excludes utility pages.
Simple content management systems, such as Drupal and WordPress offer plugins to help you generate sitemaps. Others, such as Squarespace, will generate the sitemaps and update them automatically. If you do not have one, and your site doesn’t generate one, you can use Google webmaster tools to create a sitemap.
Once you locate or generate your Sitemap, you need to submit it to make Google understand what your site offers. To do that, open the search console and head to the sitemap tab. Enter the sitemap URL and submit your website. Your website is good to go.
5. Fix Your Site Errors From the Reports
The index status report will help you fix errors in your site for better ranking. You can see the report on the new console dashboard where it is more accessible to you. In the new console, the report is referred to as the Index Coverage Status Report.
The report shows you detailed information about crawls on your website. You can get a lot of insights from the report, and if you implement these, you can enhance your website’s rank. Some of the tabs include:
- Errors – This tab shows you site errors that you can fix for a better experience. Some of the errors include redirecting errors, server errors, 404s, robot.txt, and any other errors on your website.
- Warning – Warnings are an indication that your website might be indexed by the robots.txt and blocks it. Google recommends “noindex” instead of the robots.txt for webmasters who need to block a page. If you block a page using robots.txt, the page might still come up if other pages directly link to it. With the warning report, you have a chance to de-index the pages the right way.
- Valid Pages – This report shows all pages on your website that are in the Google Index. The report might show indexed pages, not in the Sitemap and also indexed pages that might have duplicate URLs. You can submit the Sitemap and mark your URLs as canonical.
- Excluded Pages – You can see pages on your website missing from the index due to a noindex directive or any other means. If the pages are not indexed due to duplicate content or an anomaly, you can correct that to ensure the pages appear in the Google Index.
Google not only offers the reports but also shows you how to fix them. If you need more details on the reports, you can click on more details from any of the tabs, and have more from Google. Once you have the reports, there are a few things you can do to keep your website in order.
- Inspect URLs – You can inspect the condition of your URLs. Check for crawling rate, indexing, pages declared as canonical, and much more. You can use a Google URL inspection tool to see these reports and perform fixes.
- Test the Robots.txt File – Next, open your robots.txt file. You can find the file at yourdomain.com/robots.txt. From this page, you can see elements on your website that don’t appear in the index. You may forget the elements that appear on different pages, but you can see the parts of your pages that may trigger blocking.
- Crawl Fetch as Google – This is a simple way to see your site the way Google sees it. Googlebot will crawl your page and show you the HTTP response it accesses. When you crawl Fetch as Google, use Fetch and Render to see the physical layout that Google sees.
- View Search Results – This is a function that lets you see how your site looks like in the Google index.
You can access these functions for all website URLs. Tools such as the Google index checker and Google URL inspection tool will help you understand and fix the errors.
6. Update Your Content as per the Performance Report
The performance report shows you the health of your website. Unlike in the old search console, the new search console shows performance reports instead of search analytics. You need to start by opening the report. This is the first table you will see.
You can use the report to understand your website’s performance and find a way to improve the performance. You can use the filter function to do that.
You can use the tabs to analyze the pre-click metrics. You can investigate these at page, query, device, or control level. You can then use the reports to see what makes your website rank tank and what you can do to improve the ranking.
7. Boost Pages that Rank Using the Link Report
From the bottom of the search console, you can access the Links report. You can use the links report to see the performance of specific pages and then strive improve them.
You can use the report to:
Boost pages that stall using the highest linked-to pages on your website. When most of the pages on your website link to a few pages, most of the link equity lies in these few pages. You can boost pages that stall by linking internally to the pages with the highest links. This way, you can boost the rank of the pages that tank while also promoting the pages that perform well.
You can also see the external links section that allows you to investigate the referring domains. These external links are a significant factor in Google ranks. The pages with the most traffic from external links have a lot of inherent equity. You can naturally link your content from the pages with less traffic to pages with more traffic, which helps better your rank.
You can also remove links from spammy sites. From the links report, you can see the top linking sites. You can see all the domains that link to your site. You can pick the low-quality or spammy sites and add them to the disavow tool.
Note that Google only recommends that you disavow only the sites that might be harming your website. If you disavow links that boost the performance of your website, you will be hurting your site’s ranking and SEO.
There are so many Google webmaster tools such as the Google index checker you can use to ensure your site ranks on the first page of Google. However, you need to ensure that your website offers relevant content to ensure Google keeps re-indexing your pages.
This guide shows you how to index URL in Google and how to keep being re-indexed, but there is much more you need to do after you submit URL to Google.
Your content, site usability, and links should be in good shape to keep your visitors coming back and keep Google happy.