3 Indexing Strategies For New Websites
3 Indexing Strategies For New Websites
So you’ve just launched a new website and you can’t wait to get some of that sweet, sweet, organic traffic. That’s great! But, before you start raking in the clicks, search engines need to actually find your content first. Just because you push a site live to the internet doesn’t mean that search engines will immediately find all of your pages and start showing them in the search results. That’s where indexing comes in.
Search engine indexing is the process by which search engine crawlers enter your site, gather data on your pages, and list the pages in the search engine’s index. If a page isn’t indexed, it won’t show up in search results. That’s why it’s critical that you make the indexing process as easy as possible for search engines.
To speed up indexing, there are three strategies you can employ:
1. Create and upload a sitemap.
A sitemap is an XML file that lists out each page on your website, when it was last modified, how often it’s updated, how it is prioritized in the site hierarchy. Creating this file in XML provides a text-only file that is easy to read by search engine crawlers. It serves as a kind of roadmap that a crawler can use to explore your site. For more information on what sitemaps are and how to make one, check out Google’s guide to sitemaps. Bear in mind that even if you do submit a sitemap, search engines may still take awhile to fully index your entire site. To speed up the process, utilize the next two strategies.
2. Optimize your internal linking hierarchy.
With or without a sitemap, crawlers will index your site by following links from one page to another. You can ease this process by ensuring that your internal linking structure (the way your pages link to each other) is extensive. Make sure that your most important pages are linked to on the homepage to ensure that a crawler visiting the homepage will be sure to find those pages that are deeper in the hierarchy.
For example, if you have an important product page at a URL like www.example.com/products/widgets/plastic-widgets/, a crawler would normally have to go through several levels of hierarchy in order to reach that fourth level (assuming that each level links to the next one). To get this page indexed faster, you could include a “featured products” section on your homepage that contains a link to this page, allowing crawlers to bypass two levels of your site and indexing that deeper page faster. You should also make sure that pages link back up the hierarchy (breadcrumbs are a great way to do this) to make sure that crawlers can move effortlessly up and down your site hierarchy so that they can discover all the pages on your site.
3. Look for authoritative external link opportunities.
Even if you have your sitemap and internal link hierarchy optimized, search engines may still bypass your site because they don’t think it’s important enough. To get prioritized, you need a vote of confidence from an authoritative site. If you already own another authoritative domain, you have a powerful tool to speed up your indexing. Crawlers are always hungry for new information. If you have a well-trafficked site, then crawlers are probably coming back to your site pretty frequently along with the users. If you put up a link to your new site, crawlers will quickly find it, follow it, and start the indexing process on the new site they discover. This can really speed up the indexing process. The more authoritative the linking site, the greater the indexing boost.
Whenever you launch a new site, make sure you follow these three strategies to ensure your site gets well indexed. The better the index, the more listings you’ll get in the search results. Remember: if a crawler can’t find your page, your users surely won’t be able to either.