What is the Google Search Index?
When a new site and its pages are created, it’s information must be included in the Google database so that when users search on Google, those pages can be discovered and displayed in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This Google database of sites and information on their pages is referred to as the Google Search Index.
How is the Google index updated?
The Google Search Engine has crawlers (also referred to as the Googlebot) that crawls the web looking for any updates to the overall sites located in the cyberspace. These updates include new sites and their pages added, sites and their pages deleted, and updates to existing sites. The Googlebot collects this information and updates the Google Search Index with this information.
Each search query results in Google finding potentially millions of relevant pages and results. These pages are ranked and displayed in the organic search results to the end user using sophisticated search algorithms. However, before search engines and algorithms can do their magic, the Google web crawlers have to find and organize those web pages in Google’s search index. With the ever increasing amounts of information on the web, the Google Search Index is growing exponentially. Just imagine that besides all the web content that is available, the Google index has started to include pages from millions of already published books. This has made the Google index to swell to trillions of pages and is still growing. Organizing this information and then sorting through it and to rank pages is no small feat. This is where Google crawlers and search algorithms do their job.
The Googlebot is able to find all this information using website links. It follows one link to another until it’s able to get to all the websites and their pages. To be able to crawl and read the information embedded in each of the website pages, the Googlebot must be able to read the information properly. To facilitate this, Google publishes best practices and guidelines to allow the Googlebot to easily index the web pages. Although there are some technicalities to these practices, for the most part if a website is structured well for the end users, the Googlebot has no problems in reading information related to the sites and to add that information to its index.
How can Google (and Googlebot) rapidly index and rank a website and its pages?
Although there are no is no specific science that will guarantee an update and search ranking in a certain amount of time, Webmasters can take a number of steps to try to come up on the search map quickly. Here are some of those ways.
Get a Google Search Console Account
Google Search Console is a service provided by Google that can help webmasters monitor the performance of their websites in the Google search engine. A similar service is also provide by Bing as well. Although signing up for Google Search Console is not a requirement to be included in Google’s organic search results but it’s highly recommended because it allows the webmaster to monitor the performance of the site related to inclusion in the Google’s search index. Webmasters can view performance related to the search terms that drive traffic to a website, any crawl errors that the Googlebot may be experiencing due to any technical issues, HTML improvements from Google, and so on. Here are some of the primary functions that are available to a webmaster to help manage their website’s inclusion and positioning within Google Search:
- Overall status of a website with Google Index. This includes information related to crawl errors, search analytics information, sitemap related information, etc.
- HTML improvements recommended by Google
- Status related to Accelerated Mobile Pages if the website is using the feature
- Links to a website (internal and external)
- Information related to structured data that let’s webmasters provide specific structured information to Google to ease in Google indexing
- Any resource (web pages, files, etc.) that are perhaps blocked to be included in the Google index.
- URL removal requests – This refers to URLs that may have been requested to be removed from the Google Index.
- Site crawl errors that may be impeding webpages to be includes in Google’s index
- Crawl Stats that includes information related to Pages crawled per day, webpages downloaded per day in kilobytes, and time spent downloading a page (in milliseconds).
- Security issues – This includes information if a website is hacked and if someone has installed Malware on the site. This prevents the website’s actual pages to show up in the index or the pages are directed to other sites (stealing traffic).
The images below show some of the information related to the functions above.
Internal links not only allows Googlebot to get to your internal pages quickly but it’s also able to assess the importance of these pages relative to others. Obviously, if a web page is more referenced (and hence internally linked) that means it’s highly valued by the website owner.
Ensure a good website structure
Similar to the earlier point, the existence of an overall structured website makes the job of the Googlebot much easier and it’s able to determine not only the structure of the site but also it can get to those pages quickly in a short span of time. The easier you can make the site accessible to users (and Googlebot), the sooner it can index those pages and make them available for organic search.
Include buttons for social shares
Another way is to include social sharing buttons on your website. This allows your readers to share content on social media sites that they like on your website on other pages thus making them more visible to Googlebot.
Get external links
As mentioned earlier, Googlebot is able to find pages through various links published either internally or on external websites. Imagine, if an external popular website that has Googlebot visiting it frequently, finds the link to a new website, then Googlebot will add it to its index rather quickly. Besides the inclusion of a link on an existing popular website also in an indication of the quality of the link and Google search uses this to rank it higher for the relevant keywords.
As part of their duties, webmasters should constantly be promoting a website to various directories and other places on the web. Again, the more a website and its pages are linked from external sources, the faster a website and its pages will make it to the Google Index.
Publishing of the RSS feed
Publishing an RSS feed for a blog enables interested parties to subscribe to those RSS feeds and the more they get externally referenced.
Avoid Black Hat SEO
The initial few years saw many try to guess Google Search’s functionality and attempted to devise methods to fool the search engine. However, such black hat SEO techniques are not only very much discouraged by Google but they apply penalties to sites that are known to employ such techniques. Webmasters, therefore, should not only avoid any black hat SEO techniques but should also come to know of practices that Google mat construe as unacceptable.
Periodically check Google Search Console
Webmasters should periodically check whether site pages of their interest have been indexed by Google. This can be done by checking on the Google search engine or the Google Search Console.
Stay tuned on Google Search Updates
With rapid advancements in the area of search, it’s advisable to stay updated on best practices that are published by Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other search engines of concern. The important thing to note is that even if your site ranks higher today, it may not be at the same level the next day. Google indexing rules change constantly and your websmaster must stay up to date on any recent announcements or changes by Google.
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