How do I get my web pages to appear on the search engine results pages?
It is vitally important to get your website listed on the major search engines such as Google because it is by far the best way of attracting free, targeted traffic to your site. This website gets most of its traffic from the search engines who send visitors to our web pages.
In this post, we’ll be looking at how to submit your site to each of the major search engines and learn what they look for on your web pages to help you rank higher. Knowing this will enable you to improve your content and overall website by implementing some search engine optimization (SEO) methods.
How Do Search Engines Rank Your Site?
Now, before we look at how you go about submitting your website to the major search engines, it’s important that you learn the fundamentals of what they look for when ranking your website/blog. The higher you rank on Google, Bing & Yahoo, the more traffic you will receive. But being listed doesn’t necessarily mean you will attract traffic, you need to optimize your site for the search engines to ‘see’ you properly.
Every search engine works differently from one another. This is because each uses its own unique algorithms to rank web pages. Generally, these take into account your; Page Title, Meta Description, Keywords within your content, Number of Inbound Links, Bounce Rate, etc. Don’t worry, it’s actually a lot less complicated than it sounds.
As I say, each search engine is different. One may prioritise the number of people linking to your page, where as another may look more favourably towards Targeted Keyword usage. I wouldn’t worry too much about which aspect is more important, as long as you know the general features that the search engines look for, you can optimize your web pages to rank higher.
Read our post on ‘On-Page SEO Techniques‘ to learn more about what the search engines are looking for on your pages.
Do I Need To Submit My Website To Search Engines?
All search engines use programs called ‘Spiders’ to crawl the web. These search the internet for new content, which is then added to their databases/index. When people conduct searches on search engines, the results come from this database, so it is important for your site to be listed on this database.
Technically you don’t need to submit your site to any search engines, as eventually they will find your site by crawling the internet. However, this can take time, time in which you are loosing potential traffic by not being listed. By submitting your site yourself, you speed up the whole process by being automatically added to the search engines database.
Create An XML Sitemap
When search engines crawl individual websites, they look for the site’s ‘Sitemap‘. This is a very basic page that lists all of the URL links of a website. Look at our sitemap for an example.
Search engines use this to see when new content has been added to a website, so it can keep it’s database up to date. So when you publish a new post on your blog, or new page on your website, it appears on your sitemap for the search engines to see.
Now, you could create your own sitemap manually, but that is a lot of hassle. Instead I’d recommend installing the ‘Google XML Sitemaps‘ WordPress plugin.
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap of all of your website. It supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs and it automatically notifies all the major search engines (i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo) every time you create a new post (you need to sign up first though).
Submit Your Site To Google & Get Ranked
Google is the king of the search engines, it’s the most used site on the planet with billions of searches everyday! This is why if you only end up submitting your site to one search engine, make sure that it is Google.
It’s a pretty straight forward process to submit your site to Google. Sign up with ‘Google Webmaster Tools‘ and you will be able to click on ‘Add Site’. This lets you enter the URL of your website (this just needs to be your homepage, not every page of your site!) which you then submit. To finish the process, you need to ‘Verify Ownership‘ so that Google knows that you and not someone else is trying to sign up to their Webmaster Tools.
To verify your site you need to ‘upload a HTML file to your server‘. This is a unique file from Google that contains a unique ID code that corresponds to your site. Once uploaded, you can verify your site and Google will see that you have added the HTML file.
So now that you have submitted your site to Google, there is one more thing to do and that’s to add your sitemap. On your ‘Webmaster Tools‘ dashboard you should now see your website. If you click onto it, you will be taken to a page showing statistics about your site (this will become more useful when your site starts ranking). Go to; Site Configuration>Sitemaps>Submit a Sitemap and point Google in the direction of your sitemap.
That’s it! Now, when you add new content to your site, your site map will automatically be updated via the ‘Google XML Sitemaps‘ plugin, which will also automatically inform Google that you have new content.
Submit Your Site To Bing/Yahoo & Get Ranked
Bing and Yahoo are search partners, which means that once you set up a Bing ‘Webmaster Tools‘ account and submit your sitemap, you are listed in both Bing and Yahoo’s search database.
This is exactly the same process as before, so it’s pretty straight forward. To begin you will need to sign up to ‘Bing Webmaster’ which is exactly the same Google’s ‘Webmaster Tools.
Once signed up (you can use your existing hotmail login info) you can click on ‘Add Site‘. Add your URL and you will again need to verify that you are the owner of the site. Download the unique HTML file from Bing and upload it to your server, just as you did before, and verify your site.
Lastly, you need to add your sitemap. Click on your website on the Bing dashboard then go to; Crawl>Sitemaps (XML, Atom, RSS)>Add Feed and point Bing in the direction of your sitemap.
Why Only Submit To Google, Yahoo & Bing?
Whilst you can submit your site to other search engines such as; Ask, AOL, MSN Search, etc. the vast majority of traffic comes from the big three; Google, Bing and Yahoo!
Once you start listing in these big three, you will end up being listed on the other search engines anyway.
Next Step – SEO
So, that’s it! You should now be listed on all three of the major search engines. But as I said earlier, that won’t guarantee traffic. You need to optimise your web pages with On-Page SEO techniques to make them rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher you can rank, the more traffic you can generate.
Did you find this list helpful? If so, please spread the word about it on Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc! Feel free to leave your comments & questions below and I’ll get back to you asap.