Anyone who owns a new or young website knows how difficult it can be to get people to visit it (referred to as website "traffic"). The biggest source of traffic for most websites are search engines, and Google commonly comprises approximately 80% of this. It is therefore of crucial importance that Google knows about and investigates your website as quickly as possible so that it can be listed in search results. The good news is that, assuming that your website is built according to recommended practices, there are quick and easy ways to ensure that Google indexes it quickly:
While it's true that these days Google is likely to eventually discover your website itself, it is best to Submit Your Website to ensure that Google actually knows about it. Sometimes, if your website is particularly light on content or quality, indexing might not happen until other websites link to your site. You can easily create accounts with the major social networks (such as Twitter, Facebook and others) and update your profiles to link to your website. Online directories where your business might be listed can also be a good opportunity to create links to your website.
To return the most relevant results for any given search, Google needs to have in-depth knowledge of what each of your website's pages are about. Google finds all the different pages of your website through a process called "crawling", whereby an automated script (called the "Google Bot") will browse your website and follow all the links to different pages through it. You can ensure that Google knows about all of the pages of your website by making sure they are linked to from other pages, and by making sure your website features an XML sitemap. An XML Sitemap is a file that details all of the pages of your website, written in the XML programming language, and differs from a regular sitemap page in that it is not usually visible to your website's visitors.
Google Search Console is a tool that allows you to see what Google thinks about your website. If nobody else associated with your website, such as your website designer, has already set this up for you, it's easy to get started by creating an account and adding your website. Once you have verified that you own your website using one of the methods provided, you can then provide Google with the URL of your XML sitemap and check that it is free of errors, how many pages have been indexed and more.
There are occasionally reasons you might want to prevent Google from including certain pages or whole directories of your website in it's search results, and this can be achieved using a small text file that resides in the root directory of a website called a "robots.txt" file. Since minor mistakes in this file can lead to unintentionally excluding parts of your website from Google's index, it's important to use Google Search Console to also check that this is free of errors.
Following these steps will make sure that your new website is indexed as quickly as possible - and often within just 24 hours. If you have followed these best practices and still cannot find your website in Google's search results after a week or so, it's probably time to seek professional advice and have your website examined more closely.