If you are building a brand new website, submitting your website URL to search engines allows your site to get indexed faster. We are going to look at how to easily submit your website to Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Get Your Website Crawled and Indexed
Before you can rank a webpage can rank in the search engine, the very first thing is to get your completed website to crawl by the search engine crawlers. Search Engine crawlers are basically robots that visit websites on the internet. The web crawlers crawl all the pages that they discovered and understand the content before they can categorize and decide whether or not to include the page in the index.
In other words, your website needs to be “discovered” by the search engine so that the search engine is aware of your website's existence!
There are 2 ways how the crawlers may find your website. Either you tell the search engine your website URL, or they discovered themselves from other websites.
Does Submitting Website To Search Engine Necessary?
The internet is interconnected and so are the websites. The website links to another website via hyperlink. That's how web crawlers like Googlebot will eventually find your website sooner or later even if you did not tell Google about its existence (i.e. submit URL)
Submitting your website to Google usually will allow it to index faster. This is because you skip the time waiting for Googlebot to discover your website. Having said that sometimes, your site will still get indexed fast even if you do not submit to Google. This might happen if your website link appears on a highly crawled and popular website such as an online news portal. Googlebot visits the news portal very frequently and there are chances Googlebot may pick up your URL and visit it.
Waiting for search engine crawlers to come to your website is something that is beyond your control. The best and most recommended way is still to submit your site to search engines.
What is a sitemap? A sitemap is simply a file that contains your website page's information. In the sitemap, you tell the search engine crawlers what pages to index. The crawlers will then visit those pages and gather the info that the page contains.
To explain in a layman, it is like a restaurant's menu where it shows all the foods and drinks the restaurant provides. You will then choose the food and drink that you want based on what is available on the menu.
Can you order something that is not listed in the menu? Well, some restaurants allow you to do that. Likewise, the search engines can still crawl and index pages that are not listed in the sitemap. Don't be alarmed if you discovered the page was indexed by a search engine even if it is not listed in your sitemap.
How To Submit Sitemap To Google
To submit your sitemap to Google, you need to have access to Google Search Console (GSC). Google Search Console is a medium how Google communicates with you – the site owner. One of the main usages of GSC is where Google could inform you of the problem of your website should they discover any issue. Don't expect Google to WhatsApp or Call your mobile phone, that won't happen. So make sure you have Google Search Console in order to communicate with Google about your site.
If you already have a Google account, getting access to Google Search Console is simply going to Google Search Console home page and sign in.
When you add a new website to Google Search Console, Google requires you to verify your site. Kindly follow the on-screen instructions on how to complete the verification process. (At the time of writing, I have already verified my site with Google Tag Manager, so, unfortunately, I could not show that whole process. However, I walk you through the process to verify the site with Bing Webmaster Tools next)
Within the Google Seach Console, click on the Sitemaps menu on the left. Enter your sitemap URL and click Submit. The status will show as Processing and once Google has processed your sitemap, it will show the status as Success.
Just sit back and pretty much that's it. You can check back to make sure the status changed to “Success”
How To Submit Sitemap To Bing and Yahoo
If Google has Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools), Bing also has something similar known as Bing Webmaster Tools. The main objective or function of Bing Webmaster Tools is pretty much the same as Google Seach Console i.e. to communicate with the site owner on the overall site's health.
Go to Bing Webmaster Tools page, and click on the Sign-in button located on the top-right. You can sign up (for first time user) using Microsoft, Google, or Facebook account. So yeah, account sign up and sign in is pretty simple and seamless since most of us already have Google or Facebook Account.
Once you have logged in to your Bing Webmaster Tools, you will need to add a site (or import from GSC)
Just like Google Search Console, you will first need to verify your site before the site is added to Bing Webmaster Tools.
If you already have GSC set up earlier, you can choose to import your sites from GSC (the first option). Otherwise, just enter your website URL and click Add. The advantage of importing your site from GSC is you can skip the site verification process and that saves you time. If you add your site manually (2nd option), you will need to go through the verification process, which actually pretty simple as well.
The site verification is actually to prove to Bing (or Google) that you are the legit owner of the site. This prevents hackers or any unknown persons from managing your site.
There are 3 ways how you can do site verification for Bing Webmasters Tool.
- XML File – You will need to upload the file to the root of your domain.
- HTML Meta Tag – You will need to include the meta tag in the <head> section of your home page
- CNAME – Add CNAME record in your DNS (via your domain registrar)
I will choose the first option – the XML file. First, I will download the BingSiteAuth.xml file given by Bing to my local PC. Then upload it to my domain root.
Next, click Verify and if you already uploaded the file earlier, the site verification will be successful.
Now, it's time to add your website sitemap to Bing Webmasters Tool. You will first need to know the URL of your sitemap. Normally the sitemap URL for the WordPress site is yourdomain.com/sitemap. Sometimes it is located at yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml (the sitemap default URL may be different depending on which software, plugin or tool you used to generate the sitemap)
Click on the Sitemaps menu located on the left.
Enter your sitemap URL and click Submit.
Once you have submitted, the status will be shown as Processing. Once completed (may take hours), it will change to Success
Congratulations if you have followed up to this point. Okay, next how about Yahoo?
Yahoo! Site Explorer has merged with Bing Webmaster Tools, so when you completed the sitemap submission to Bing, you have already done for both Bing and Yahoo! (it's like killing 2 birds with 1 stone). Yes, no further steps are required.
That pretty much sums up how to submit a site to Google, Bing, and Yahoo 🙂