In your last lesson, I gave you all the necessary information to ensure that your website design (on-site optimization) was in-line with what the search engines want to see. Now that that’s done, it’s lift-off time! In this lesson I will be showing you how to get your website indexed in the essential search engines as quickly as possible.

Please Remember

Do not proceed to this step until your on-site optimization is complete and all major errors in SEOMoz are corrected – such errors will negatively impact your sites listing.

NB – Even if your website is already listed on Google or other search engines, please complete this lesson. Apart from ensuring that all your important pages get indexed, this lesson also lays down important fundamentals for future lessons.

First, we will start with the basic groundwork, and then I’ll show you some tips and tricks to get the wheels turning faster. Let’s start with Google. To submit your site to Google is quick and easy:

  1. Go to http://www.google.com/addurl
  2. Enter your URL (website address), complete the spam protection, and click the “Add URL” button. PS – you don’t need to write anything in the “Comments” box.
  3. Google will then review your site on its next crawl.
Google's Add URL Page

Above: Google's Add URL Page

For more information on Google’s webmaster requirements, be sure to read their Webmaster Guidelines.

The second search engine that you need to submit your website to is Yahoo. Yahoo is not as popular as Google, but is still worth submitting your website to. Visit http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit and select the “Submit a website or webpage” option. Submission in Yahoo is not guaranteed, but certainly worth the effort. Please note that you will need to register for a Yahoo account (this is free) in order to complete the submission. Follow the steps and your site will be added to the Yahoo queue.

Yahoo also offers paid submissions, but I wouldn’t suggest spending the money unless there is a specific reason you wish to target the Yahoo audience (which is slightly different to the Google audience).

The third search engine that you need to submit your site to is Bing (previously MSN). Bing, once again, is not as popular as Google, but is nonetheless, still worth submitting to. To submit to Bing, visit http://www.bing.com/webmaster/SubmitSitePage.aspx and your site’s details.

Bing's Website Submission Page

Above: Bing's Website Submission Page

The fourth place you want to submit your website to is dmoz. This is more of a directory than a search engine (although it has a search function), but is well worth being listed on. Because it is human edited (as opposed to search engine crawlers), it holds good weight in the eyes of other search engines.

First off, visit http://www.dmoz.org. Then click your way through the relevant category, sub-category and so on until you get to a subsection that would best describe your website. It is critically important that you find the best suited sub-section for your listing – failing this, your site will definitely not be accepted.

You can then click the “Suggest URL” link and submit your link for consideration. Once again, there are no guarantees here, but getting listed will be well worth the effort. Dmoz does take a while to list pages (up to 6 months in my experience), so be patient.

Congratulations, Step 1 is Complete!

There are, of course, many other search engines, but most of them either siphon off of the bigger engines or are not worth the time spent submitting to them. Below is a market share report of the popular search engines – notice how Google holds an average of 82% of the market share…

Search Engine Market Share

Above: Search Engine Market Share April 2011

The above-mentioned methods will ensure that your website has the best chance of being indexed in the major search engines, but will generally take some time (usually between 4 -8 weeks). In the interim, there are some simple tactics that you can use to attempt to get your website indexed sooner. Note that “attempt” is the keyword here, as none of these are guaranteed, but are most likely to work.

Digg It – Visit http://www.digg.com and register (click on the “Join Digg” link) as a user (it’s quick and easy). You can also use your Facebook login details to log in to Digg. Once logged in, click the “Submit New” link and submit your website. This will usually get your site indexed in Google within a day or two. Depending on what your site has to offer, you may also find yourself getting a bit of traffic from Digg.

Forums – Forums are online discussion boards, where registered users discuss various topics, news and so forth. Visit a popular forum (you can assess the popularity by checking how often members are posting on the forum) that is related to your line of business (you can find a relevant forum using Google) and register as a member (this is free).

Then, in the user control panel, edit your signature to include a link to your website. Once this is done, have a look through the forums and make some “worthy” posts. By worthy, I mean write something useful – don’t just make a comment like “Great Idea!” in order to get a link to your site – this is called spamming.

PS – In the following lesson, you will learn just how powerful forums can be. In the interim, get into the habit of participating in these “communities” – they will bring you traffic down the line… See forums as an online community of like-minded folks – get involved!

Google Webmasters – Google Webmasters is a free resource provided by Google for webmasters (website owners) such as yourself. Apart from what we’re using it for here, Webmasters can also provide you with useful information about how Google views your website over time. Play around with this – it’s very powerful.

Visit http://webmasters.google.com/ and register for an account (once again, free!). You will then need to add your site (the process is fairly simple with step by step instructions) and verify ownership. Once this is done, you will need to submit what is called a sitemap to Google Webmasters. To do this, visit http://www.xml-sitemaps.com and create a sitemap.

You then need to upload the sitemap to your server via FTP (or ask your webmaster or designer to do so). Once this is done, go back into Google Webmasters and submit the sitemap to Webmasters (once again, follow instructions to do this).

The sitemap tells Google where to find all of your website’s pages (not just the home page) and make the process simpler (and therefore faster!). Google Webmasters will also give you valuable information about your website’s rankings and performance further down the line.

Google Webmaster Central

Above: The Google Webmaster Central Homepage

PS  – Check out the Google Webmaster Blog for interesting blog posts directly from Google. They will usually keep you up to date with SEO advice directly from Google, ensuring that you keep your within the recommended SEO best practices.

Google Local – This is only applicable for websites which represent a local business. In other words, a business that provides products or services in a specific area or city. Google Local is a great tool for local businesses as it can guarantee you a first page position with minimal effort on certain keywords. If you’re involved in local business, be sure to try this one out!

Google Local Results

Above: A localized result for the term "Hotel New York"

Above I typed “Hotel New York” into Google and these local business results came up on the first page. These results are completely separate from organic results (SEO driven results) and are a great extra if your business is “local in nature”.

To register visit http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter and register your local business (just follow the easy instructions). You will need to verify your telephone number, so keep your phone near. Usually you’ll pop up within a week or two of registering – Easy!

Once you have completed all the above-mentioned ground-work, all you can do is sit back, relax and wait to be indexed. There are many companies on the internet who claim that they can get your site indexed in a matter of hours. Don’t waste your money on these sorts of schemes – even if they do work, they’re simply not worth paying for.

You may also come across companies who promise to submit your site to thousands of search engines at once. Realistically, there is simply no value to submitting your site to these search engines as they will all ultimately index your website with time (due to the fact that they feed off the results of the big search engines). Don’t fall for the abundance of “quick-fix” solutions you are bound to find online.

That’s all for this lesson. Your “homework” for this week:

  1. Submit your website on Google, Yahoo, Bing and Dmoz.
  2. Digg your website address (also Digg any pages you wish to have indexed).
  3. Register on some relevant forums and create your signature with your website link in it. Then make some (constructive) posts.
  4. Register on Google Webmasters, then create and upload your XML sitemap.
  5. Register on Google Local if your business or website is local in nature.

Follow these steps and I can guarantee that your website will be indexed in the shortest time possible. Remember that the position at which your website gets initially indexed is not the be all and end all of your ranking ability, but in fact the starting point. From there, you will most likely rise.

Usually you will be indexed a good few pages back in the search engines to begin with (this is called the supplementary index). In the next lesson, I will show you how to begin improving your rank using a process called off-site optimization.

PS – If the above has got you feeling confused, and you’re considering outsourcing SEO, have a look at these guys – their service is great and I’d recommend them.

Feel free to post any questions below!

To start the next lesson, click here…