One of the most frequent questions we hear from new clients is “how long will it take before I can find my site on Google?” It’s a simple question. Unfortunately, the answer is not quite as simple as all that.
How Sites Show Up On Google
To build their search engine database, Google crawls and indexes millions of web pages every day. Before your site can show up on Google at all, they need to have found your site, used their software to crawl your pages, and indexed the content, so that the search engine knows what your site is about.
Depending on a variety of factors, this could take anything from a few days, to a couple of weeks. And of course, being in the Google index does not automatically mean you’ll appear on the first page.
Finding Your Site
The easiest way to see if Google has indexed your site yet is to search for your business name, or your URL. (The URL, or “uniform resource locator” is your website’s address.) If Google has indexed even one page of your site, typing the URL into the search engine should bring up your site.
As we mentioned above though, it could take a few days for your site to show up here, especially if your domain is a brand new one. Google indexes sites very quickly, relatively speaking. But with billions of pages of information online, it’s impossible for them to index everything, every day.
Once upon a time, Google only updated their index every three to four months in fact. These days, they carry out daily incremental indexing instead. This means that your whole site might not get indexed at the same time, but that they’ll pick up a new page or two every time they crawl the site.
The rate at which your internal pages gets indexed also depends on a few factors, such as your internal links, external links to internal pages, and even the URL structure of your site.
Getting Indexed Faster
Although it is possible to manually submit a site URL, and a site map, to Google, it’s pretty generally accepted that this makes little, if any, difference to the speed at which your site is indexed.
Since older, more trustworthy domains get indexed more regularly than new ones, probably the most effective way to have your site indexed quickly is to get some credible, relevant back-links to your site.
The more pages you have with quality external links pointing to them, the sooner those pages will be indexed, as Google follows those links when they crawl the pages which contain them.
Another important factor, which luckily goes without saying for Net Age websites, is how easily Google can crawl your site. A good site structure, with effective navigation, will make it easy for Google to find all you pages. Flash sites, on the other hand, or Java navigation, makes it that much more difficult for Google to read your pages, and therefore delays indexing your site.
Ranking High On Google
As we mentioned earlier, being indexed by Google is not the same as appearing on the first page of Google results. Being indexed, or appearing on Google, just means that Google has seen your site, indexed the pages, and made an estimate of their importance based on your content, and the links that point to your site.
Being able to find yourself on Google by typing in your company name is not the same as ranking high on Google for searches for your products or services.
Ranking high in the search engine results is something else entirely, and to do so naturally and organically requires search engine optimisation. (Anybody can rank high using Google’s pay per click (PPC) advertising solution of course. You just have to pay for it.)
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation is the method for getting a natural high ranking, through a combination of keyword rich, relevant content, and effective back links that improve your reputation in the eyes of search engines.
With the billions of web pages online, there is often fierce competition to obtain first page rankings, which depend not only on your own site, but on the sites of your competitors as well.
SEO is far too lengthy a topic to go into in this article, but if you’d like to find out more about it, you can visit our Resources page for Search Engine Optimisation to find out more.