For search engines, there 2 important terms that we all should know about: crawling and indexing. If you read my post on Understanding How Search Engines Work (Part 1), you would know the “crawling” part. That should be your immediate concern! You should be able to let the website crawlers scan your website without any obstacles. As I explained previously, you need to make it easier for the crawlers.
Here are a few tips for you to ensure efficient crawling process:
- In your Robots.txt file, you should be specific on what pages you want (or would not want) crawlers to scan. For instance, the pages , which are for web admins only, are strictly forbidden for outsiders. You wouldn’t want it to be exposed to any third party.
- If you want your website to be found, seek the help of online tools. For Google users, there’s the Google Webmasters. For Bing, they also have their Bing Webmaster Tools. You need to submit details about your website to expedite the process.
- Lastly, submit a sitemap. I already mentioned this on part 1 of the discussion. The sitemap is a list of important web pages. You can specify the priority of each page so the website crawlers will know what pages to prioritize and what pages to set aside.
Next to crawling is a term called indexing. It is not enough for crawlers to discover your content. The information they have gathered from the crawling process should be arranged and organized according to its purpose. Of course, if someone searched for “ice cream,” pages about “donuts” should not appear. Thus, we now have what we call indexing.
The truth is that search engines do not save all the information found by the crawlers. Instead, information such as page title, meta description, content type, keywords used, date of creation, and are on their index. The search engines algorithms take note of these things when someone starts searching online. For you to have an idea, just imagine the “index” part of a book.
Why is indexing important?
- For the simple reason that your website will not appear on the search results if your website is NOT in the search engine’s index list.
- Consequently, if you have more web pages in the index, the more chances of your website to appear in the SERPs.
- Take note when someone searches something online, the position of the search results vary.
- For your website to be part of the top results, that’s where the SEO strategies come in handy. You could apply a combination of on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
How to know if your pages are in Google’s index?
To make sure that your web pages are in the index list, here are to 2 ways:
- Go to Google and type in “site:” followed by the URL of your website. For example, site:phoenixsearchengineoptimization.com. Then, you will see how many pages are part of Google’s index list.
- Another method is to go to Google Search Console and add your URL if you have not. Next, go to the coverage report and look into the list of VALID AND INDEXED web pages.