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What Does Site Indexing Mean?

Marketers need to understand indexation if they want to understand organic search. Getting indexed is the first major milestone in SEO after a new page gets published. But what does site indexing mean, and how do you make sure your website gets indexed?

What Is Site Indexing?

A better way to think about this question is to ask yourself how Google can show any results at all. Through a process called indexation, Google will catalog as many web pages as possible into one master list, or an “index”. Without showing up in Google’s index, a page can’t be shown in Google’s results.

If you want to understand the details of how indexation works, then you need to learn about web crawlers. These are programs that read the information within the HTML of each webpage to understand what a page is about. Google’s web crawler is called Googlebot. Based on the information found in the HTML of a webpage, Google is given context as to when it’s appropriate to display that page as a result of a search query. Technical SEO is the field of marketing that focuses on making your site infrastructure ideal for web crawlers to index.

Search engines make the Web accessible by finding web pages and indexing them. Remember that indexing is the process of adding a website to Google’s master list of websites and URLs that exist on the Internet. You have to get a page indexed before it can show up in search results, and there are several strategies to ensuring your page gets indexed.

How To Make Sure Your Site Gets Indexed

There are criteria that Google looks at to determine whether or not your site gets indexed. These criteria are important objectives of technical SEO. As long as your site fits within these parameters, your site should be indexed:

  • Have a strong linking plan in place so that pages that are not on your site’s domain link back to your site.
  • Build web pages with a clear structure that’s easy to navigate.
  • Create fresh content that answers questions and fits well with popular searches.
  • Make sure you don’t have the “noindex” tag on your site as that will prevent Google from listing your website.

The nice thing about indexing is that you often don’t even have to think about it. Google will automatically index any site that fits within the criteria.

However, indexing is not instantaneous. Sometimes, marketers will be surprised to find that their site is still not appearing in searches even after some time has passed. You may have wondered, how long does it take Google to index a new website? The answer is that it ranges anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, so don’t panic. Different websites will take different amounts of time to be indexed.

Why Indexing Is Important

Without indexing, our sites wouldn’t appear in Google’s search results, and all the beautiful content we’ve built would go wasted. Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do, in addition to ensuring that your site fits into the criteria above, to make sure your site gets indexed properly.

If you want to make sure a new web page gets indexed as quickly as possible, then one additional measure you can take is requesting indexation using the URL Inspection tool on Google Search Console. This also won’t be instantaneous, but it signals to Google that a certain webpage is ready for indexation and it may speed up the process.

If you are having trouble with getting pages indexed, then there may be a more serious technical SEO problem with your site. One action step is to do a site SEO audit. Demandwell features an SEO Health Audit that comprehensively scans your site and automatically makes recommendations for areas of improvement so that you can always ensure that your site is at its best.

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