If you’ve recently built or launched a new site, you may wonder how long it will take for that site to become visible in search engines like Google. Indexation by Google and visibility in the search results depends on many different factors and metrics. However, you can help Google to learn about your new site so that it will get indexed.
Why submit a new site to Google?
So why would you submit a new site to Google? If your site is brand new, chances are that no other sites are linking to your new site. If this is the case, it can take long for Google to discover your site. That’s because Google finds new pages and sites by following hyperlinks on other sites and pages.
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By submitting your site to Google manually, you’re not depending on other sites to get your site indexed or at least crawled by Google. Basically, you’re helping Google to discover your site.
Note: While Google may index your website after submitting it, there is no guarantee when it comes to your position in Google’s search results page. Especially if you’re trying to “rank” for a keyword with a lot of competition, this can be difficult. Of course, it’s easier to rank for your own name (unless it’s a very common name). Chances are that my site is appearing high in Google’s search results when searching for “Wouter Postma”.
How to submit a new site to Google for indexing
The easiest way to submit your site to Google is by using Google Search Console. Search Console is a collection of free tools from Google to help site owners track their performance in Google’s search results. Search Console will also notify you if there’s something wrong with your site.
To login to Search Console, you’ll need a Google account. This is the same account that gives you Gmail, Google Drive and other (free) Google tools.
1: Adding your site to Search Console
Before you can start submitting your site and its pages to Google, you’ll need to verify that you’re the owner of the site. When it’s time to select a property type, in most cases, you’ll only need to verify your specific URL prefix:
After clicking Continue, you’re asked to select a way to verify your ownership. You can do this in a couple of ways:
- Upload an HTML file via FTP.
- Adding an HTML tag to your site’s code.
- Using a Google Analytics tag.
- Google Tag Manager.
- Via your domain name provider.
If you’re already using Google Analytics, this is probably the easiest way to verify ownership of your site. You’ll be ready in just one click and you can skip the next step. If you don’t use Google Analytics (yet), please continue with step 2.
2: Uploading an HTML file for verification
If you’re not using Google Analytics, I recommend to use the HTML file upload verification method. The easiest way to do this is via FTP. Depending on your hosting provider you’ll need to create an FTP account or you’ve already received FTP credentials via email. I’m using SiteGround so I created an FTP account via SiteGround‘s Site Tools. After creating the FTP account, you can login with an FTP client like FileZilla or Transmit.
Download the HTML verification file from Google Search Console and login to your server via FTP. Now drag the HTML file to your public_html or private_html folder (or the root folder for your site).
Once the upload is done, go to Search Console and click Verify:
If all goes well, you should now see an “Ownership verified” notification . This means you’ve now verified to Google that you’re the owner of your site. Now, click Go to property to open your new Search Console property.
3: Submitting website pages to Google
Now that you’ve verified your ownership, Google will allow you to submit your site’s URLs to Search Console. There are two main ways to do this:
- Manually (page by page)
- XML Sitemaps
The first option (manual submission) is mostly suitable for smaller websites that don’t often get new pages and content to index. XML Sitemaps (especially when they’re automatically kept up-to-date) are convenient for sites or blogs that often get updated with new pages, posts and content.
To manually submit a page to Google, copy the URL (for example https://wouterpostma.com/) and enter it in the top bar of Search Console:
Now press Enter. In case of a new website, you’ll most likely see below message saying URL is not on Google. This means that Google hasn’t seen this URL before.
You can now click Request Indexing to immediately request Google to index your page. However, I personally prefer to first click the Test Live URL button. This will help identify any issues that Google may see with your site or page. For example, if your site is not working well on mobile devices, Google will tell you after testing the live URL. In the example below, I’ve tested the URL of one of my blog posts:
As you can see above, there are no warnings from Google for my page. All the checks are green which means the page can be indexed and is “mobile friendly”. Google also found valid breadcrumbs on my page. Now that I know that there are no problems or issues with my page, I click Request Indexing. Google then gives us the notification below, indicating that the page will be indexed soon.
The method of using XML sitemaps mostly comes in handy when your site has many different pages and posts. Especially when you often add new content (like a blog), an automatic XML sitemap is the way to go. If you’re using WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin will automatically generate the relevant XML sitemaps for your site. For example, you can see this site’s sitemap here. Yoast’s plugin makes sure that any new pages and posts are automatically added to the sitemap.
You can submit your sitemap in Search Console by going to Index > Sitemaps:
Google will then check your sitemap regularly for new content, making sure that any new URLs are indexed.
4: Checking which of your site’s pages are indexed
If you want to verify any of your site’s pages indexation status in Google, you can do that by searching in Google with the site: prefix. For example, search for site:wouterpostma.com and Google will show you all pages that it has indexed for this domain:
Google Search Console also gives you some generic information about your site’s indexation. You can find this under Index > Coverage:
How quickly are pages indexed by Google?
The indexation of a site or specific page by Google, is depending on many different things. For example, some sites are very old and have built up a significant amount of “authority” in Google. The authority of those sites is created by regularly adding new (valuable) content and having other (high authority) sites link to them. For instance, news sites are visited by Google more often, because new content is added regularly.
If your site is brand new and the domain name used has no history, you’ve probably not built much authority in Google yet. The indexation of your site’s pages can take up to weeks, and if there are no other sites linking to yours, Google may never discover your site at all.
This is why you should at least submit your site to Google. By doing this, you’re not depending on other sites to link to you.
It also helps to regularly add new content. This way, Google’s bot knows that it should visit your site often. One way to make sure that new content is added regularly, is by starting a blog.
Finally, it can help to make sure that the pages on your site are easy to find for Google. You can do that by having a logical and easy navigation structure. Also, make sure there are enough (internal) links between your site’s different pages. If your site is easy to use for a human, most likely it will also be easy for Google to crawl it.
You now know how to submit your site to Google via Search Console. I’ve also briefly explained how you can verify which pages of your site have already been indexed by Google. This however doesn’t guarantee your position in Google’s search results.