DIY SEO Basics: Getting Google to Index Your Site

Written by: Jason Bayless | May 09, 2013

If you just added pages to your website or changed certain pages, you want Google to crawl your site and index the new or changed content. Of course, you could just wait for Google to do so – but how often does Google crawl the average web site? That, like so much having to do with Google, depends on an algorithm.

PageRank, the number of links to your page, and the ease of crawling your page (which is partly affected by the number of parameters in a URL) all play a part in how often Google comes crawling. But to have a better chance of getting your site reindexed sooner, you should request indexing of new or updated URLs. In this blog post, we’ll talk about how to do that – and other ways you can increase your chances of a prompt site reindexing.

Using Google’s “Index Now” feature

To be sure that Google will take notice of the changes you’ve made to your website, go to Webmaster Tools and select Index Now from the Indexing tab. Google will only honor this request for sites that you own, so be sure to add and verify all your websites in Webmaster Tools.

Google allows you to choose from a few different indexing options:

  • Specific URLs of new pages you just added or existing pages you just updated.
  • URLs linked from a specific page or sitemap. This option makes sense if you have one particular page where you highlight new content, such as new products, newly published articles or blog posts, or other updates. This option is also a good one to choose if you frequently update your sitemap to include new pages.
  • URLs within a sitemap. Especially if your site is sprawling and complex, there are probably pages Google wouldn’t reach unless you request that it index your sitemap.

What other reasons would you have to request a site reindex? If you redo a site that was designed in 2003 and last updated in 2007, you should definitely request a site reindex when you launch the latest version of that site.

Other ways to get Google to index your website

Since you don’t know how long it will take for Google to get around to reindexing your site, you can try to get Google’s attention and attract it to your site in other ways:

  • Blog a lot. Google likes blogs, and if you include a link to one of your new pages here and there in a blog post, it could get Google to notice.
  • Issue press releases. Use reputable sites like PRWeb.com and issue newsworthy press releases containing an SEO-friendly backlink (meaning a simple URL with keywords, not a dynamic URL with a lot of numbers and symbols).
  • Get mentioned. Ask other bloggers or Twitter users to mention your new site, new page or site redesign and include a link.

One last tip: How can you find out when the site reindexing has actually happened? Go to Google and type in site:yourdomain.com (replacing “yourdomain” with your actual domain, of course), click on “search tools” and select the past week or past 24 hours. This will tell you which pages are new to Google.