Indexing is the process by which Google crawlers store and categorise information and content they find on websites, ready to be displayed in SERPs.
Backlinks are external hyperlinks used to link from one website to another. They form an integral part of search-engine optimization, often touted as the main ranking factor search engines use to rank pages.
A SERP or Search Engine Results Page, is the web page presented to a user when they search a query into a search engine. Every SERP is unique, based on the searcher’s location, their browsing history, and their settings.
It goes without saying that search engines need to know your web page exists before they begin to rank. If Google doesn’t know your web page exists, your chance of ranking is obviously impossible.
Rumours sometimes circulate that to rank well, you must submit your site to Google.
But do you have to submit your web pages to Google every single time you create a new one?
The simple answer is no.
In fact, you may never ever need to submit your site to Google and perform incredibly well. Submitting your site is absolutely not a requirement.
However, there are certain situations when submitting your site to Google is the best thing to do.
Here we’re looking at exactly when you may want to submit your site to Google, how to check if your site is visible to Google, how to submit your site, and what to do if you find your site or web pages aren’t indexed.
Before we dive into all the good stuff, let’s quickly recap how search engines crawl and index web pages.
Google and other search engines aren’t designed to rely on manual submissions.
It just wouldn’t be a practical way of indexing web pages - imagine if every single time someone created a new web page or site they had to submit it to Google - it would be highly inconvenient and a time-consuming task for both users and search engines.
Search engines have their own bots which automatically crawl the web looking for sites and pages to index. They look for new links on websites and then follow them. If this leads to a useful and relevant website, this page is then indexed.
Search engines are able to find new web pages on their own, so long as they’re linked to from somewhere else on the web.
Side note - this is why a solid backlink strategy is so important!
While submitting your website is by no means necessary, there are several reasons why it’s a good idea to sometimes submit your site to Google.
Sometimes it takes time for search engines to discover a new site or web pages. If you’ve just created a new website and expect it to pop up instantly on Google, you’ll probably be disappointed.
In some cases, even after a few weeks, your site won’t pop up in SERPs. If this has happened to you and you’re keen for your site to begin ranking well it’s a good idea to submit your site to Google.
Here are our top reasons for submitting your site:
When you submit your site, Google gives you the opportunity to provide them with critical information about your site. This information isn’t always picked up by crawlers so telling search engines yourself is always a good option.
You could tell Google about significant changes across your site, content updates or which web pages are most important.
When you submit your site to Google, you also get access to different tools that help you improve your site. Within the dashboard, Google gives you some insights into how it views your site. You can use their tool to test your web pages for potential issues and you’ll receive alerts if there are any errors.
While your site will probably be visible to Google whether you submit it or not, given that it’s such a quick and simple process, sometimes it’s best not to take chances when it comes to SEO.
Submitting your site is super quick and simple - usually, the process just takes a few minutes. Before you get started though, consider the following points:
If you’re wondering what a site map is, it’s usually an XML file that lists all the pages found on your site.
You can usually find your sitemap by going to yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml.
Once you have your sitemap, you need to submit it to Search Console.
This is easily done by pasting your sitemap into the “add a new sitemap” box. If you have several sitemaps, you just need to repeat this step for each one.
You can also submit single web pages. If you’ve just added new content or updated web pages this is especially useful.
All you need to do is paste the page’s URL in the URL Inspection Tool within Google Search Console.
If Google hasn’t already indexed the page an alert saying “URL is not on Google” will pop up. If you see this, you can then click the “Request Indexing” button and Google will then crawl and index the page.
If the web page has already been indexed but you’ve made changes or recently updated the content, you can still request that Google crawls the page and indexes any changes.
To check if your site has been submitted and indexed by Google, just search for the web page or site in question. If Google has crawled and indexed your site, it will pop up in the SERPs.
You can copy some text from the web page and paste it into the Google search bar to make sure it appears in search results.
You can also check if your page has been indexed by using Google Search Console.
Head to the coverage report and check the “Valid” tab. You’ll see the number of pages of your site that Google has indexed.
You can then check which pages these are by clicking the “Submitted and Indexed” button.
If you want to check if a particular web page is indexed, perhaps a new one you just added, you can use the URL Inspection tool within Search Console.
If the page isn’t indexed, the tool will show you what the error is.
While Google is the clear leader with 92.17% of the market share, depending on your target audience, sometimes it pays to have a presence on other search engines too.
Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines make it possible for you to submit your web pages there too.
Bing Webmaster tools are simple and intuitive to use, making it easy to submit your site. All you’ve got to do is select ‘Sitemaps’ from the menu, paste your sitemap URL and hit submit.
Submitting your site to Bing also automatically does the same for Yahoo, meaning there’s no need to go through the same process again.
Google will ultimately be able to find your website whether you choose to submit it or not. However, quickly submitting your site to Google, using an XML sitemap is a great way of covering all your bases.
It’s an effective way of giving Google more important details about your site and in exchange, you’ll receive additional indexing data about your site.
Ensuring Google crawls your site is also a great way of any important changes and updates have been indexed. This will help your site rank more quickly.