How to Submit Your Site to Search Engines, Namely Google
I launched this website about 10 days ago. Yesterday, I got my first piece of solicitation in the mail. No, not by email, but via old-school USPS mail. It came in a stamped envelope, had my company name on it, and was in reference to my newly launched website etekarts.com. I assume the company has some automated means of finding out newly launched websites, because if they actually did some reasearch, they would have known that I would be the last person to buy their services: charging $100 to “submit my domain name and keywords to 25 established search engines.”
This got me thinking though, how do websites actually go about getting on search engines? I was under the assumption that it was a fairly automatic process – Bots would crawl the internet, find text, and index it appropriately. Was there something more involved I could do to increase my site’s search visibility? I started exploring these options with undoubtedly the most popular search engine: Google.
How Does Google Find a new Domain?
Say you register a domain and leave it untouched for a few months, spare for an ‘under construction’ page. Especially if its a long or non english word domain name, how the heck does Google know to send its bots to this new domain? Do they just ping every combination of domains they know? Doubtful, as the longer the domain name, the longer it will be to actually randomly come up with it. (For example, how did google know to look at the contents of http://trololololololololololo.com/ if no one gives it that domain in the first place?)
Google is a registrar itself, so one logical explanation is they are partnered with other registrars, and have services running that provide them with a list of new domain registrations. That still doesn’t explain why my domain http://www.veemapps.com/, which I’ve had online for over a year, still isn’t indexed. It could be a combination of multiple factors – a newly registered domain, plus if there is info other than a test page or other parked page, or if the domain is linked from another site. I know for sure etekarts is index on google, it will be interesting to see if in a few weeks veemapps.com will be indexed, as I have now linked it from this post. (According to Google, “Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn’t well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.”)
Submitting Your Site to Google
Although you could wait for the bots to index your site, it turns out there are a number of ways to not only expedite that process, but increase visibility in the search results.
- Submit your website for inclusion on Google’s search results. This one is fairly straight forward. If you have a new website that you think may not be picked up, you can go ahead and submit your site this way. I could easily submit veemapps.com to have that site indexed by the bots.
- Submit a sitemap to Google’s webmaster tools. This is a little more complex. A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your site, and it tells Google exactly what pages to go through and index, instead of the crawl bots trying to find them by following links from other pages. This will also expedite the process of indexing new pages, as the sitemap can be updated automatically if you submit an RSS feed.
- Create rich snippets. A rich snippet is a search result with additional information. When you search for a lasagna recipe, you are presented not only with the standard page title and a portion of a content, but with images, customer ratings, and additional site links. This usually makes people more likely to click on your search result.
Other Way to Submit Content
If you publish videos often, publishing them to YouTube with adequate descriptions will ensure they are present in searches. If you sell products, submitting your products to the product search will increase the number of potential buyers, and ensuring a way for google to read your product reviews will also increase your site visibility.
For your physical store or business location, putting it up on local searches will help people find your business when searching on maps. You can also include rich snippets for your location, with images, hours of operation, and categories you specialize in.
What About Other Search Engines?
I was going to investigate other search engines, but according to statcounter.com, Google has such a huge market share that it’s not worth my time and energy at this point to cater to the 9.5% of people who user other search engines.