How to Submit Your Site to the Search Engines
Search engine submission is the last step in a round of SEO activity. Once you’ve made it through optimizing your site for the search engines, you need to tell them that you are ready for them to come on over and check it all out. First, though, you need to make sure that it is fully crawlable! Why? Simple, if it can’t be crawled and indexed, it will never rank well. Here are five quick things to check for that will most likely cause you issues right from the start:
- Do you have your robots.txt file set to block the search engines? Or, if you have a WordPress site, are the Privacy settings set to “I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors”? If so, you need to change these to allow search engines to crawl your site. If you have questions about using a robots.txt file, please visit robotstxt.org.
- Is essential content and navigation in AJAX? If so, Google offers guidelines to help make AJAX-based content crawlable, or you might consider switching it to a more search engine-friendly technology.
- Is essential content and navigation in Flash? If so, consider switching it to a more search engine-friendly technology.
- Are your URLs long and dynamic, or do they contain session IDs? If so, try to keep your parameters short and move those session IDs where they belong.
Now that you’ve got some of the major issues out of the way, it’s time to run a crawlability check on your site. Some great tools are available that will give you a quick overview and suggest how to fix issues. For starters, you can use Google Webmaster Central to point out any noticeable issues, but tools that analyze the crawlability are much more helpful. Check out the offerings from Moz, Raven SEO Tools, ScreamingFrog, and Semrush that will scan your site and will point out anything that may be wrong with it. Once you have resolved all of the crawlability issues, it’s time to give the search engines the go-ahead.
If you’re doing in-house SEO, you will need to set up an account with each major search engine’s Webmaster Tools if you don’t already have one.
- Google – https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
- Bing – https://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster/
Signing up is easy, and I highly recommend using the same email address and user name for all three, so they are easy to manage. Once you get signed up, you will need to set up and verify your site with each and then wait for your turn to be crawled. Be patient! It is not going to happen on the same day.
Whenever you make a large round of SEO, design, content, or architecture changes, you will want to request each search engine to recrawl your site. This is particularly important if the site is relatively new and isn’t being crawled automatically on a reasonably regular basis.