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Why do you need to submit your website to Google? Well, you have spent a great deal of time developing an amazing site. All of your valuable content has been placed strategically in all of the right places of your site, your design is immaculate, and you have gathered a ton of feedback. You have determined that now is the time to share it with the world! Submitting your website to Google will speed up the amount of time it takes to get in front of your target audience.

The common mistake that most businesses make is they assume that as soon as they publish their new site for the world to see, all of their content will immediately start showing up in Google. However, it’s never just that simple. It happens to take a little more than just hitting the publish button. In order to get your site listed, you’ll need to move methodically through a checklist.

How Google Finds Your Content

Essentially, Google uses a huge set of computers to crawl billions of pages on the web. This crawler, called the Googlebot, begins with a list of web page URLs generated from previous crawls and then augments those pages with sitemap data provided within Google Search Console. The Googlebot looks for new sites, updates to existing pages, and any broken links during the crawling process.

This is why maintaining a sitemap is crucial to the success of your website. If new and updated pages are listed in your sitemap, Google will discover those pages and crawl their content. Then, Google will potentially list the page within search results based on its evaluation of 200+ criteria.

Once the crawling process has been completed, all of the results are fed into Google’s index. Any new sites or updated content will be listed accordingly. Google looks at information on your page such as title tags, meta description, alt tags, and more as those results are being processed. If you have dynamic content on a page, the Googlebot may not be able to read it and will crawl the default version — it is recommended that your default version is optimized for search.

As a result of Google’s crawling, you may never need to submit your website as it will be discovered automatically. The downside to this approach has always been that it’s reliant on Google’s timeframe to crawl and index your site content. This means that a crawl of your website may not happen as quickly as you would like.

If you want a quick way to check and see what has been crawled and indexed by Google for a particular website, all you have to do is begin your search with “Site:Sitename.com.” For example, here’s what is displayed in Google for BestSEOMasters.com:

Google search results for SEO marketing agency Best SEO Masters in Idaho Falls

If no content is indexed yet for a site, Google will let you know that your search did not match any results. If no content is found, your next step should be to create a sitemap that can be submitted to Google.

If you want more information about sitemaps and how to create a sitemap, take a look at this post.

How Long Does It Take to Index Content?

A lot of research has been done in this area. You may find some information varies from blog to blog but two of the most reliable sources are HubSpot and Moz.com. When publishing content without manually submitting an updated sitemap, it was noted that it took Google 1,375 minutes to crawl, while Yahoo took 1,773 minutes. To put those numbers into perspective, that’s roughly a full-day just to crawl your content.

graph showing the results of crawl time with no sitemap submitted to google

Source: Moz.com

On the other hand if you are launching a new website, or adding a number of new pages, it may be worth submitting an updated sitemap. According to the same study, it was found that after submitting an updated sitemap to the search engines, the average time it took for a bot to visit the page was 14 minutes, compared to 245 minutes for Yahoo. As you can see, your new page can start generating organic traffic and conversions on the same day.

graph showing the results of crawl time with a sitemap having been submitted to google

Source: Moz.com

How Do I Submit My Site to Google?

Now, we get down to the nitty-gritty. If you do happen to have a brand new site, you should first verify you own the site within Google Search Console and then submit your sitemap here.

If you have an existing site and are launching a number of new pages, then instead you should submit an updated sitemap in the same place as a brand new site (Google Search Console) to ensure it gets listed as quickly as possible.

To submit an updated sitemap, you need to log in to Google Search Console > Crawl tab > Sitemaps. Once you’re there, you can submit your updated sitemap for Google so it can begin crawling it as soon as possible. The steps are very similar for submitting to Bing Webmaster Tools as well — which does the same thing as Google Search Console, only for Bing and Yahoo!.

You may be trying to figure out whether you need to submit an updated sitemap every time you publish a page. While you certainly could do that, it’s best to manually go through the submission process if you’re working with critically important content that needs to be indexed quickly. However, if you’re just making minor updates or corrections to pages, then it is probably ok to simply wait until Google crawls that page and updates its index.

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