Before you will go searching for your website/website pages to know if they’re indexed or not it must be because
1) You have recently built a website for yourself or your business or you contracted this out to a professional web designer/web design agency and in their final report to you, they must have stated that your site is now optimized and submitted to search engine.
2) Secondly, you just thought that once your site is built, it’s automatically indexed by search engines so it’s nice to go check it out.
Whichever be the case, finding out if your website or a particular webpage on your site has been indexed is as simple as going to any of the search engines, eg google, and entering the URL below
site:http://yourdomainname.com/ ( i.e site:https://doerstechnologies.com.ng/ ) if checking for an entire website
site:http://yourdomainname.com/ ( i.e site:http://doerstechnologies.com.ng/ website-design-and-development ) if checking for a single page/post of your site.
Let’s repeat the above in other search engines like bing as well
Now repeat the same search with another website if you get no result, it probably means that the website hasn’t been indexed.
Now as we can see above, the example website used is properly indexed but that’s just one way of finding out, another way is to go to my Google search console ( formerly Google webmaster tools or Bing Webmaster Tools and check if my site is indexed.
How to find out if your Website is Indexed using Google and Bing Webmaster Tools
Before going ahead with the steps, I want to assume, that you have previously submitted your website sitemaps to either of the search engines, if so then follow the steps below to check if your submitted site has been indexed.
- Sign in to your Gmail account be it personal or the one linked to your website.
- Open another tab on your browser and search for and open the Google search console
- From the listed websites click on the one you want to check its indexed status as shown below
- Next, click on the crawl on the left side of your search console window and then ‘sitemaps’ if your site is not yet indexed you will see something like the image below and it will show pending.
On the other hand, if indexed it will show like the image below
Now how do you get your website indexed by search engines like Google and Bing?
Of course, the first thing you will hear from some quarters when this comes up is to do manual submission, by that we mean submitting your website to the respective search engines.
Although this is right but is not actually necessary to get your site indexed by search engines like Google as their crawlers, curb the internet all the time looking for new contents/links/webpages to index and they pick up signals from different sources while doing so.
But then your website stands a better chance of being ranked for its targeted keyword if its first found and indexed by search engines when you
1) Create and optimize your website appropriately, create enough buzz around it and wait quietly for search engine robots to pick up the signal and index your site.
The disadvantage with this option though, is that you have to start submitting your webpages URLs one after the other regardless of the number, be it 5 or 100. A better option though is option ( 3 ) below
3) Create and submit your website XML sitemaps directly to search engines: This is a better option as all you have to do is to create/generate your website XML sitemap which covers all your site pages and in the way the search engine understands it best and then submit same to Google (Through Google search console formerly Google Webmaster Tools) and Bing webmaster tools.
Since we have now seen the options of getting your website indexed, let’s take the following few steps to submit our website sitemaps to search engines.
How To Submit your Website Sitemap to Google Search Console
The steps we are about to follow below assume you know what your website XML sitemap is all about/how to create or generate one. If not please go ahead and read how to create/generate an XML sitemap for your website here.
The first step to take before going ahead to submit your various XML Sitemap files to either Google or Bing is to verify your website. If you haven’t done so, then follow the steps below
We will start off with Google search console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools ) and conclude with Bing.
- Sign in to your Gmail account.
- Open another tab on your browser and search for Google search console and click on it.
- Once in there, click on “ADD A PROPERTY’ and enter your website URL as shown in the image example below and click ‘ADD’ in this example, we are using one of our client’s website ‘wismekplanet.com’
- Next, you will be asked to verify your website using a recommended method of you download a flock HTML document and uploading the same to the root folder of your website or through other alternate options.
5.) So I will go with the first option, by downloading the HTML file, saving it somewhere I can find it, and then uploading it to my website root folder. Using either use FTP (recommended) or by signing directly into your website Cpanel.
6) If you choose the Cpanel route, once there look out for and click on ‘File Manager and then locate the root folder of the particular website you’re looking for
7.) Next click on upload to upload the HTML file you downloaded earlier. Once this is done, go back to Google search console and click on the ‘Confirm Success’ HTML link to confirm that this is done
Then check the CAPTCHA box and click on verify, and you will get a message signifying so.
Now that you have verified your site, the next thing is to generate your website sitemap and submitting to a search engine. Go here for the full details on how to generate your XML Sitemap.
Let’s continue with the steps on how to submit your Website XML Sitemap
1) Sign in to your Gmail account: either personal or the one linked to your business website
2) Open another tab in your browser: type in Google search console and then click on the link. In the example below, I will submit XML Sitemap for a newly created website wismekplanet.com
3) Once inside the Google search console you will see the list of your verified/un-verified websites. Click on the one you want to submit its XML sitemap ( eg wismekplanet.com ) and then click on the crawl on the left-hand side of the window and then on sitemaps
4) Next click on ‘ADD/TEST SITEMAP’: for you to now add your website sitemaps. Depending on what you use in creating/generating your sitemaps, their numbers may vary.
Eg if you built your website with CMS like WordPress, it’s most likely that you will use either of Yoast SEO XML Sitemap or Google XML Sitemap plugin in generating your site xml sitemap the former will generate the number of files for your site XML sitemap, covering posts, pages, categories among others while the later will just create one XML file for your site but still captures all there’s to capture.
For those who coded their website from scratch using sublime text or any other Frontend coding tools, it’s most likely you generated your website sitemap using one of the online XML Sitemaps generator tools or Screaming frog or you’re comfortable and created the sitemap by yourself all you need do is just to add your XML page as generated/created in the search console sitemap tab.
5) Once the above is done, you will see an option to test/refresh the page, do so, and then you will see your website XML sitemaps listed accordingly.
Once this is done you will notice it will show as pending, check back later and be sure the status changed from pending to indexed as shown in the previous images we used in the example above.
If the pending persists, then be sure to check out some possible errors which could be one of these
- Your website has a noindex tag: This tell’s the search engines that this website is not to be indexed
- Index blocked by robots.txt file: Have a set of rules and instructions that search engine robots need to observe
- Or index blocked by .htaccess file
Submitting to Bing Webmaster tools is not much different from the above.
Take the following steps to submit your website XML sitemap to Bing
1) Open your web browser and search for Bing webmaster tools
2) Login to your account or create one.
3) You will see an option to add your website URL, add and another window is open for you to add your website sitemap
4) Once this is done, Bing will ask you to verify the ownership of your site using varieties of options one of which is to download/upload ‘BingAuthXML file to your website server.
5) Return back after uploading the verification file to your website root folder, and click on the verification link
6) This will now take you to the dashboard window of your site where you can add more XML Sitemap files in case you used Yoast SEO to generate your sitemap.
After the above, do check back and be sure your site is indexed.
Submitting your website directly to search engines does not guarantee your website pages ranking in the respective search engines for their targeted keywords. Other factors like
- The Keyword you’re targeting and who have ranked for it already
- Your site OnPage/Off-Page Optimization
- The page authority
- The backlinks to your site pages and contents etc
All go a long way in determining how far you can go in ranking for your targeted keywords. But you have taken the first step, by making sure your website is found and indexed appropriately. You can read 20 Actionable OnPage SEO Techniques you can use today to rank higher, to gather information on other things you need to do to climb up there.
Rutherford Ejimonu is a Digital Marketer, Content analyst, and SEO Specialist with many years of experience in the industry.