The positioning in the search engines is fundamental in any digital marketing strategy. This is why it is essential to understand how to index a site and what tools to use to improve the position in the SERP and attract visitors.
In this article we want to underline the importance of a correct indexing of your website we b. We do this by analyzing all the individual key steps: from what indexing means to how it is done in practice, to how to check the indexing of a website on Google.
Indexing a site what it means and why it is different from ranking
Indexing a site means providing the search engine with the correct indications so that it can catalog its contents in its database and return them, depending on the relevance, to users through the SERP ( Search Engine Page Results ), or the results page of a search engine. Research. If a site is not indexed its content is invisible and will not be able to appear in any position on the SERP.
Indexing does not mean optimizing , but it is still the preliminary step for any possible SEO ( Search Engine Optimitazion ) strategy . If we imagine the competition for the best ranking as a foot race, we can say that indexing is the registration to the race, while the first page of the SERP means victory.
Technical glossary for indexing a website
How does the search engine catalog all the contents present on every single page of all online sites in its index? It does this through repeated web scanning , carried out with specially programmed bots. Here are the terms you need to know to understand this technical process and apply useful strategies for SMEs :
Crawling : is the crawling process that takes place through the chain of hyperlinks on the web and that allows the search engine to discover new content.
Web spider : is the software that allows you to carry out the crawling processon a global scale.
Googlebot : is the Google web spider in charge of ‘capturing’ the new content to be indexed.
How to verify that the site is indexed on Google?
The simplest procedure to check if your site has been indexed by Google is to ask Big G itself , using an advanced search operator. Type the string site: yoursite.com and check which results the SERP returns. If the results page is blank, then it means that the search engine has not indexed any content and you will need to act accordingly.
Even easier is the control on the Google Search Console , also known as Webmaster Tools, which provides the tools for monitoring and managing a website. From Google Search Console → Index → Coverage you will be able to obtain information on the indexing status of the site and identify the number of valid pages, with warnings and without warnings, that Google has in its index.
Indexing a site: how to do it and what tools to use
If – after carrying out the routine checks – you realize that your site is not indexed at all, or it seems to you that the results are not what you expected, you can remedy with the following actions:
Connect the site to Google Search Console : we have already talked about it as an essential tool for monitoring site performance and to understand how Google analyzes and catalogs it. Each page and each folder can be brought to the attention of the search engine in this way: access the Search Console and in the ” URL control ” section of the menu paste the URL you would like to be indexed. Wait for Google verification and click on the ” request indexing ” button.
Create a Sitemap of your site : it is a document that contains an exhaustive and updated list of the pages of the site. To check if this file exists and what it looks like, just type in your browser https://yoursite.it/sitemap.xml . To create it, you will need to decide which pages of the site you want Google to crawl and which sitemap format to use. You can create the map manually or with an automatic procedure and finally you will make it available to Google, adding it to the robots.txt file or sending it directly to Search Console.
Check the robots.txt file : if after configuring the Search Console and creating the Sitemap, the site continues to have problems with indexing, it could be due to errors in the robots.txt file, the one that contains information for the bots that crawl the site. The robots.txt file is usually located in the root directory and contains a few simple command lines and the indication of the URL of the sitemap.