You’ve built yourself a new page on your website, or you’ve got a brand new website and you’re cranking out content like mad and all you need is for Google to index it. While Google, Bing and the other search engines do a mighty fine job of finding stuff, there can be some benefits to knowing how to submit a URL to Google.
“Wait a minute, why do I have to submit a URL to Google? Doesn’t Google automatically index everything?”
For seasoned SEOs it’s easy to laugh at a question like this, but for a lot of people out there it’s just assumed that Google is an omnipotent force that knows every conceivable nook and cranny of the interwebs. That, however, is not the case. You see, the internet is a little bit like outer space. In your head, you have an idea of how big it might be, but in truth, our feeble minds don’t have the ability to put it in context from our microscopic little corner of the universe. Google, for all of their seeming virtual omnipotence, also have finite resources.
Why is it important to have a page indexed?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were invisible? Well, if your page isn’t indexed by Google then it won’t be available in Google’s search results. So, if someone is seeking out the information on that page via search…no one will ever know it’s there…via search at least. As you might guess, if you’re missing that source of traffic, you’re really shooting yourself in the foot.
How do you know if your page is indexed by Google?
Great question! The simplest way to check a single URL is to use Google itself. If you’ve got a fairly unique URL like this one from our site – https://netvantagemarketing.com/services/white-label-seo-for-agencies all you need to do is use the allinurl: search operator and add the URL minus the https:// which looks like this:
Beneath the ad you see our URL, so you know it’s indexed. Now, you may have a bigger site that has a lot of similar URLs which makes the above method less attractive. In that case, you can grab a block of unique text and copy and paste it into Google’s search box and surround it with quotation marks. Putting quotation marks around a search tells Google to only return results with that exact text string. So, if Google has your page indexed, that should do the trick. As an example, here’s a page about the high IQ Mensa society: https://iqtestprep.com/mensa-test/. To see if it’s indexed, we’ll grab the first two lines of text, surround them with quotation marks and see what Google has to say:
Yep, it’s there. The one problem you can run into with this method is if your page doesn’t have much unique content. If you’re checking a product page that has the same description as 1,000 other sites that have the same content. In that case, you can add another modifier to limit the results to your own site. To do so, utilize the same search surrounded by quotation marks and then add site:yourdomain.com
This search modifier will tell Google to only search for that text string on your website.
Alternatively, if you want to get all geeked out and use scripted solutions, I introduce you to Search Engine Land’s guide on the topic. If you’re not a data nerd with some scripting skills, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that you shouldn’t bother reading this: https://searchengineland.com/check-urls-indexed-without-upsetting-google-follow-267472
Another reliable way to look for indexed pages at a larger scale is to head into Google Analytics and check out your Acquisition > All traffic > Source/Medium report and then select the “google / organic” result. From here, all you need to do is set your secondary dimension to landing page and export the report. Your landing pages will show you which pages have received organic traffic from Google. It’s safe to say if you’re getting search traffic to that page that it’s indexed. Of course, your page could be indexed and not receive any search traffic, but you’ll have to use the manual method mentioned above or a fancier scripted method to tackle that one. Expand the report to its maximum size and export it to an Excel file and sort and filter to your heart’s content!
What are my options for submitting a URL to Google?
Google Search Console (a.k.a. Webmaster Tools)
If you have Google Search Console setup, I would recommend this method. Just head over to https://www.google.com/webmasters/ and navigate to your website and on the left hand side you will see a navigation item named “Crawl” which you can expand and then select “Fetch as Google”. Give Google the address of your URL, select fetch and then select “Request Indexing”. From there Google will ask you if you want to only crawl that URL or all of its direct links. If you want Google to index only this page, select the former. If you want Google to index other pages you’re linking to, select the latter.
Pros: Using this method is the “official” way to ask Google to crawl a page, as you have to verify your ownership of the site to be able to use Search Console. So, if Google were ever going to listen to a request, this is probably your best bet.
Cons: If for some reason you can’t get Search Console verified, this won’t be an option. Alternatively, if you want to get a page indexed that’s not on your site this isn’t a viable option. Why would you want to get a page on another site indexed? Well, let’s say you know the page is linking to your site, but if it’s not indexed by Google you won’t receive the SEO value for that link…which would suck. In which case you can always try…
Using Google Search
It turns out Google leaves this handy tool out there on the web for people who want to get something indexed. As you can see below, if you just do a search for “submit URL to google” you’ll get the following featured result that allows you to submit right from Google’s results. How very democratic of you, Google!
Pros: This is REALLY easy to use, even if you’re not tech savvy enough to set up Search Console. If you can’t set up Search Console, or you want a URL that’s not on your site indexed, this is definitely worth a try.
Cons: I’m always a little wary of tools like this, even from Google. There has to be some kind of quality check here, and given the basic hoops that you need to jump through to set up Google Search Console, this, by its very nature can’t be as good of a tool for getting Google’s attention.
Some alternative methods for getting a URL indexed
If Search Console and the Submit URL tool aren’t getting it done, here are a few other ways that you can try to force Google’s hand.
- Get your link plastered around social media. Google definitely spends time in social media platforms, so share your URL on platforms like Twitter, and ask friends to share it as well. If a URL gets some visibility on social media it can only help Google’s chances to find it.
- Links! I’m always talking about links on this blog, so why not finish this post talking about links. If you own multiple websites or blogs, add a link to the page you want indexed from a location that gets crawled regularly and submit that page in Search Console. Alternately, if the page has valuable information on a topic, pitch it to other websites that might want to link to your information, or add the link in a comment on a prominent blog that’s discussing the topic (DON’T SPAM – only add the link if it makes sense in context of the conversation).
Have other ideas on methods for getting indexed? Please share in the comments below!