New website owners often ask how long it will take to get their websites indexed. “Indexed” means that Google and bing have crawled through the site and seen all the pages.
Some people think that, when they ask Google a question, the Google robot zooms all over the world checking out everything on the internet. In fact, Google indexes pages in its free time (metaphorically speaking) and decides what a site is about and how important it is.
We’ve found by experimentation that Google will usually index our new sites within a day or two of our submitting the web address, or within a couple of weeks if we don’t submit the address. We therefore submit the URL immediately.
It’s not always that simple, though. Google doesn’t index every site: sometimes it takes a quick glance and decides your site isn’t worth indexing. We often see websites which have been around for years without being indexed.
Recently, we’ve had another complication. America’s Depot, an e-commerce site, was built on a seven year old domain. We had the blog up for a couple of months while the site was getting ready to launch, and it was fully indexed. When we launched the site, there wasn’t much point in submitting the URL as a new web address.
Now, almost two weeks after launch, all 21,000+ pages have been indexed. The screenshot above shows the listing for the newly indexed site.
We see the pages that Google has decided are most important (essentially the pages with the largest amount of content), including today’s blog post (indexed within a few minutes of posting), a popular older blog post, and some policy pages. The homepage has the description from the old website.
So the site has been indexed within the expected time frame, but it’s not quite the way we want it.
First, what did we do to get this site indexed, when many are not?
- The site itself is well built and contains a good amount of original content.
- The blog posts since launch have been bristling with links to the new site’s pages. This has the effect of saying, “Hey, Google, look here! New content!”
- We’ve been linkbuilding since launch, with the same effect.
Second, how can we get Google to see the site more the way we want them to?
- Add a good meta description for the homepage. If you have plenty of content right up where the search engines can see it, Google will come up with a meta description for you, usually by pulling something from the page. In this case, we have lots of dynamic content and images before any solid chunks of text, and Google didn’t get it. A meta description is a good idea in any case.
- Add more content to the pages we consider most important. We’ve seen this with lots of sites, so we know that it can be about nothing more than the number of words on a page, but we can also help things along by linking to those important pages.
Not sure whether your site is indexed? Search for “site:www.yourwebsite.com” using your actual web address instead of “yourwebsite.” You’ll see right away whether and what Google has indexed. If your site is brand new, give it a little time. If your site is old and still not indexed, let us help you figure out why (call 479.966.9761). Either way, add new content and build links to draw the attention of the search engines.