How to Get a Website Recognized by Google & Other Search Engines
Purpose: This article is meant to save you some time, energy, and maybe even some money. In this SEO lesson, you'll learn how to get your website recognized by Google and other search engines. You'll also learn to avoid "submission services" that pray on ignorant webmasters.
Bottom line: You really don't have to do anything special to get your site recognized by Google, aside from just publishing a site. Their crawlers are constantly scouring the web for new websites, and new additions to existing sites. It's how they stay relevant in an ever-changing environment. In most cases, the Google search engine will find and crawl a new website in less than five days. After that, it can include pages from the new site within its search results.
In Depth: How Search Engines Find Websites
This is a fairly straightforward topic. But it's still a source of confusion among new webmasters and publishers who expect instant results in Google. Here's how it usually happens...
John puts a new website online on Monday. He checks Google on Tuesday, but can't seem to find his site. Then he scours the Internet to find out how to get a website recognized by Google and other search engines. Hopefully, John lands on a website like this one that gives him the straight scoop. Otherwise, he might fall prey to one of those website "submission services" that charge you a fee to get you "listed" in the major search engines -- all of which is a big waste of money. Lucky for you, you found my website instead of one of those submission services.
Here's what you need to know. Google will find and crawl your website soon after it goes online. It will happen automatically, without any extra effort (or expense) on your part. There are two exceptions to this rule:
- Search engines will not crawl your website if you are blocking them for some reason.
- Search engines will not find pages that are hidden behind a firewall or login screen.
Aside from those two exceptions, Google should recognize your new site within a matter of days. It may take the Bing search engine a little longer to recognize your website, as it does not crawl as quickly or as often as Google (in my experience).
You Should Never Pay to Get Recognized by Google
There are plenty of website submission services out there that would love to take your money to help you "expedite" this process. In fact, if you recently put a new site online, or plan to in the near future, there's a 99% chance you'll receive spam emails from these people. As you can see, there are plenty of them out there, and they are all eager to take your money. But you don't need them. If there's one thing you've learned from this lesson, it's that Google will find your site on its own. It's part of their business model.
You don't have to submit your website to the search engines in order for it to be recognized. They will find it on their own. If you insist on manually submitting your site to Google, Bing and Yahoo, you can do it yourself for free. They all have a submission feature designed for new websites.
The so-called submission services will make bold claims about "getting you listed with more than 200 search engines," and similar nonsense. But let me ask you this: Can you name more than three search engines? I'm betting you can't. That's because Google, Yahoo and Bing account for more than 95% of all Internet queries in the English-speaking world. Who cares about the other obscure sites? Not me.
Given all of this, I hope you'll agree that the submission services are a waste of money. Your website will be recognized by the search engines a few days after it goes live. You don't need to manually submit it -- but you can do so for free, if you really want to.
You can also expedite this process by acquiring links from other sites. Google will find and crawl your site faster if you have some inbound links. This will also help you improve your rankings over time. So let's talk about that next.
You Can Speed Things Up by Getting Links from Other Sites
If you wait long enough, the search engines will find your site on their own accord, simply by crawling the web on a regular basis. When they find a new site, they add it to their database or "index." This means the website is officially recognized by the search engines.
So that covers the time factor. Your site will eventually be found by Google, Bing and Yahoo, simply by being part of the web. But who wants to wait? Each day that your site lingers in obscurity is another missed opportunity to attract new business. If you're like most webmasters, you want to get your new website recognized as soon as possible. So that brings us to the second factor in this process -- links.
If other websites link to your new site, the search engines will find it much more quickly. In fact, I once had a brand-new site get recognized by Google within 24 hours, simply because it was linked to from a popular news website (via press release). If the site that links to yours is frequently updated -- and therefore frequently revisited or "re-crawled" by the search engines -- the incoming link will help you get recognized even faster.
Acquiring links is the subject of another SEO lesson. I just wanted to mention it in passing, so you can research the topic further if necessary. Post a question in the forums if you want to learn more about link building.
The Difference Between Being Found and Ranking Well
In closing, I want to point out that there is a big difference between being found by search engines, and ranking well in their results.
Consider the following:
A search for "San Diego landscaping services" turned up more than 2 million individual results. Now, granted, there aren't that many landscaping companies in San Diego. Some of those results are from websites that just mention that phrase in some way. But it's safe to assume there are at least 200 - 300 of those companies in the greater metro area. Most of their websites have been recognized by Google. But they can't all be listed on the first page. Only ten of them will make the first page. The others will be on pages 2, 3, 4, etc. And some will get buried 15 pages deep, where they might as well be invisible.
I tell you this, because I don't want you to expect first-page rankings shortly after your site has been recognized. Unless you're in an industry with very little online competition, it will be a long, slow climb up through the rankings. That is, if you have an SEO program in place. But that's also the subject of another article!
Key points from this SEO lesson:
- Your website will probably be found, recognized and crawled by Google within a few days of going live.
- Other search engines, such as Bing, will likely follow suit shortly after that.
- You do not need to take any special steps for this to occur.
- You do not need to manually submit your website to the search engines, though you can if you want to. It probably won't make much of a difference.
- You should never pay anyone to submit your site to "hundreds" of search engines. It's a racket designed to make money off new webmasters who are unfamiliar with all this.
- There's a big difference between getting recognized and ranking well. It doesn't take much to get recognized, other than putting your site online. Ranking well, on the other hand, requires a sustained effort and at least a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO).
Have questions? If you have questions about anything discussed in this lesson, you can post it to the Internet marketing forums. I'll certainly do my best to help you -- and it's free.